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Sneakers aren’t just made in one factory. They’re the product of a sprawling network of specialized suppliers, often in different cities or even different countries that make the various components assembled into an athletic shoe. Just one part, such as the outsole, could have criss-crossed large stretches of Asia before becoming part of the sneaker you Nike Air Max 90 Mujer Negras bought.“In Nike Air Max 95 Femme the one factory you create your rubber, and then the rubber is formed into a certain shape. The midsole is created. In another place, the midsole and the bottom are combined,” explains Ulrich Steindorf, senior director of manufacturing at Adidas.From start to finish, it can take 60 days to make a shoe using this conventional process. Humans still do much of the stitching, gluing, and other labor-intensive processes by hand. Even once the shoe is ready, it takes another 60 days to ship it from Asia, where most sneakers are made, to stores in Western Europe or the US. “If we want to be faster and more flexible in doing what our athletes want and need, then we have to rethink the way we make products.”A couple of years ago, the top minds at Adidas decided this clunky, inefficient model was too limiting. “That’s why we looked Nike Roshe Run Donne into Adidas Superstar Hombre the technologies available and decided, ‘Hey, if we want to be faster and more flexible in doing what our athletes want and need, then we have to rethink the way we make products,'” says Gerd Manz, the head of technology innovation within Adidas’ Future team, which looks ahead three to seven years to set the company’s course.
The innovations Adidas has since put in place largely converge in the Speedfactory. It’s a pioneering concept that concentrates the sneaker-production process in a single space, and in the market where the shoes are sold. At Adidas’ Speedfactory in Ansbach, Germany, robots do most of the work. Compared to the months it can take to make a sneaker in the traditional supply chain, Speedfactory completes production in a matter of days.The new factories are just one piece of a bigger shift. For roughly 40 Nike Air Presto Dames years, sneaker Adidas Superstar Mujer manufacturing had gone largely unchanged. But now experts believe the industry has reached an inflection point, spurred by the spread of e-commerce and social media, which have sped up fashion cycles and taught shoppers to expect instant access to a constant stream of new products. Adidas is testing different ideas as it works to make its operations faster and more flexible to meet the demands of this new era. It’s integrating practically every major trend transforming supply chains today, including 3D printing, customization at a mass scale, near-sourcing, and the digitization of its operations.And it isn’t alone. Adidas is up against its arch-rival, Nike, which is similarly transforming how it works with help from supply-chain and logistics innovator Flex. The two labels are neck-and-neck at the lead of an innovation Adidas Superstar Womens Black Nike Air Max 95 Mujer horse Adidas NMD Femme race in how athletic shoes are designed and manufactured.
Technology moves so fast it’s hard to guess what even the next few years will look like. But Speedfactory is an attempt to bridge the void.“We wanted to create the factory of the future,” Manz says. “This should be representative of what all our factories are in five to 10 years from now.”Two years ago, when the company conceived of the idea for Speedfactory, the patch of land Adidas wanted to build on was a potato field. Today, it’s the site of a nondescript, white building bearing the name of Oechsler, the German firm Adidas partnered with to build it.Oechsler was instrumental in building the robots and production set up within the roughly 4,600-square-meter building (about 49,500 square feet), tasks beyond Adidas’ particular expertise. The partnership, in Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 Donne fact, is Nike Air Max 90 Femme an example of one of the sneaker maker’s new guiding principles, which it calls “open source.” It means sharing ideas, and when necessary, teaming with outside experts. Oechsler actually started in the mid-19th century as a maker of horn buttons, but now specializes in the decidedly more modern field of plastics injection molding. It develops and produces parts for automotive, medical, and industrial companies around the world, and has worked with Adidas for years.