The year 1889 was a time of steel, steam, and locomotives. It was also when Hamilton Carhartt & Company was founded by its namesake and began producing overalls with two sewing machines and a half-horsepower electric motor in a small Detroit loft. Today, Carhartt has global operations in the U.S., Mexico, and Europe. The company employs more than 2,200 employees who, over the past 15 years, have produced more than 80 million garments and accessories in the U.S.
Carhartt ships all customer and consumer orders from a single facility in Western Kentucky that features two drop lots and several satellite yards. The facility operates around the clock, particularly during Carhartt’s peak shipping months. As its order and shipment volumes grew, the company found itself in need of a yard management system (YMS) that would give it up-to-the-minute information on where trailers are located from the time they drive through the gate and for the entire time that they are onsite.
“Visibility to incoming and outgoing shipments is not only a critical need, but it’s a very necessary part of doing business,” says Andra Gibson, project manager, logistics service solutions, whose team needed to know which trailers were onsite, how many times those trailers moved, what was on their inbound and outbound loads, and then when those vehicles exited the premises.
“We needed a solution that was more effective than manual yard checks and a paper trail that we utilized up to that point, to support the volume of movements that we were actually seeing,” says Gibson. “We also needed a better way to track information on the drivers and equipment that was passing through our gates for security purposes.”
PINC: The Best in Class Choice
When shopping for its new YMS, Carhartt wanted a standalone platform that could at some point be easily integrated into the company’s existing warehouse management system (WMS) and transportation management system (TMS).
Using a project team comprised of individuals from its logistics and IT departments, Carhartt began evaluating solutions that would automate processes like evaluating appointments, scheduling, guard check-in and check-out procedures, and trailer tracking.
“It was really important that the solution be able to grow with us as our business continued to grow and change,” says Gibson. “Upon review of PINC’s proposal, our project team considered their hosted YMS solution as being truly the ‘best in class’ in each of our evaluation areas.”
Driving Continuous Improvement
In use for a little over a year, Carhartt’s cloud-based YMS was implemented and in use within just two months. Gibson says the positive results began to surface quickly. “We began achieving our goals of improved visibility and increased driver efficiency right out of the gate,” she says. “We were capturing more information about the equipment that was coming into our location—including the size and condition of the trailer, and whether it needed to be serviced—all in one place. That’s something we weren’t able to do before.”
In addition, Gibson’s team suddenly had reliable data to work with and a broad range of reports to select from and utilize. “We could pull those reports and put them to good use; that was another big win for us,” says Gibson, who in the future plans to integrate the PINC YMS with Carhartt’s TMS and WMS. “That will help us tap into even more of our YMS’ value.”