How Adidas is Using Technology to Save Millions in their Supply Chain

Posted by Ryan Robinson on Jul 3, 2013


Adidas has effectively saved resources and money by reducing material waste, transportation, and distribution costs by utilizing 3D virtualization technology. 

In 2004, the Adidas Group set out to begin using 3D digital technology to showcase their products after being influenced by how effective the automotive and aerospace industries were in using this technology to save resources. Since then, they've experienced amazing results.

Nine years since the inception of the Adidas 3D virtualization initiative, the company has saved over 1 million samples and have integrated the program throughout their entire supply chain and sales process. This is an incredible demonstration of how investing in technology can create not only significant long-term savings, but a sustainable competitive advantage for brands in the apparel industry.

For Adidas, implementing this type of technology was a huge challenge. The company produces thousands of different products each year that have differing textures, surfaces, and shapes. It took dedication & involvement from all sides of the business, but now they are capable of producing high-quality virtual samples with a very quick turnaround time.

Instead of taking their factories out of the equation on sample production, Adidas got them involved in the process and now all of their core factories are trained in producing their virtual samples, a move that has benefited both parties. The virtual samples are used by people in the Marketing, Sales, Sourcing, and IT departments to achieve their goals more efficiently while reducing the company's environmental impact as well. 

The company has been implementing the program into a "virtual sell-in" program that's aimed at selling to their retailers more efficiently. The program, which is designed to allow faster decision-making and cut down the company's environmental impact has set themselves apart as an innovative supplier. 

Why Investing in Supply Chain Technology Pays Off

There are many reasons why fashion & apparel brands may be afraid to spend the resources up front to invest in technologically advanced processes that will dramatically increase efficiency in their business processes. They may not understand how the technology works, they may have doubts about it's application to their business, or they may just see no need to change what already works.

However, in today's rapidly evolving apparel industry, those that do not continually invest in technology are being left behind by competitors. Brands like Adidas, Nike, VF Corp, and Zara have proven both the immense cost and efficiency benefits of investing in supply chain technology. Invest intelligently in systems that will benefit your company and you'll reap the benefits for years to come.

For Adidas, virtual design innovation has not stopped with just supply chain improvements. The company is beginning to implement state-of-the-art touch-screen virtual walls within retail locations to create a highly engaging shopping experience for customers that allows them to select products on a virtual shelf.

What started as a step towards investing in virtual product display has turned Adidas into an industry leader for developing 3D technology in all aspects of their business. Innovation breeds more innovation.

What other technologies are influencing the apparel industry today?


Topics: apparel supply chain, apparel industry, production