Adi­das Speed Fac­to­ries Bring Faster Shoe Mak­ing to Fore­front

Shoes & Accessories - - The Month That Was | Updates I International -

Adi­das is look­ing to prove it is prof­itable to pro­duce its footwear in de­vel­oped, high-cost economies with new “Speed­fac­tory”. Be­fore the start of next fall, this fa­cil­ity, which cov­ers over half a soc­cer field, will have 160 em­ploy­ees mak­ing 1,500 pairs of shoes daily, or more than 500,000 each year. The plant, lo­cated be­tween Frank­furt and Mu­nich, and one open­ing close to At­lanta this fall, will be the key to the ef­fort of Adi­das to catch up with Nike.

The fac­tory re­places the man­ual glu­ing and stitch­ing with the bonding and mold­ing done with ma­chines that churn out shoes in one day, ver­sus two to three months in Viet­nam and China. James Carnes, who is re­spon­si­ble for the com­pany’s strat­egy, called the ma­chine the big­gest rev­o­lu­tion in sneaker mak­ing his­tory since man­u­fac­tur­ing was moved to Asia, or even pos­si­bly since shoes for sports were first made.

The new fac­to­ries use the same idea of H&M and Zara to move more quickly get­ting its shoes, jer­seys and other goods from the sketch­books of de­sign­ers to the shelves at Adi­das stores. The Ger­many-based com­pany said that link­ing speed with cus­tomiza­tion is go­ing to al­low the com­pany to sell more prod­ucts at their full prize and keep its cus­tomers from shift­ing to ri­vals. Adi­das used a Speed­fac­tory pro­to­type to make the Fu­ture­craft Made for Ger­many run­ning shoe a year ago that was a huge hit, with buy­ers set­ting up camp out­side its stores to buy one of just 500 pairs for $293. The ath­letic shoe and ap­parel maker is bet­ting it will be able to re­peat its hype with sim­i­lar shoes that are city-themed that will be made at the two Speed­fac­to­ries. The citythemed shoes will first be for Paris and Lon­don this year, and Tokyo, Shang­hai, Los An­ge­les and New York in 2018.

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