Manufacturing in America is making a comeback. After decades of relying on overseas production, industries are seeing advantages in factories closer to the customer base in North America.
KEEN’s American Built initiative, centered around its factory on Swan Island in Portland, Ore., offers manufacturing jobs to locals as well as a connection to the design and testing staff at KEEN headquarters down the street.
The company makes models including The Durand and Liberty Ridge at the Portland factory from materials sourced around the world. Much of its footwear is still produced outside the country, but the brand has plans to move more of its line to the U.S. over the next five years.
By The Numbers
We visited the factory in 2014 to learn about the “built in the USA” method (see the full article, “KEEN Footwear ‘Built In The USA’“). This month, we got an update, including a “by the numbers” look at the evolution of the KEEN plant.
2011: Year factory opened
38,000: Square footage of KEEN factory in Portland
35: Employees as of 2014 (during GearJunkie’s first visit)
60: Employees as of 2015. New hires!
20: Boot & shoe styles built at factory
Hundreds of thousands… Pairs of shoes/boots produced a year
5: Boot “parts” assembled together to make a Durand WP model (sole, upper, footbed, support shank, and laces)
20: Minutes to assemble a new pair of Durand WP boots
4.5: Miles from KEEN headquarters in downtown Portland
42: Miles to Mount Hood testing grounds
5: Estimated number of years until factory will max current output capability
The KEEN facility syncs with a bigger company vision of “impacting global lives through the original products we create, the communities we strengthen, and our inspiration to create, play, and care,” says Claire Juttelstad, Director of Manufacturing.
–This article is sponsored by KEEN. See our article on the facility from 2014, “KEEN Footwear ‘Built In The USA’.”