Your next pair of Adidas runners might be made in America – by a robot. Yep, you read that right. The German sportswear giant revealed details about its Speedfactory, coming to the U.S. in 2017. The factory will be located in Atlanta, Georgia, and feature 74,000 square feet of robot shoe-making capability. It is aimed to be fully operational by the end of next year.
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 customization.
Eric Liedtke – Adidas Group Executive Board Member
The factory has an output capacity of 50,000 pairs of shoes per year, which is not a very big number, but is a fairly good start. The Atlanta facility will be Adidas’ second Speedfactory, joining the original in its home territory of Germany. What does this mean for human workers? The company says that it will create about 160 jobs for people overseeing the factory in Atlanta.
Adidas has stated that the demand for customization is a key factor behind implementing the idea of Speedfactory. The first-of-its-kind business model advances Adidas’ consumer-centric approach to product creation, allowing the brand to decentralize production and react faster to consumer needs.
The Speedfactories have the ability to reconfigure production lines based on changes in customer demand. Programming the robots to focus more on one particular model, a different size or a different combination of core components is much easier and requires less transition time than with a human workforce. A robot workforce could give Adidas the flexibility to offer variety while maintaining high volume output.