May 16, 2020

Adidas revamps manufacturing process, offers customers greater customisation

Herbert Hainer
Innovative Manufacturing
Glen White
3 min
Adidas plans to speed up production and allow shoppers to customize more shoes and clothes, aiming to accelerate sales and profit growth over the next five years.
Adidas plans to speed up production and allow shoppers to customize more shoes and clothes, aiming to accelerate sales and profit growth over the next f...

Adidas plans to speed up production and allow shoppers to customize more shoes and clothes, aiming to accelerate sales and profit growth over the next five years.

The German sportswear firm, which has been losing ground for years to fast-growing rival Nike, said it was testing automated production units that would allow it to shift manufacturing from Asia closer to consumers.

"We will bring production back to where the main markets are," said Chief Executive Herbert Hainer, adding the current six weeks it took to ship from Asia to Europe was too long. "Robots can be everywhere."

Manufacturing closer to consumers should allow it to react more quickly to fast changing trends - like floral prints this spring - as it seeks to challenge market leader Nike as well as fashion retailers like H&M, which are already much more responsive and are moving into sportswear.

Adidas said it would extend innovations pioneered by its NEO teen fashion brand which gets new products into store in 45 days, compared with a sports industry standard of 12-18 months.

Global brand chief Eric Liedtke, seen as the strongest internal candidate to succeed under-pressure Hainer, said Adidas was seeking to shake up the market in the same way that Nike did when it moved production to Asia in the 1980s.

Liedtke, a former American football player, said the German company's priorities included reversing falling sales in North America, retaining its global leadership in soccer, doubling sales in running and doing more to appeal to female consumers.

Nike has been taking market share from Adidas and is seen as doing a better job at setting trends.

Adidas said it expects sales to grow by almost half to above 22 billion euros ($24 billion) by 2020 and net income to rise around 15 percent per year on average, which Hainer conceded would not translate into a double-digit operating margin.

Hainer faced calls to step down last year after he was forced to abandon the company's previous five-year targets - including a 2015 goal for a 11 percent operating margin.

"Their main problem is weak profitability and we are hearing very little about that," said Ingo Speich, fund manager for Union Investment which has a 1.3 percent stake in Adidas, who has repeatedly criticized Hainer in the last year.

"The strategy will only be credible under new management as Hainer could not deliver on what he promised."


The company said last month the board had launched a formal search to replace Hainer, in the job since 2001, although the CEO has said that did not mean his departure was imminent.

Adidas shares, which have risen 20 percent so far this year in part due to high expectations for the strategy presentation, were down 0.15 percent at 1030 EDT but still outperformed a 1.3 percent weaker German blue-chip index .GDAXI.

Adidas, founded by German shoe maker Adi Dassler in 1949, laid out its new strategy in its innovation center, where it demonstrated machines which allow shoppers to print their own names and logos on to its popular "Superstar" sneakers, tapping into a broader trend for personalized products.

It said it was working with German companies and the government on innovations in robotics and machines which can "knit" sneakers rather than having them sewn by hand, which could allow it to move production away from hubs in China, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

To help it get closer to consumers, Adidas, which until a decade ago only sold its products wholesale, plans to open another 500-600 stores so that its own retail business accounts for above 60 percent of sales, from about half in 2014.

Adidas expects its cash flow to grow at a faster rate than operating profit in the next five years, allowing it to raise its range for future dividend payments to 30-50 percent of net income from a previous 20-40 percent.

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May 11, 2021

Four Factory of the Future Market Trends to Keep an Eye on

Georgia Wilson
2 min
Factory of the Future | Smart Manufacturing | Technology | Digital Factory | Digital Transformation | Innovation
Manufacturing Global looks takes a look at the latest market trends in smart manufacturing, industrial automation, smart factory and AI...

Global Smart Manufacturing Market

Attributed to the rapid growth in the adoption of automated systems in industrial processes, the global smart manufacturing market is predicted to grow from US$$175bn (2020) to US$303bn by 2026 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.4% between 2019 and 2026.

While COVID-19 has somewhat slowed down the market’s growth, it is expected that by the second to third quarter of 2023 there will be a ‘considerable’ rise in growth for the market. 

Key players in the industry: Schneider Electric, General Electric, Siemens, Honeywell International Inc., Rockwell Automation Inc., FANUC Corporation, and Emerson Electric Co. 

Industrial Automation Market

Making people’s lives easier, and their work more accurate and effective, the global demand for automated technologies such as robotics - especially in science and technology - is driving its increase in global market value.

By 2027, the global industrial automation market is expected to reach US$326.14bn by 2027, with a CAGR of 8.9% between 2020 and 2027.

Key players in the industry: ABB, Siemens, General Electric, Schneider, Endress+Hauser, Yokogawa, Honeywell, WIKA, Azbil, Fuji Electric, 3D Systems, and HP.

Smart Factory Market

Expected to grow from US$80.1bn (2021) to US$134.9bn by 2026, the smart factory market - with a CAGR of 11% between 2021 and 2026 - is experiencing growth driven by fiscal policies adopted to keep manufacturing facilities afloat during COVID-19. 

Other driving factors include resource optimisation, cost reduction in production operations, increased demand for industrial robotics, rising demand for technologies, and the growing significance of energy efficiency. 

Key players in the industry: Emerson Electric Co., General Electric, Rockwell Automation, Inc., Schneider Electric SE, ABB Ltd., Siemens AG, Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Honeywell International Inc., Endress+Hauser AG, and Yokogawa Electric Corp.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Manufacturing Market

“It is undeniable that the manufacturing industry is at the forefront of artificial intelligence implementation,” says Analytics Insights. “Manufacturers are using AI-powered analytics to increase performance, product quality, and employee protection, from substantial reductions in unplanned downtime to better crafted goods.”

As manufacturers look to realise the potential benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) in their processes, it is predicted that the AI in manufacturing market will grow to US$11bn by 2025 with a CAGR of 54.6%.

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