Adidas took a massive step forward today toward producing their sneakers as close as possible to their customers, using 3d printing to cut down on emissions and costs while increasing customization options.
Following a pilot program in Germany, the company is bringing it's "SpeedFactory" - a production complex that utilizes 3d printing and other automated procedures to make sneakers at a rapid, on-demand pace - to Georgia in 2017, in the hopes of allowing their customers to be more involved in creating their shoes and making those shoes closer to the customer.
"We’re fueling design at the ground level of creativity in Brooklyn and reinventing manufacturing with the first adidas SpeedFactory in Atlanta," Adidas Group executive board member Eric Liedtke told reporters on Monday. "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 in America.”
Liedtke noted that Adidas wants to move production closer to the customer and not be so reliant on low cost manufacturing in Asia, while his board colleague Glenn Bennett put an emphasis on the importance of speed.
“Speed is all around us," he said. "It’s what athletes train for, and it’s essential to our consumers who live in a world of immediacy. With the first US-based SpeedFactory, we’re combining some of the world’s best technology and manufacturing processes to give our consumers access to constant newness. This is another big step in our ambition to become the world’s first true fast sports brand.”
Footwear companies have been some of the most aggressive in leveraging the on-demand production capabilities of 3d printing, which allow them to make sneakers as they're ordered instead of keeping an inventory of thousands of shoes at a time.
"SpeedFactory combines the design and development of sporting goods with an automated, decentralised and flexible manufacturing process,"Herbert Hainer, CEO of the Adidas Group said in July. "This flexibility opens doors for us to be much closer to the market and to where our consumer is. Ultimately we are at the forefront of innovating our industry by expanding the boundaries for how, where and when we can manufacture our industry-leading products.”