19 september 2022
E’Log Automation: 109 years of supply chain experience bundled into a no-nonsense independent integrator
E’Log Automation, an independent turnkey integrator of logistics automation, was founded by Sacha Van Droogenbroeck (SSI Schäfer and Dematic), Jan Vercammen (Egemin Group and Dematic), Patrick Hennebert (SSI Schäfer) and Marc Guns (Egemin Group, Van Looy Group and Dematic). The startup prides itself on far-reaching flexibility in a market which increasingly demands modular logistics solutions and where e-commerce is increasingly the norm. E’Log Automation’s ambition is to achieve an annual turnover of €25 million within five years. However, this objective is completely subordinate to the philosophy: “Being a no-nonsense partner for small and medium-sized projects and becoming a reference in the Benelux,” says CEO Sacha Van Droogenbroeck.
Joint philosophy of seasoned professionals
The operations of multinationals in supply chain automation are often designed for the implementation of mega-projects, while disregarding the needs of small and medium-sized projects. However, the entry market is in full growth. “Whereas fixed logistics solutions used to be implemented for say 10 years, there is now increasing demand for supply chains that grow at the rhythm of the business. The growth of e-commerce certainly plays a role in this,” says Sacha Van Droogenbroeck.
Apparently Sacha was not the only one who saw a market potential. “When the young, ambitious Sacha came to see me, I recognised my own vision in his business case,” says Jan Vercammen, former CEO of Egemin Group and now Chairman of the Board of Directors at E’Log Automation. Marc Guns and Patrick Hennebert, two experienced people in the sector, were also involved in the project and E’Log Automation was eventually set up at the beginning of May.
To extend the runway of the young company, capital was sought and found at Heylen Group. Jan emphasises that, with 30%, Heylen Group has a significant though mainly supporting role. “The industrial holding company has the same biotope and a strong reputation in warehousing and e-commerce.” However, E’Log Automation continues to operate independently, a vision that Wim Heylen fully embraces. “At the Heylen Group, we strongly believe in the standardisation and simplification of logistics automation. This participation is fully in line with our portfolio and above all with our way of making companies stronger,” adds Wim Heylen.
Standard building block modulation
Independence is part of the DNA of E’Log Automation. “We are not only independent in terms of shareholding, we are not tied to any brands or suppliers either,” says Jan.
E’Log Automation is neither a distributor nor a producer of supply chain solutions. The startup modulates a customised solution and relies on four existing technological solutions to do so:
- AMR/AGV picking: especially the optimisation of software flows.
- Automated storage: both semi- and fully automated storage techniques.
- Conveyor & transport systems: solutions for sorting, transporting, distributing, etc.
- Micro Fulfilment: small-scale warehousing solutions that take into account the requirements of e-commerce (e.g. an automated warehouse in the vicinity of a supermarket).
The startup modulates these standard building blocks based on the customer’s direct logistical needs. “Our processes are set up for projects between €500,000 and €5 million,” Sacha explains. The E’Log Automation customer list includes both storage and production environments in various sectors and segments: e-commerce, food & beverage, pharma, third-party logistics, etc.
Growth ambitions: philosophy and values before turnover
The five-year plan of E’Log Automation is clear on its ambitions: an annual turnover of €25 million, operate throughout the Benelux and take the first steps in the rest of Europe, especially in France and the DACH countries.
However, Jan Vercammen adds in the same breath that EBITDA is not the higher goal: “In our opinion, the market needs an integrator that values trust. Our partnerships must again be real people-to-people partnerships,” said Jan. Sacha likes to talk about ‘Simplexity’: “Creating simplicity and clarity in a complex environment in a no-nonsense and human way”.
The first weeks of E’Log Automation were already promising. “One of the most heard responses from the industry is: where have you been for so long?”, smiles Jan.