Adidas returns shoemaking to Germany with 2017 robot factory

- Leadership - May 25, 2016

Sportswear giant adidas will be making shoes in a robot-powered factory in Germany from 2017.  

The new SPEEDFACTORY facility will begin large-scale production next year and the company is also planning on rolling this out in the USA. This comes after the company had closed almost all of its German factories in the 1990s. 

CEO Herbet Hainer said: “As a sports company we know that Speed wins. That’s why we defined Speed as one of the key choices of our strategic business plan ‘Creating the New’. With the adidas SPEEDFACTORY we are revolutionising the industry. It’s a constantly changing world out there and our consumers always want the latest and newest product – and they want it now. That’s what adidas SPEEDFACTORY delivers, starting right here in Germany, with best-in-class German technology. 

The SPEEDFACTORY initiative heralds a new era in footwear creation. This flexible model challenges the idea of centralised production and makes product close to where the consumer is. It opens doors to creation of products completely unique to the fit and functional needs of consumers, through a combination of the craft of shoe making and cutting-edge technology.

“Every day our teams come together to bring speed to life, and with the adidas SPEEDFACTORY, we have a game changer in our hands. It enables us to combine speed in manufacturing with the flexibility to rethink conventional processes. Our goal is to give consumers what they want when they want it,” said Glenn Bennett, Executive Board Member of the adidas Group responsible for Global Operations. “It’s a new era in footwear crafting – with greater precision, unique design opportunities and high-performance. Products of tomorrow are going to look different to what we have today.”

The pilot adidas SPEEDFACTORY in Ansbach was set up in December 2015 in partnership with industry experts to provide a testing ground for this trailblazing model. The first pairs of high-performance footwear to come out of the adidas SPEEDFACTORY will be revealed later this year. The large-scale commercial production facility will be operated by adidas’ strategic partner Oechsler Motion GmbH across an area of 4,600 m2. 

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Read the May 2016 issue of Business Review Europe magazine.

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