Case Study

Carhartt Drives Out Costs and Drives Up Value with Cloud-based TMS

Carhartt Drives Out Costs and Drives Up Value with Cloud-based TMS

"Honest value for an honest dollar."

Like many apparel manufacturers who sell through online and in-store channels, Carhartt reached a point where increasing omnichannel fulfillment challenges required the 128-year-old company to make changes in their supply chain.

The company whose motto is "Honest value for an honest dollar", once again set out and found a way to deliver superior service while controlling costs. 

Central to their supply chain project was a commercial transportation management system (TMS) to replace a manual system. The new TMS needed to integrate with existing systems, including Manhattan's Warehouse Management solution. 

Results of Carhartt's integration of Manhattan's TMS and WMS, include:

  • consistently high service levels while keeping costs manageable

  • improved consolidation and modal optimization

  • decreased number of shipments on high-volume lanes with average weight increase of 181 lbs. per shipment

Customer Overview


Established in 1889, Carhartt is a global premium workwear brand with a rich heritage of developing rugged products for workers on and off the job. Headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, with more than 5,000 associates worldwide, Carhartt is family-owned and managed by the descendants of the company's founder, Hamilton "Ham" Carhartt.

Carhartt Reaches for the Cloud


Carhartt’s manual approach to transportation management had outlived its usefulness. Routing visibility was limited, execution functionality was compromised and transport costs were higher than they needed to be. 

Just as important to Carhartt was how the TMS would be deployed. It chose a system that would be installed as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and reside in the cloud. Cloud installation would be faster and more cost-effective than a traditional on-premise TMS. Carhartt’s internal IT staff would be freed up to focus on other tasks, and not be burdened with installing, managing and updating an in-house system. If, at some point, Carhartt chose to use a 3PL, it wouldn’t have to worry about the type of system the provider used, or if that system was compatible with its IT vendor’s solution.

First Phase Yields Immediate Benefits


The first phase of Transportation Management went live in February 2016 to support outbound distribution from Carhartt’s national distribution center in Hanson, KY. Nearly overnight, Carhartt realized meaningful improvements in every transportation metric. Carrier bidding and selection, load planning and lane scheduling were optimized. Carhartt’s core carrier partners could predictably schedule their drivers’ routes, knowing Carhartt was able to better align its loads with available capacity.

The company is now shipping fewer parcels and more freight, indicating improved consolidation and modal optimization. The number of individual shipments sent on high-volume lanes has declined, with an average weight increase of 181 lbs. per shipment on outbound LTL/FTL shipments from the DC.

TMS and WMS Together Enable Flexibility to Experiment with Delivery


“Our TMS gives us greater control and flexibility of our shipping function than we could ever have achieved through our legacy spreadsheet platform. These positive outcomes can happen only with enhanced visibility into our supply chain. We can now offer customers the flexibility to experiment with different delivery methods, which is especially important during peak season.” - John Hill, Chief Information Officer, Carhartt, Inc.