When the global health pandemic hit the U.S., Carhartt’s factories quickly switched from crafting rugged workwear to stitching delicate masks and medical gowns.
It wasn’t the first time the 131-year-old company had made such a dramatic shift. The Michigan-based overalls maker bought a cotton mill when World War I broke out so it could produce khaki trousers for U.S. soldiers, and then it made jungle suits for U.S. Marines fighting in the Pacific during World War II, along with workwear for women entering the factories on the home front.
But this time, Carhartt has a new tool to help it succeed amid a crisis: dozens of empowered developers.
As stores and offices closed in March to hamper the spread of the coronavirus, Carhartt software engineers were able to seamlessly transition to remote work while developing new programs and dashboards to help the company make distribution decisions and handle a sudden flood of phone and online orders.
Their work highlights a powerful trend: Companies of all kinds are adding software development to their wheelhouse, with more than half of the world’s 20 million software engineers now working outside the tech industry — and bringing the magic that is helping these businesses thrive.