by Barry Render
Kent International plans to produce 500,000 bikes in the U.S. in 2017, and more than 1 million by 2020.
After decades of offshoring, bicycle manufacturing is coming back to the U.S. as overseas costs rise and companies realize the value of “local for local” production. “From hand-crafted boutique brands to high-volume manufacturing, U.S. bicycle makers are reshoring bike production,” writes Industry Week (Dec.8, 2016). A confluence of factors are giving rise to new opportunities. Continue reading
A German factory operated largely by robots is making its debut this year as the sportswear company seeks to cut labor costs and speed up delivery to fashion-conscious consumers. Adidas had shifted most of its production from Europe to Asia and now relies on more than 1 million workers in contract factories, particularly in China and Vietnam. But Adidas now wants to bring production back closer to its major markets to meet demands for faster delivery of new styles and to counter rising wages in Asia and higher shipping costs, reports Reuters.com (Dec.19, 2015). Continue reading
In Fetch Robotic’s mock warehouse, stocked with granola bars, breakfast cereal, sponges, and other household goods, a worker plucks items from shelves and places them in a plastic bin. The bin is set atop a small wheeled robot that follows the employee’s every step like a puppy. When the container is full, the robot darts off with it to a packing area; a second robot with an empty bin then picks up where the first left off, allowing the worker to keep gathering items without pausing or having to push around a heavy cart. Fetch Robotics, reports BusinessWeek (Oct.26-Nov. 1, 2015), is one of a handful of startups working on warehouse robots aimed specifically at e-commerce companies. Continue reading