Twenty years ago Adidas transferred its shoe manufacturing to Asia. Many workers in Germany lost their jobs as cheaper Asian workers provided a profitable alternative to Adidas and enabled them to compete in the cut-throat world of footwear manufacturing and retailing.
In a complete turnaround Adidas are moving their manufacturing back to Germany but this time the manufacturing process will be handled by robots. Even Asian workers have become more expensive and robotics have become cheaper. Adidas say that full automation is not their aim but the transition from European manufacture to cheap Asian labour to robotics is a clear signal that change waits for no man.