Manufacturing, Retail & Distribution


Technology is transforming the manufacturing, retail & distribution sectors. The 4th Industrial Revolution brings together cyber and physical systems such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing and robotics in manufacturing, whilst Big Data analytics, sensing and actuation, and connectivity throughout the supply chain are creating an intelligent and contactless society with impacts on retail and distribution.


Technology, including not only computers, collaboration & social tools, mobile devices and cloud, but also new technologies such as AI, robotics, 3D printing, DLT/Blockchain, 5G and IoT, as well as Big Data analytics, are having a profound impact on the manufacturing and the retail & distribution sectors. Higher efficiency and higher levels of personalisation, as well as innovative processes, products and services, are created through the implementation of novel technological advances.

The exponential pace of innovation in the Manufacturing and the Retail & Distribution sectors and the increasing uptake of emerging technologies are spurring competition in the global market and are revolutionising the sectors.

In every aspect of manufacturing, retail and distribution, technology is increasing operational, cost and environmental efficiency throughout the value chain, whilst allowing a greater access to products and services.


Forces driving the market


Artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D printing, IoT, AI and DLT/Blockchain are bringing new advancements and features to the sector, from enabling mass production and speeding up labour-intensive tasks to real-time monitoring of products, performance of contracts and activities throughout the value chain.

Big Data

Cloud computing, data mining and analytics, together with the increasing capacities of high-performance computers, are bringing added value to operations in the global market.

Disruptive supply chains

New market dynamics together with disruptive technologies are creating novel and dynamic supply chains. From omnichannel to circular supply chains, the Manufacturing and Retail & Distribution sectors are becoming increasingly competitive and agile.


From eco-friendly solutions to the decarbonisation of operations throughout the ecosystem, emerging technologies make sustainable Manufacturing and Retail & Distribution a reality.


Can we help you

VdA has vast experience and strong expertise in all policy, legal and regulatory matters associated with the Manufacturing and Retail & Distribution sectors. Our tech and industry insights allow us to provide 360.º legal services to organisations, governments and regulators.

  • Manufacturers
  • Content Suppliers
  • Technology developers and suppliers
  • Logistics operators
  • Fleet and distribution operators
  • E-commerce platforms
  • R&D institutions
  • Incubators and accelerators
  • Investors
  • Insurers
  • Brokers
  • Governments and regulators

Our team of experts is delivering strategic and sophisticated legal advice to help our clients on their most challenging and promising projects. With a track-record of advising complex projects for leading companies in the sector as well as for the public sector, VdA services include:

Private sector:
  • Advising on regulatory and compliance issues for developing, testing and deploying technologies in the Manufacturing and Retail & Distribution sectors
  • Advising on data (personal and non-personal) cybersecurity, insurance and liability issues, as well as on IP protection, technology partnerships and transfers
  • Drafting and negotiating contracts for development, sale and purchase, provision of services, including terms of service and privacy policies for digital solutions
Public sector:
  • Drafting policies, strategies and laws for several Manufacturing, Retail & Distribution issues, including in relation to platforms, e-commerce, regulatory sandboxes and innovation hubs
  • Negotiating partnerships and memoranda of understanding with governments, institutions, agencies and the private sector

Our Tech Manufacturing, Retail & Distribution Product

The Tech Manufacturing & Distribution Box is a turnkey set of services that integrates several modules our clients can choose from in accordance with their needs.

  • Monitoring & Compliance Programme
  • Technology & IP Programme
  • Data & Cybersecurity Programme
  • Consumer Protection & Liability Package

Our team of experts

The disruption of the Tech Manufacturing and Retail & Distribution ecosystem raises complex challenges that require a holistic and sophisticated legal analysis.

We help our clients meet their goals through a cross-sector team that brings lawyers from our ICT, Data & Cybersecurity and Distribution Practice Areas and Sectors. In addition, to deal with the complex challenges brought by the resort to technologies in the Manufacturing and Retail & Distribution sectors, our team further works routinely with our colleagues from Infrastructure & Mobility, Tax, Insurance, Banking & Finance, Projects, Competition and IP, among others.


Specialised knowledge is required

The opportunities and challenges of the Manufacturing and Retail & Distribution sectors, including those arising from the deployment of emerging technologies and the lack of regulatory certainty, are complex. Specialised knowledge is required for the development and deployment of digitalization strategies. VdA is especially knowledgeable of the opportunities and challenges brought by Fintech in Europe and in Africa.

The manufacturing industry is a strong asset for the European economy and an important driver of employment and prosperity. This sector also plays a key role in research and innovation, being responsible for 64% of private sector research development expenditure and 49% of innovation expenditure in Europe. What is more, the EU plans to mobilise up to EUR 50 billion of public and private investments in support of the digitisation of industry. VdA has assisted its clients in the past with Horizon 2020 projects such as the Factories of the Future Public-Private Partnership and has the necessary know-how to continue doing so under Horizon Europe.

With regards to the retail & distribution sector, in the 2015 Single Market Strategy the Commission announced it would look at restrictions in the retail sector and identify best practices for facilitating retail establishment and reducing operational restrictions. With this set of best practices included in the “A European retail sector fit for the 21st century” Communication of 19 April 2018, the EU provides guidance for EU countries’ efforts to create a more open, integrated and competitive retail market. VdA has been assisting its clients in adapting to the digital age and complying with the applicable regulatory frameworks, including those imposed by the growth of e-commerce and arising also from new rules on platforms, digital services, digital market, product liability, contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services, the sale of consumer goods,  online intermediation services, as well as consumer protection. In addition, VdA has detailed know-how on the technology related opportunities and challenges arising out of the European Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy.

VdA has relevant experience in advising companies in the development, testing and commercialisation of technologies relevant to the manufacturing and the retail & distribution sectors, including 3D printing, robotics and AI and taking into consideration not only the applicable regulatory framework, but also other relevant legal and regulatory frameworks, including, for instance, on telecoms, data economy, cybersecurity, Intellectual Property, import/export, tax, environment, software licenses, hardware supply, among others.

Technology has the capacity to boost intra-country and inter-country trade in the African market and subsequently promote socio economic development in African countries. This is even more relevant in the light of the recent African Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The African Union Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy (STISA) for Africa places science, technology and innovation at the epicentre of Africa’s socio-economic development due to the impact they can have across critical sectors such as agriculture, energy, environment, health, infrastructure development, mining, security and water, among others.

While e-commerce ventures continue facing inefficient logistics and issues such as informal home addressing systems, African e-commerce has experienced a major boost from lockdowns across the continent during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which are helping to accelerate a change in attitudes with consumers in many countries exploring e-commerce out of necessity.

With relation to manufacturing, technology is also playing a fundamental role in Africa. 3D Printing, for instance, presents an enormous opportunity to improve community livelihoods in developing countries by letting the local manufacturing firms (in urban and rural areas) design and produce innovative, robust and cost-effective products that can overcome the existing deficit in manufacturing value chains, support lives and increase income. In Uganda and South Sudan, for example, 3D printing technology is used to create 3D-printed prosthetic limbs.

VdA and VdA Legal Partners are well aware of the African Union’s approach to invest and mobilize funds for Technology, as well as of the specific challenges African countries deal in the manufacturing and the retail & distribution sectors. VdA has relevant experience in advising Governments on policy and legal matters associated with these sectors, as well as the private sector in the development, acquisition, sale and implementation of technology, taking into consideration not only the applicable regulatory framework, but also other relevant legal and regulatory frameworks, including, for instance, on telecoms, data economy, cybersecurity, Intellectual Property, import/export, tax, environment, software licenses, hardware supply, consumer protection, among others.


Can we do it for you

Assisting you in devising the best approach and models for your business, project, product and service, in the light of legal and regulatory opportunities and constraints.

Assisting you in the development and setting-up of your business, project, product and service, drafting all required documentation, assisting in the negotiation of contracts, interacting with competent authorities, and accompanying you every step of the way.

Assisting you in addressing day-to-day business goals and challenges in the light of the applicable laws and regulations. We are here for you.

Please note, your browser is out of date.
For a good browsing experience we recommend using the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera or Internet Explorer.