How Nike Plans to Shape the Future of Manufacturing

Oct 28, 2016

Nike (NYSE:NKE) management briefly touched on something in the company's most recent earnings call that hasn't had much attention, even though it could completely change how Nike operates in the years to come. "ManRev" is what Nike CEO Mark Parker called it, which stands for manufacturing revolution, and even though the company has been hinting at this for a few years, it seems to be driving this initiative much more seriously now.

Here's how Nike might be using 3D printing and other technology to shape the future of its manufacturing, and why it could lead to huge future gains.

The future of Nike's manufacturing
"Through our acceleration of ManRev," Parker said during the recent earnings call, "we're currently seeing the benefit to product cost optimization." Additionally, Parker stated that this new manufacturing model could increase speed to market and increase design and customization possibilities.

Nike gave very little insight into what exactly the "ManRev" innovations are, but you can look back at some of the innovation we've seen from Nike in the past few years to get a pretty good idea of how these trends will translate to modern day manufacturing. The biggest one is 3D printing. Nike was at the forefront of 3D printing footwear when it announced the Nike Vapor Laser Talon football cleat in 2013. This revolutionary shoe was one of the first performance shoes to use 3D printing in both testing and manufacturing, and Nike said at the time that 3D printing could be the future of footwear. More recently, Nike showed how similar technology could be used in building its Flyknit style shoes at scale.

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