Supply Chain Innovation
Logistics chains are changing at a rapid pace: we order more and more on the internet, order picking in warehouses is done by robots, smart shipments constantly tell where they are and how they are doing, truck routes are automatically adjusted when traffic jams arise, in 2025 diesel vehicles from logistics service providers are no longer allowed to enter major Dutch cities, etc. New technology makes it possible to make logistics chains more responsive and efficient, but chains can also change radically. For example, Amazon is no longer the bookseller of 15 years ago, it is now one of the largest logistics service providers in Europe. Innovation therefore also means having an eye for disruptive change and preparing for it.
The Supply Chain Innovation research group, together with companies and governments in the region, is researching how innovations can make the logistics chains in Zeeland more efficient, more responsive, more sustainable and more competitive. We analyse the opportunities and the impact of new technology, the added value and conditions for successful collaboration in chains and the characteristics of new business models when introducing new concepts. Because logistics is a ‘global playing field’, we work together with research universities and universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands and abroad and we examine the position of logistics companies in Zeeland within the context of international supply chains.
The research group works closely together with the Zeeland innovation platforms Zeeland Connect and Food Delta Zeeland to identify innovation needs and research questions. The themes on which the Research Group conducts research are:
- Logistical flows and connections; The Zeeland economy and in particular the port can only continue to compete if the connections to the hinterland are reliable and good. We investigate how companies can collaborate to strengthen hinterland connections and realise bundling of cargo to new hinterland services.
- Zero Emission Logistics; For the logistics sector, the ambition of the Paris Climate Agreement means a transition to clean energy carriers. The transition process to reach these targets is difficult and complex for many stakeholders, including logistics service providers. We conduct research into logistical innovations needed to be able to introduce zero emissions, the investment decisions that companies must make and the required loading and refuelling infrastructure in Zeeland.
- Digitization and robotization; With digitization and robotization, companies are becoming more responsive and less sensitive to labour availability. We investigate how companies can automatically register and process data and information and robotize processes.
- Autonomous Transport; In the next 10 years, ‘connected’ vehicles, such as truck platooning, will be introduced for the first time on a large scale in the Netherlands and then steps will be taken to introduce fully autonomous vehicles. Autonomous ships will also make their appearance in the next 10 years. We investigate how companies can use this technology and what adjustments are needed for this within companies and in the infrastructure.
- Logistics of Wind at Sea; Borssele 1 up to 5 wind farms are being developed off the coast of Zeeland. They must be maintained over the next 20 years. Optimally managing spare parts and planning maintenance work are important logistical research issues.
The knowledge developed makes the research group available to companies in the region. Students from one of the HZ study programmes are happy to help you develop and realise the opportunities for your company.
Curious about what the research group can do for you? Feel free to contact one of our researchers: