Adidas’s high-tech factory brings production back to Germany (Economist)
Behind closed doors in the Bavarian town of Ansbach a new factory is taking shape. That it will use robots and novel production techniques such as additive manufacturing (known as 3D printing) is not surprising for Germany, which has maintained its manufacturing base through innovative engineering. What is unique about this factory is that it will not be making cars, aircraft or electronics but trainers and other sports shoes—an $80B-a-year industry that has been off-shored largely to China, Indonesia and Vietnam. The Speedfactory, as this plant is called, belongs to Adidas, a giant German sports-goods firm. Production is due to begin in mid-2017, slowly at first and then ramping up to 500,000 pairs of trainers a year. Adidas is constructing a second Speedfactory near Atlanta for the American market.
Kellogg Revises Distribution Method (WSJ)
Kellogg Co. is abandoning its traditional way of delivering some snacks to stores in an effort to cut costs, though it risks hurting sales of some products. The maker of Cheez-Its and Keebler cookies, which reported fourth-quarter earnings Thursday, will begin delivering its U.S. crackers and cookies to grocery stores’ warehouses, rather than directly to the individual stores.
World’s biggest shippers don’t grasp supply chain impact on climate change
The world’s largest corporations are failing to work with supply chain partners on climate change, according to a survey of 4,000 suppliers to the world’s leading shippers. The Carbon Disclosure Project polled suppliers to 89 of the world’s largest firms – including Walmart, Microsoft, and Coca-Cola – to assess how the multinationals were responding to and tackling climate change. While the report found that 68% of major shippers recognized the benefit of taking action, only 22% had engaged with suppliers and just 4% had actually actioned supply chain emissions targets.
In its tireless struggle to innovate, fashion is turning to mass customization. This trend is both very new and very old.
An iPhone’s Journey, From the Factory Floor to the Retail Store (NYT)
After the iPhone leaves the Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou, it takes two days, on average, to get to a store in Shanghai, a 590-mile trip. It takes three days, on average, to get a store in San Francisco, some 6,300 miles away. Chinese customers can pay much higher prices, because of currency fluctuations and the country’s hefty value-added tax. A 32-gigabyte iPhone 7 sells for about $776 at the Apple Store in Shanghai. In New York, it goes for $649.
Merck Deploys AI For ‘Self-Driving’ Supply Chain (WSJ)
Company is in a multi-year project to improve demand forecasts, plans to deploy sensors and algorithms throughout its supply chains for pharmaceuticals and health-care products. The goal is to create an autonomous supply operation where computers make more decisions about allocating materials and distributing products,
Siemens and General Electric gear up for the internet of things (Economist)
The two firms are taking very different paths towards digitization. GE is completely reinventing itself, whereas Siemens is staying close to its roots. Siemens tends to be organised in vertical, industry-specific silos, such as machine tools and medical equipment. GE typically comes in horizontal, widely used layers, such as computer operating systems.
Amazon Moves to Cut Checkout Line, Promoting a Grab-and-Go Experience (NYT)
In the latest in its expanding set of experiments involving bricks-and-mortar retail stores, Amazon has created a small grocery store in Seattle that will allow customers to pluck drinks, prepared meals and other items off shelves and walk out without having to wait in a checkout line, the company said.