Herzogenaurach The sporting goods manufacturer Adidas closes its so-called speed factories in Ansbach and Atlanta (US state Georgia), which only opened in 2017. The company announced on Monday, confirming reports from several media outlets. However, Adidas wants to stick to the technology of the former prestige project and use it in the future for suppliers in Asia.
According to the information, around 100 employees are affected. “We cannot yet rule out redundancies due to operational reasons,” said a spokeswoman for Adidas partner Oechsler AG, which had set up the speed factories in Ansbach and Atlanta and has operated them so far.
Adidas already has large parts of its production in Asia, said group spokesman Jan Runau on Monday of the German press agency. It has turned out that it makes more sense to concentrate the production of the speed factories where the know-how and the suppliers are located. The reasons for this are less financial than organizational reasons. The attempt to bring the technologically high-quality production of sporting goods back to Germany was unsuccessful at this point.
Asia has caught up faster technologically than was foreseeable in 2016. The knowledge gained in recent years is now to be transferred to Asia. “We learned a lot in Ansbach,” said Runau. In addition to shoes, other items from the Adidas range are to be manufactured with Speed Factory technology from Asian suppliers in the future.
The plant in Ansbach was designed for 500,000 pairs of shoes and did not work at its capacity limit, said Runau. It should no longer be used as before by April next year at the latest. In total, Adidas produces 400 million pairs of shoes each year.
The highly automated Speed Factory, the production of which is largely based on robots, was created in order to be able to react as quickly as possible to new trends, especially in running shoe technology and fashion. For example, small series related to an event were produced – soccer shoes exclusively for a World Cup or the Super Bowl final in American football. In 2018, Adidas won the German Innovation Prize for the idea of the Speed Factory.
In Ansbach and Atlanta, Adidas ran the project together with the supplier Oechsler AG. Technological cooperation should continue. Among other things, shoe soles will continue to be manufactured in the plant using 4D printing.
Oechsler regretted the decision to manufacture the products manufactured in the Speed Factory in Asia in the future. The company, which actually comes from the automotive supplier industry, wanted to break away from the currently difficult automotive sector with its sports shoes. Nonetheless, valuable knowledge has been gained that could also flow into other business areas in the future, emphasized CEO Claudius Kozlik.
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