Excursion time

6:45 am. It is still dark outside and a fresh breeze indicates that summer is slowly coming to an end. But our students cannot be stopped from going on an exclusive excursion again. Gradually everyone arrives and surprisingly on time we board a coach – this time heading for the NIKE European Logistics Campus (ELC) in Laakdal, Belgium.

This is only one of the many advantages of studying in Aachen – Belgium and the Netherlands are just around the corner so it’s really convenient to visit international companies in the surrounding regions.

Named after the Greek goddess of victory, the US American Nike Group is the world’s largest manufacturer of sporting goods. The ELC in Laakdal is about an hour drive from Aachen. All products for EMEA (Europe, Middle-East, Africa) and beyond are shipped from there.

Motivational sign at the NIKE ELC in Laakdal.

The goods are stored in two fully automated high-bays, with a huge store capability. It is really intimidating to stand in front of such an incredibly large storage rack. The whole process is highly automated and efficient: Starting from the incoming order, it only takes up to 5 hours for a pair of shoes to leave the ELC.

The building itself is also impressive and functions nearly autonomously: It runs on renewable energy and collects rainwater for flushing toilets. The external walls are planted all over with regional flowers. On the premises you can also find benches with solar panels and the option to charge your phone via NFC.

NIKE ELC in Laakdal, Belgium.

Of course, we did not only visit the ELC to see the shipping process and to admire the modern buildings: one of the main assets of our tour was to get in contact with supply chain specialists, strategists and the recruitment team. During an interactive discussion, Hans Van de Steen, Enterprise Data Analytics, and Samantha Chung, COE, answered every question our students had regarding NIKE’s vision for the future, the usage of data or sustainable shipping. In addition, our students had the possibility to connect with the recruitment team during lunch, discussing internships and career options in general which was highly valued. The tour was a great success, the students said later, since they had never seen such a sophisticated logistics center before. They were deeply impressed but also very interested in internships to apply their knowledge gained during their studies.

A little fun fact at the end: Everyone is wearing NIKE shoes which is not enforced by the company but just shows the great dedication the employees have for their employer. It is a demanding but also a highly rewarding company, Hans concluded.

More information

You also want to take part in our exciting excursions? For more information on our international Master programs please follow this link.