Adidas getting robots to make our shoes?

Who doesn’t love shoes? Everyone has at least one pair of running shoes in their closet, after all you can wear them all year around. Running shoes are my second favourite pair of shoes during the summer, beside’s my sandals in the summer because they are great for when you have a toddler running around in the park. When I read that Adidas will have robots making their shoes, I had to read up on it. I wondered if that  would be taking jobs away from people that depend on these jobs and why robots? These are questions I thought to myself. 

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Adidas getting robots to make our shoes, why?

According to the article written by Jörn PoltzAdidas will launch mass production of running shoes at a German factory operated largely by robots next year and plans to open a similar plant in the United States next year, the company said on Tuesday. Adidas was founded by German cobbler Adi Dassler in 1949. To date, Adidas has closed all but one of its 10 shoe factories in Germany and by 1993 it shifted most production from Europe to lower-wage Asia, particularly China and Vietnam. 

Speed Factory”- the new prototype in Ansbach, southern Germany, the 4,600-square-metre plant is still being built. But Adidas opened the location to the press, pledging to automate shoe production – which is currently done mostly by hand in Asia – and enable the shoes to be made faster and closer to its sales outlets. Large-scale production will begin in 2017 and Adidas was planning a second “Speed Factory” in the United States that same year. Advances in robotics and automation means that Adidas can now afford to bring production closer to customers to meet demands for faster delivery of new styles, and to counter rising wages in Asia and lengthy shipping times. 

With the Adidas ‘Speed Factory’, we are revolutionizing the industry,” said Chief Executive Herbert Hainer. Our consumers always want the latest and newest product – and they want it now.”

But what about the Asian and Chinese employees? Will they lose their jobs? Hainer insisted the factories would not immediately replace the work of sub-contractors in Asia. “Our goal is not full automatisation,” said Gerd Manz, head of innovation and technology. Hainer said the new plants would supplement rather than replace production in Asia, noting that Adidas currently makes about 300 million pairs of shoes a year and already needs to add two factories a year to keep up with current rates of growth. The factory is expected to employ 160 people.

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Hainer said Adidas hoped to open a similar plant in the United States next year and expects the two factories to produce at least a million pairs of shoes a year combined within the next couple of years. Adidas produced 301 Million pairs of shoes in 2015 and needs to produce 30 Millsion more each year to reach its growth targets by 2020. In the longer term, Adidas is planning to build robot-operated factories in Britain or in France, and could even produce the shirts of Germany’s national football team in its home country, said Hainer. Adidas is facing rising production costs in Asia where it employs around one million workers. Arch-rival Nike is also developing its robot-operated factory. 

Adidas getting robots to make our shoes, good thing or not?

It seems that we’re to blame for having to get robots to make Adidas shoes. We want more human workforce can’t keep up. With robots we don’t need to worry about the way workers are being treated or asking “How were our shoes made?”

Rolls of workers churn out adidas jackets and pants at the Shengyuan Clothing Factory in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. The factory employs a total of 250 workers that works year-round to fill clothing orders from Adidas and has expanded its operations to a more rural area of the province to meet the demand and cut down labor cost. 16-OCT-04

Rolls of workers churn out adidas jackets and pants at the Shengyuan Clothing Factory in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. The factory employs a total of 250 workers that works year-round to fill clothing orders from Adidas and has expanded its operations to a more rural area of the province to meet the demand and cut down labor cost.
16-OCT-04

My main worry about robots was the people losing out on jobs. Especially in their Asian factories where these workers are very dependent on these jobs to support their families. Having to automate a production line will drastically reduce the need for man power and only having to employ a handful of people to run these machines. 

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