The logistics company behind your packages

From the click on an online store to the package at the door. As a logistics company, we handle all your e-commerce transactions. With a sustainable personnel policy! How far have we come so far? You can find out in the interview below .

Logistics company

As soon as you buy something from an online store, a whole process starts behind the scenes. Orders are placed, the chosen product is taken off the shelves and adjusted in the stock inventory, a supplier picks it up and delivers it to your home. These are the most familiar actions, but there is much more behind them. E-fulfilment embraces the complete handling of orders from web shops. From receiving the goods in the warehouse until it reaches the end customer.

We specialize in e-fulfilment tailored for our customers and for every sales channel. It all started when Chris Pietermans and Daniel Ciccodemarco, two bosom friends from Tongeren, (they also organize the famous Les Jardins parties there) were asked to also take care of the logistics of the web shop they had built for someone. They rented a warehouse and still had space left over.

Soon they were getting orders from big companies to stock and distribute their merchandising. "We knew of the existence of such activities abroad, but in Belgium nobody was really into it, except big companies," says Chris, Sales Director and co-owner of BME. "In the SME market, it was non-existent. We saw the gap and jumped in. In the beginning we worked from our gut feeling, come we make a proposal and put it online, to our great surprise there was a quick response."

Making Pakske

"When the logistics company Daniel was working for moved, we decided to go full steam ahead. For me, it was a little less obvious because I just had a chance at promotion. My boss fell off his chair "How, you're going to make packages in a warehouse?" Actually he was right, in the beginning it came down to that. He granted it to me wholeheartedly though. Even though I was very happy in my job, I took the plunge. Entrepreneurship is in my blood, not only pay counts but also what you like."

"Suddenly there you are in a 200m2 warehouse with no logistics experience but still I was looked at. I took on sales, Daniel took on operations, development and IT. Fortunately, we both invariably believe in "Take it and get started." That's how BME was born. Soon we realized that if we wanted to professionalize, we needed money. To invest in an IT platform, but also in a bigger warehouse."

Networking

"Through networking, we learned in late 2014 Koen Vanderweyden know. After a good conversation, about our story, our view of the Belgian market, e-commerce we jumped on the e-fulfilment train together the moment he was about to leave. We immediately felt - after a few Duvels - the click between us, our collaboration was sealed on a beer ticket. Aren't all good collaborations born that way?", Chris laughs.

"For me, that is an absolute prerequisite for doing business together: friendship. Without that, things don't work out for me. And I can now say that Daniel and Chris have become true friends. But of course that alone is not enough," adds Koen, finance director and co-owner of BME.

Floating boat

"Then there were three of us in our little boat that was still bobbing," Chris continues, "that still had to strategically get the wind in its sails. The focus was on financial planning and that was Koen's job. "I had two conditions, LRM and KBC had to get in on the story and I wanted a 5000m2 warehouse instead of the proposed 2000m2. Knowing that that only increased the losses the first few years, but moving every time is also an investment." Meanwhile, there are six associates, three working and three silent. "They are not that quiet though, we can always go there for advice and counsel. We appreciate them very much".

Omnichannel

"In 2016, we realized we weren't going to get there with pure B2C and broadened into the B2B market. Store space is expensive, retailers want to put their shelf space to good use, that's where we come in. We are going omnichannel, another fancy term to see it very broadly and provide the appropriate solution for every customer that comes our way. Our strengths are, fast delivery, digital and delivery can include smaller volumes. Today BME is an IT company doing e-fulfilment. IT is important, if we master it we can fully serve a customer and its business model. Tell us what your plan is and where you want to go and we will support you in that."

Local anchoring

"A successful business does not stand alone, a good network is very important," Koen explains. "You have to anchor your network well locally first, not only financially but also with knowledge and advice. Networking is so important, it goes from the VDAB, which helps us find the right workforce, to the educational institutions, where we are asked to talk about e-commerce, to Flanders Investment Trade, FIT. First we build local brand awareness, then we go international."

Fragmented subsidy landscape

"Eric Dieussart of FIT heard our story and put us in touch with Hans Versmissen, business advisor at VLAIO. Hans helped us with the innovation dossier of the Province of Limburg. We used the grant to pay for our research and now we are looking at what the possibilities are in the future," Koen says. "Hans' guidance was super, very accessible. And to be very honest, you don't expect that from a government agency. It's a very valuable connection.

The grant landscape is enormously fragmented. It is constantly evolving. It is very difficult to follow it and put it in context. I've given up the ambition to research that myself, which is why I'm in regular contact with Hans, to see what's possible. I don't go with the mindset of "I want that grant or need help with that." I tell what our plans are and he advises me how to approach that, what support, but also knowledge or partners could help us achieve that goal. That approach really pays off for us. "

Sustainable personnel management

"In addition to the innovation grant from the province of Limburg, we have support from the European Social Fund (ESF) around our personnel policy. We don't want to work too much with interim, we want to provide a sustainable home base quickly. The support gives us the opportunity to look at our vision on personnel, make competence profiles and link the wage policy to that."

3D printing competition

The friends view the future ambitiously: "Within 5 years, they shouldn't be able to ignore us," says Chris. "We were recently announced at an event as the proven talkleader in e-commerce. Those are credits."
"We want to think along with our customers and always be two steps ahead." "And get bigger," adds Koen. "Although we're still waiting for the evolution of 3D printers. That's actually our biggest competitor, "When I see what all they can print and what's in our warehouse ... But we pride ourselves on flexibility, efficiency and transparency!"

Are you curious yourself how our flexibility, efficiency and transparency can help you? We are only too happy to talk about it sometime!

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