- Adidas will open its first manufacturing facility in the U.S., the German sports shoe retailer announced on Wednesday.
- The Atlanta-based, 74,000-square foot site is expected to begin operations sometime in the second half of 2017. It is the second of two so-called “Speedfactory” sites leveraging innovations in manufacturing technology that enable Adidas to respond more quickly to consumer demand and create products in higher volumes with “advanced complexity in color, materials and sizes.”
- The first Adidas Speedfactory pilot launched in Germany late last year. The factories depend on the automation of robots, which TechCrunch reports will collectively yield 50,000 pairs of shoes a year, but Adidas says it will also source local materials and skilled laborers.
After suffering five bad years in the U.S., Adidas in July released more details of a turnaround plan outlining three pillars to its success: Speed (accelerating time to market), Key Cities (urban centers creating trends and shaping global brands) and Open Source (collaborations with athletes, creatives, consumers and other partners). So far, it's working: North American sales for the sports apparel retailer rose in the first quarter this year, after dropping that much a year ago, outpacing growth at competitors Under Armour and Nike.
The expansion of the Speedfactory manufacturing concept from Germany to the U.S. signals the building blocks of a new business model allowing Adidas to put an ear to the ground of local markets and adapt more quickly to the production demands of those consumers.
“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,” Eric Liedtke, the Adidas group executive board member responsible for its global brands, said in a statement.
Adidas' need for speed seems to take its cues from the success of fast-fashion retailers like Zara and H&M. The Speedfactory aims to produce a constant stream of new, fresh styles that cater to local looks, similar to how Zara, for example, has moved to eliminate traditional fashion seasons, instead lowering production levels of individual products in favor of a greater variety of styles each week.