Manufacturing innovation and 3D printing central to Nike's growth, says CEO
Mike Parker, the President and CEO of popular footwear brand Nike has revealed much of its success is down to manufacturing innovation. “At the heart of our ability to achieve long-term growth is our unrivalled ability to innovate,” he said last week.
He said that the company’s innovations were driven by input from consumers and top athletes as well as new technological, design and material developments. Nike is committed to constantly pushing boundaries in terms of materials used, concepts tried and designs tested and this has kept it at the cutting-edge of sportswear development for many years.
These innovations include its Flyknit technology and Nike Pro and Nike Dri-Fit brands. In terms of Nike’s innovation pipeline, Parker said we can expect “new products that are better for athletes, consumers and the planet.”
Parker added that Nike’s ‘manufacturing innovation’ initiatives – aimed at redefining how its products are made and what they are made from – is a key focus for the business. “It’s not only a place where we can see some margin opportunity by scaling some of these innovations. They are truly, in a sense, game changing,” he said.
“We’re talking beyond Flyknit. We’re on the verge of moving some other manufacturing revolution innovations to a much larger scale. So there’s opportunity there,” he continued.
Manufacturing innovations and improvements are allowing the company to improve product performance while saving time and money. “We’ve got a steady flow of innovations beyond Flyknit to speed up our manufacturing, to make the whole process of manufacturing more efficient, more sustainable, and offset some of those higher input costs. Specifically 3D printing, that has tremendous opportunity for us,” said Parker.
Parker is determined to continue focusing on innovation to place Nike at the “forefront” of 3D printing potential.
IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery
After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022.
Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery.
Lingering Concerns Over COVID
Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high.
Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery?
IMF: Current Boom Could Falter
Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”.
Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”.
Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.