Adidas to close ‘robot’ plants in Europe and America: it’s still cheaper in Asia

Sporting goods giant Adidas said on Monday it planned to close two high-tech “robot” plants in Germany and the United States, adding that some of its technology in Asia would be “more economical and flexible”. Adidas opened its first Speedfactory in Germany in 2016 and its second in the U.S. in 2017 to bring production closer to its customers in The U.S. and Europe and to cope with rising labor costs and rising transportation costs in Asia. The company had planned to build a global network of “robot” factories.

Adidas to close 'robot' plants in Europe and America: it's still cheaper in Asia

Photo by Adidas

The specific reasons for the closure of the plants were not disclosed. These factories have proved expensive and it is difficult to extend the technology to different products.

Martin Shankland, Adidas’ head of global operations, said the factories had helped Adidas increase its expertise in innovative manufacturing, but would use what it had learned from suppliers to be “more flexible and economical”.

Adidas said monday that the two plants will be shut down by April 2020 at the latest and that the company will focus on using its pioneering technology to produce shoes from two suppliers in Asia.

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