And the US location for Adidas’s US Speedfactory? Atlanta wins the prize. Although is it such a prize?
While a major new manufacturing plant for a big-league brand would usually be greeted by champagne corks popping, the Speedfactory is a robot-operated plant with the 50,000 pairs of shoes it’s expected to make next year all being produced by machines with minimal human intervention.
The 74,000 sq ft facility will be fully operational by the end of next year and once that happens, it should be able to produce 0.5m pairs of shoes annually.
Rather than a jobs bonanza, the development is more a reflection of just what technology can do and also the company’s desire to offer a faster, more flexible manufacturing option for producing on-trend product in locations as close as possible to the end-consumer. It will also link up with its creative hub in New York.
There will be some jobs created, of course. Adidas said around 160 of them. And the need for speed and flexibility could boost more local suppliers with Georgia Governor Nathan Deal saying the state “offers industry leaders such as Adidas the necessary resources to compete worldwide.”
Meanwhile Adidas’s own head of global brands, Eric Liedtke, said: ”For years our industry has been playing by the same rules manufacturing product remotely in Asia. As the creator brand that challenges convention and looks to co-create the future with our consumers, we are obsessed with bringing all steps of the creation process home to America. We’re fuelling design at the ground level of creativity in Brooklyn and reinventing manufacturing with the first Adidas Speedfactory in Atlanta. This allows us to make product for the consumer, with the consumer, where the consumer lives in real time, unleashing unparalleled creativity and endless opportunities for customisation in America.”