Ariat International Inc. is a US-based leading manufacturer of innovative equestrian footwear and apparel. Featuring a patented technology designed to deliver stability, durability and comfort, Ariat pioneered the application of advanced athletic shoe technology into English riding boots and authentic Western boots.
Ariat is widely recognized as the leader in the field of equestrian footwear and apparel, being the official partner of the United States Equestrian Federation with numerous elite rodeo athlete endorsements. Ariat products are available worldwide via a network of authorized retailers.
To ensure that they can maintain their superior product quality and responsible supply chain practices despite the multiple disruptions of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Ariat sought to upgrade and streamline their supplier management systems with a focus on improving alignment, transparency and collaboration.
Ariat Commits to Collaborative and Proactive Quality Management in Its Sourcing Ecosystem
Ever since its founding in 1993, Ariat has placed its core values – innovation, quality, integrity, teamwork and respect – at the center of everything the company does. These values govern every aspect of Ariat’s business, including its sourcing and supplier relations. To stay aligned with its philosophy while keeping up with the changing demands of global sourcing and navigating the disruptions of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Ariat has committed to establishing a collaborative and proactive approach to supplier quality management.
However, the lack of a centralized software solution for managing sourcing, quality control and supplier relations made it difficult for Ariat to maintain a clear picture of product quality at every step of their supply chain. Furthermore, limitations on factory visits due to travel restrictions and other quarantine measures meant that 100% on-site inspections were no longer a sure-fire strategy for ensuring product quality.
To address these challenges, Ariat turned to its long-standing partner QIMA, a leading provider of quality control and supplier compliance solutions. QIMA’s new digital platform, QIMAone, proved to be the perfect solution for digitizing Ariat’s supply chain and giving it a full view of quality.
Better Quality Management with a Transparent Sourcing Network of Empowered Suppliers
QIMAone is a smart digital platform that brings all links of the supply chain together under one collaborative framework. Having partnered with Ariat through a volatile supply chain landscape of the past years, QIMA had a deep understanding of Ariat’s products and processes, and a clear view of how the powerful features of QIMAone could be leveraged to give Ariat greater supply chain visibility and improve its quality management.
Rolling out QIMAone through Ariat’s supplier network enabled the brand to collect reliable data on inspections and get a more accurate view of the quality and compliance performance in their supply chain. In line with Ariat’s philosophy of giving factories ownership of quality, QIMAone helped empower Ariat’s vendor partners by giving them the ability to conduct self-inspections, while Ariat’s quality team gained access to powerful tools with which to analyze results, plan corrective actions, and monitor progress with full visibility.
By connecting Ariat with all sources of quality and compliance data at every step, from factory to store, QIMAone helped Ariat achieve a new level of visibility into its supply chain, reduce the need for third-party quality control and decrease the overall QC costs. Furthermore, empowering suppliers with self-inspections where appropriate is helping drive continuous improvement in a proactive manner, contributing to better quality and lower costs in the long term.
Automated Tools to Increase Productivity and Ensure Consistent QC
One of Ariat’s key priorities in managing quality was to ensure that unified quality standards are applied in all its factories. QIMAone proved instrumental in that, offering easy-to-use workflow and checklist builders, as well as a wide-ranging library of customizable inspection templates. Ariat’s quality team was able to quickly and easily import the brand’s existing standards and specifications into the QIMAone interface and seamlessly distribute them to all vendors as relevant.
In case of any changes to the specifications, the updated versions are pushed to inspectors and suppliers automatically, ensuring that all inspections in Ariat’s sourcing network are conducted to up-to-date QC requirements, minimizing human error and the need for manual follow-up.
Additionally, by automating routine tasks, such as inspection booking and scheduling, QIMAone has helped increase efficiency and productivity for Ariat’s back-office teams, allowing them to focus on managing quality and proactively improving the brand’s sourcing network.
An Accurate View of Quality Leads to Improved Efficiency and Lower Costs
With the ability to access all sources of quality and compliance data through QIMAone, Ariat achieved a 360-degree view of its supply network, resulting in a much greater ability to manage its processes, people and data in a proactive rather than reactive way. With real-time visibility of its sourcing, Ariat’s quality team can spot any quality issues early, and streamlined communication with all its vendors means that those issues can be addressed in real-time, saving time and money and preventing greater disruption down the line.
Finally, a key factor for Ariat’s choice of QIMAone was the platform’s flexibility and scalability. QIMAone’s intuitive interface and integration tools make the onboarding process very easy for internal users, inspectors and suppliers, while its vast library of training materials available on demand allows to seamlessly share knowledge throughout the sourcing network, and bring any new actors up to date. As QIMAone supports all consumer goods categories and enables mixed inspection strategies, Ariat can be flexible in its choice of quality control and compliance service providers while still benefiting from the platform’s powerful support.
“The QIMAone quality management platform could not have come at a better time,” says George Rodriguez, VP Sourcing, Procurement, Quality at Ariat. “We’re confident that QIMAone will help us to establish the transparency and synchronization of effort required to ensure product quality, drive proactive continuous improvement, and reduce associated costs in the most effective manner.”
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