For the past 134 years, Carhartt has built a global following of dedicated fans. The brand’s workwear is produced with such high quality that it’s legendary for being passed down for generations. Carhartt looks good. And their brand is among the most recognizable in the world – worn by hip-hop artists like Dr. Dre and featured prominently in TV series’ like Yellowstone. Their brand creative department is in-house and their product placement is organic – celebrities and influencers want to be associated with them. And amid all the popularity, Carhartt continues to innovate. For example, their durable, insulated, lightweight gear is now the exclusive outfit worn in-studio and in the field by reporters on The Weather Channel.
All this growth requires the brand to remain on the cutting edge on the IT front. Carhartt has streamlined operations, migrated to the cloud, and pursued new revenue streams with the help of Cisco FSO solutions.
From humble beginnings to a global powerhouse brand
Carhartt was founded in 1889 in Detroit, Michigan, in a small loft with five workers and two sewing machines. The early company made sturdy clothes for railroad workers and other laborers, working closely with their customers to make sure the workwear was designed to meet their needs while on the job. Carhartt soon expanded to become a global brand, and they’ve continued to grow to record heights.
Streamlining operations – from warehouse distribution to retail
Carhartt is family-owned company. They’re an SAP shop – using the software to manage everything from sewing the workwear, to operating their distribution centers, to maintaining their 24/7 global ecommerce site. They use Cisco FSO solutions to monitor all their critical applications because they have no margin for downtime – a glitch in their distribution site or a disruption in their ecommerce site would result in a significant financial impact, all while leaving consumers and customers with a bad experience.
“We can’t afford downtime. We’re making sales around the world now, and our main distribution centers are operating 24 hours as well. So, we’ve got to have the visibility, and we’ve got to have uptime. The only way to do that is to know when something’s going wrong and head it off before it impacts the business.”
—Bryan Laszlo, Carhartt’s Manager of Application Performance
Migrating to the cloud and pursuing new revenue streams drives exponential growth
Four years ago, Carhartt embarked on a journey to migrate all their systems to the cloud. They started with their core ERP system, and today, 96% of their operations are in the cloud. Laszlo said, “Being in the cloud gives us improved availability along with sustainable flexibility, scalability, and reliability we’ve never had before. We couldn’t keep investing in data centers, hardware, and staff to build and run them- we had to get ahead of the business’ technology and capacity needs.”
Without having to invest in new data centers and more IT staff to run them, and knowing they have a strong cloud-based IT infrastructure, Carhartt has been able to invest in the business and grow exponentially. Not only has Carhartt established a store on Amazon.com, they also sell through Cintas, directly to businesses like United Airlines, and opened two new Carhartt company retail stores during the pandemic. On the retail front, they’ve pioneered setting up “stores within a store” at Tractor Supply and Dick’s Sporting Goods, endcaps at Home Depot, and glove stations at Ace Hardware. Laszlo says, “Wherever hardworking people are – that’s where we’re trying to sell.”
Carhartt has truly reimagined their applications in the cloud and built an IT infrastructure that drives their business growth – instead of inhibiting it. With Cisco FSO solutions giving them the visibility they need to rapidly fix issues and the actionable insight to prevent them in the first place, Carhartt will continue to succeed and grow.