Adidas Automates to Make Shoes Faster

Issue 10-09-17   |   Reviewer:   James Richardson, Ph.D.


Adidas AG’s new “Speedfactory” is designed to profitably produce footwear in high-cost, developed economies. It uses automated molding and bonding machines to replace manual stitching. The first two plants in Germany and the U.S. will allow Adidas to couple speed with customization, delivering new designs in days rather than months. Rivals Nike Inc., New Balance Athletics Inc., and Under Armour Inc. are pursuing similar strategies.

Still, the speedfactories will be owned and operated by a supplier, and the vast majority of Adidas shoes will continue to be produced by its current suppliers across 63 countries.

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