Clarks aims to cut lead times by manufacturing locally in the UK. The heritage footwear company announced last week that the company is adding a volume manufacturing plant to its headquarters in Somerset, UK.
The facility, scheduled to be operational next year, will house Clarks’ design and manufacturing units and will add 80 technical and managerial jobs. For the first time, Clarks will introduce state-of-the-art robot-assisted technology designed to speed up volume production to its shoe-making process. Clarks estimates that it will create up to 300,000 desert boots a year at the facility.
“We are delighted to be bringing shoe manufacturing back to the UK and creating a significant number of highly skilled jobs,” Clarks CEO Mike Shearwood. “Clarks is changing and as a global business we need to innovate and respond to the changing global economic order—Clarks is thinking big and innovating to ensure we are fit for the future and at the forefront of shoemaking, whilst being able to adapt to an ever-changing world.”
The new plant will allow Clarks to take a more season-less approach to manufacturing. The company plans to better respond to the demands of consumers and wholesale partners by producing trans-seasonal collections at the UK plant.
Pending the success of the volume manufacturing plant, the company plans to open similar production units in locations across the U.S., Europe and Asia over the next few years.
“Clarks has always led the way in shoe design and manufacture having developed a significant proportion of modern shoe construction technologies. This new facility will help us continue that tradition of innovation,” Shearwood said. “The 21st century craftsmanship that we are introducing will also lead to and encourage innovation in shoe design. It will be transformative to the process of how we design and develop shoes.”