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Supply Chain Conference Indicates ‘Collaboration Key to Future of Industry’

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FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany – “Collaboration is key to the future of the bicycle industry,” This said Accell Group’s Chief Supply Chain Officer Jeroen Both at the Bike Europe Supply Chain Conference held today at Eurobike in Friedrichshafen. That collaboration is to result in flexibility of the supply chain in Europe which leads to increased speed to market.

Supply Chain Conference Indicates ‘Collaboration Key to Future of Industry’
Full house today at Bike Europe’s Supply Chain - increase speed to market - Conference. – Photo Bike Europe

That increased speed to market is of vital importance as the market for bicycles as well as e-bikes will be transforming in the next years. The EU bike market is heading for a much stronger focus on consumers with bike producers that are in direct online contact with them. Such internet browsing consumers want products faster; not in weeks but in hours. Suiting the supply chain to such consumers is what it is all about in the next years. How to do that was presented at the Supply Chain – Increased Speed to Market Conference that took place today in Friendrichshafen; one day before Eurobike 2016 opens its doors.


The first initiatives to make that transformation happen in the European market, and with that the European industry, are now taking shape.  Bike Europe editor Jack Oortwijn reported on that Portugal is turning into a major production center for Europe, where even Taiwan and other Asian companies are investing in production locations. That is all focused on the fact that just-in-time deliveries has to be made possible in order to meet the demands of internet buying consumers that want products faster.

This forces the complete supply chain to change. Continue as things stands now with months long leadtimes is a ‘dead end’ for producers, as Frederic Van Steirteghem, strategic buyer at Decathlon put it. Decathlon and the other initiator on the current changes in the industry, Accell Group, have set an ambitious target in place; bringing leadtimes down from the current about 26 weeks to 8 weeks.To get to that target more production is needed in Europe.

Focus on consumers

Jeroen Both, responsible for supply chain management at Accell Group said, “The consumer is the focuspoint. He or she decides when to buy and where to buy and expects the perfect product on the perfect time. The only way to do that is to be close, very close to the consumer.” He presented ways to be able to do that, like with datasharing and a more intensive collaboration between suppliers and OEMs. He also emphasized that this is the only way for survival. Accell is currently investigating how to get more production in Europe.


Benno Messingschlager, from Messingschlager GmbH, sees many obstacles for reshoring production to Europe. Like high investments and a lack in labour and with that high labour costs. He presented another way to increase the speed to market, “Create platforms with interchangeable and standardized parts. This is making it possible for the industry  to react much faster on consumer demand by the industry and leads to lowes inventories.”

Common component strategy

Also Decathlon’s Frederic Van Steirteghem pleaded for such platforms and called it the “Common Component Strategy”. He is an outright supporter for more production in Europe as “it brings you closer to the end consumer. It also allows for customizing; better supply management, lean production and a better quality management.”

A complete report on the Supply Chain Conference is in Bike Europe’s September edition.


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