The first automated sports footwear factory has opened in France and will produce Salomon trail running and hiking footwear for the spring 2022 season.
The Advanced Shoe Factory 4.0 (ASF 4.0), the first automated sports footwear factory, has opened its first production unit in France. The factory is controlled by Chamatex Group, a specialist of technical textile. Salomon, Babolat and Millet are partners and shareowners in ASF 4.0, with each brand’s headquarters located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France, less than 200 kilometers from ASF 4.0.
The first footwear made at ASF 4.0 will be spring 2022 Salomon trail running and hiking shoes that will be available for purchase in early 2022.
Among the many benefits of localized footwear production in France, a few key benefits of the ASF 4.0 opening include:
- Greater manufacturing efficiency thanks to a short-circuit organization of production and logistics, allowing brands to benefit from optimal responsiveness in the European market
- More flexibility due to the increased capacity to test new products in limited quantities
- Increased ability to compete globally by using robotic assembly lines
- Localized production is more sustainable, which minimizes the carbon footprint
- Creation of 50 qualified jobs in the next three years, with positions ranging from skilled operators to engineers and programmers
“Salomon has always pushed the limits of innovation in terms of product functionality but also from an industrialization and operational processes standpoint,” says Jean-Marc Pambet, president of Salomon. “This partnership with Chamatex Group on ASF 4.0 demonstrates our commitment to continue being at the forefront of the footwear industry transformation.”
Approximately 20 people are already working at ASF 4.0 to produce 15,000 pairs of shoes by the end of 2021. Looking forward, the prototyping and production capacity of the factory will allow it to develop and assemble 500,000 pairs of shoes every year, generating €10–€15 million in revenue annually.
“The teams have done an excellent job executing this project and sticking to a very tight timeline,” says Lucie Andre, operational director for ASF 4.0. “We are using ultra-innovative means of production compared to what is normally used in the footwear industry, which still relies heavily on hand-made efforts.”
Salomon’s Captiv ASF 4.0 hiking shoe will be one of the first shoes produced at the new factory. The highly anticipated shoe will allow Salomon to reach consumer targets who seek a balance between performance and on-trend design. Salomon’s North American customer-base has shown a strong interest in sustainably made shoes, so the Captiv ASF 4.0 will certainly appeal to that market.
While Salomon is making innovative strides in France, the company is also implementing several sustainability-focused actions at the brand’s Ogden Distribution Center in Utah. In an effort to reduce Salomon’s North American supply chain carbon footprint, the Ogden Distribution Center sources clean energy from a solar farm, partners with a closed loop cardboard supplier in order to reuse the brand’s own cardboard waste and is building a roof top garden for temperature and air quality control, just to name a few.