Nike’s lean manufacturing model has kept its production costs low, but disruptive technology may soon force the company to reconsider its strategy.
To put it simply, Nike is treading all over its competition. Ranked as the world’s most valuable sports brand and worth a whopping $15 billion, the company employs over 74,000 people worldwide. Its largest revenue source is, unsurprisingly, footwear, which eclipses apparel and sports equipment by a sizeable margin.
Shoes are fairly labor-intensive to manufacture, which, given the high cost of labor in the United States, makes their domestic production more or less untenable. It’s no wonder, then, that 99% of all shoes sold in the United States are manufactured abroad. Nike takes this a step further: not only does the company manufacture all of its shoes overseas, it also delivers around 85% of its footwear over lean manufacturing lines. Here’s how it works.