Making running shoes faster
Not necessarily making faster running shoes.
Adidas brings together components from around the world to make its shoes. Each component may have been around the world having separate steps of manufacturing to it before ending up the final assembly of a running shoe.
This process can take up to two months to complete a pair of shoes. It is labour intensive and slow. Adidas is implementing a new way, harnessing new technologies like robotics and 3D printing to permit more of the manufacturing to be merged into one facility. They call this innovative production facility in Ansbach, Germany the Speedfactory.
Like Levi Strauss and their faster jeans production system, the motivation here is modern appetite for faster fashion cycles. Reducing time to market means that the shoes themselves can be tailored to the precise demands of the market. This time reduction means an unpopular design won’t be months in the pipeline before a change can be made, resulting in unsold or discounted merchandise.
Once a popular line of shoes is identified, higher volume production can be moved to another factory. Adidas eventually plans to produce bespoke shoes made possible with 3D printed soles, for the athlete or the well-heeled. It’s my blog and I’ll pun if I want to.
Principle 5 – Merging: Adidas is merging more of the steps of production under one roof so that they can happen back-to-back.
Principle 21 – Rushing Through: By speeding up production, Adidas is able to meet demand faster and experiment in new niches without ramping up big production numbers.
Principle 3 – Local Quality: By making its production process more nimble, Adidas is able to divide the market to produce low volume, or volume of one shoes.