ANNALISA DEL VECCHIO WRITES – With the Asian market in mind, Adidas shut down its footwear factories in Germany (Ansbach) and the United States (Atlanta) and has opened two new “Speed Factories” in Shanghai, China and Ho Chi Minh City,Vietnam. Adidas is the largest footwear company in Europe and the second-largest in the world.
What are “speed factories?” They utilize automatic technology—3D and 4D printing— to produce sneakers at a faster rate than factories dependent on human labor. In addition, by establishing Adidas plants in China and Vietnam, the negative environmental impacts of carbon footprints can be mitigated, with factories closer to their markets. In Vietnam, Adidas, emphasizing environmental conservation, hopes to create a highly prestigious Adidas Center to meet the high market demand for Adidas products in the region.
There are other advantages to Speed Factories. Labor and physical space are cheap in Asia, unlike the previous plant locations. China and Vietnam have skilled personnel who are experienced in running and managing robotic equipment, using a computer vision system. This technology replaces manual stitching and gluing with bonding and molding.
The company is speculating that the Speed factories will be highly profitable since shipment fees will be cut and there is a ready market. Moreover, digital operations such as e-commerce and online shops, including Alibaba and Tencent, will boost the smooth marketing and selling of Adidas products.
It’s obvious. It pays to invest in “speed factories.” They will enhance the fast production of quality products. With the sophisticated infrastructure of Shanghai and Ho Chi Minh City — both digital hubs — Adidas in Asia is running on solid ground in the vast region. As it is, Adidas is making more than 90% of its products in Asia.