Ariat - Case Study

An automated picking systems and operator



Discover how Ariat boosted customer loyalty with faster shipping and improved employee satisfaction by using the Exotec® Skypod® system to reallocate 80% of their picking labor to more value-added roles.

About Ariat

Ariat is quickly becoming one of the world’s leading providers of Western and English style riding boots, apparel, workwear, and accessories. They distribute their wide range of products to more than 6,500 retail locations throughout the U.S., Europe, Mexico, and Japan as well as online.

The Challenge

Rapid sales growth, increasing customer expectations, and an ever-growing product catalog led Ariat to construct a one million square foot central distribution center in Fort Worth, TX during the fall of 2020. As the facility phased from manual picking to adding automation, the need developed for a higher performing and more flexible fulfillment solution for apparel orders that could seamlessly connect and scale with their existing systems.

“We’ve seen an expansion of what our customers’ expectations are on both the business and consumer side,” said Matt Hardenberg, who is the Vice President of Distribution at Ariat.” That has put a lot of stress on our distribution network. Also, as the company and all of our channels have grown, it has expanded the different types of fulfillment that we do out of our centers.”

Ariat needed a solution that could efficiently accommodate their large and ever-changing SKU count. Also high in Ariat’s priority list was improving their warehouse employees’ work experience. To remain attractive to employees, Ariat sought to drastically reduce repetitive, physically intense tasks from their order fulfilment processes such as walking multiple miles per day in search of ordered goods and lifting heavy objects.

The Skypod System Solution

RobotsPicking StationsReplenishment StationsStorage BinsBins/HourRack HeightSystem Footprint
867271,7851,95811 m
(36 ft)
2,696 m²
(29,019 ft2)

System integrated by Hy-Tek Intralogistics

Key Results

1. Increased Efficiency

  • Goods-to-person system enables picking of over 1,650 lines per hour at ergonomic picking stations with the efficiency of just seven employees
  • Transitioned 80% of picking labor to more productive, value-added tasks
  • Ability to efficiently navigate seasonal peaks, fulfilling tens of thousands of SKUs on a daily basis

2. Plug & Play Modularity

  • Installation completed on schedule in just 11 months with minimal impact to ongoing operations despite pandemic logistics challenges
  • System expansion from 57 to 86 robots completed in a matter of minutes during 2022

3. Enhanced Customer Loyalty

  • Expanded B2C offerings to include next day shipping and later order cut-off times
“Having the ability to quickly access a lot of SKUs, do all those combinations quickly, pick any type of order any day at any moment is setting us up well for success going forward.”
– Matt Hardenberg, Vice President of Distribution, Ariat

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