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德国运动服装巨头Adidas在国内生产运动鞋已经是20年前的事情了,但今年早些时候这一情况开始逆转:Adidas在德国南部的Ansbach建造了一个4600平方米的高自动化工厂“Speedfactory”(速度工厂),这里将采用机器人制造运动鞋。截止1993年,Adidas已经关闭了德国境内10座鞋厂中的九座。Adidas希望通过这间新开的德国工厂以及在美国新建的一座,在未来5年内生产100万双运动鞋,并销售给发达市场的消费者。正如Adidas前总裁Herbert Hainer所言,“当我1987年加入Adidas的时候,在德国关闭工厂、到中国新开工厂的过程刚刚开始。但现在一切开始逆转。这种循环很让人觉得不可思议。”由于新开工厂引入了自动化,每年只需160名员工就能生产超过50万双运动鞋。就当前来看,同Adidas目前生产的3亿双鞋子相比,这两间新开工厂生产的一百万双鞋子只不过是沧海一粟,但随着机器人和自动化的发展,德国本土将贡献更多的产量,新款式的交付周期将加快,也将缩减漫长的运输时间和成本。

由于自动化的发展,生产从远东地区迁回本土的案例并非Adidas一家。虽然目前欧洲和美国生产线的占比可能很小,但它所产生的警告信号却仍然存在,特别是对超低成本的亚洲国家来说。根据国际劳工组织的一份研究显示,未来几十年,越南、泰国、菲律宾、印度尼西亚和柬埔寨的薪水阶层工人中有56%将被机器人、自动化和其他高科技取代。最受威胁的工作是制鞋、制衣和纺织业中简单的人工作业,例如裁切面料,这类工作可轻松实现自动化。单就这三种行业,印尼工人的64%可能被自动化替代,而这个数字在越南和柬埔寨则是惊人的86%和88%。

一个正在努力迎头赶上自动化的国家是中国。2014年,习近平主席呼吁“机器人革命”,大胆提出“我们的国家将成为机器人最大的市场”。从此之后,中国每年购入的高级工业机器人比任何其他国家都多,包括高科技制造业大国,例如日本、德国和韩国。根据国际机器人联合会的报道,截至去年年底,中国已经超过日本成为全球最大的工业机器人使用国家,买入了全球27%的工业机器人。然而,中国还要走很长的路才能在自动化转型方面接近前述的3个国家。截至今年年初,德国每10000份制造业岗位就有292个机器人,这个数字在日本是314,在韩国是478,而中国则仅有36。但考虑到仅广东省在2015年就投资了1500亿美元,中国不需要太长时间就能在这一领域迎头赶上。

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