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IntermodalNewsTechnologyTruckingTruckload

C.H. Robinson launches incubator to develop supply chain technology solutions (with video)

C.H. Robinson (NASDAQ: CHRW) has remained one of the most technologically innovative companies in the supply chain. That is continuing Thursday morning as C.H. Robinson has formally introduced C.H. Robinson Labs. The innovation incubator is designed to create, test and scale technology solutions for the global logistics giant and its customers.

Informally known as Robinson Labs, the incubator will be led by Tim Gagnon, vice president of analytics and data science at C.H. Robinson. Dedicated data science teams will be based in Minneapolis, Chicago, California’s Silicon Valley and Warsaw, Poland.

“Our customers and carriers tell us that they are hungry for tech solutions to strengthen their competitive position and increase their efficiencies,” Bob Biesterfeld, C.H. Robinson president and CEO, said in a statement. “That’s why we have always been laser-focused on working together to solve our customers’ toughest logistics challenges. Under Tim’s leadership,  Robinson Labs further demonstrates our commitment by identifying even more ways we can bring together our technology and the most comprehensive data sets in the industry to deliver solutions that cut shipping costs, simplify processes, and drive greater reliability and visibility.”

Robinson Labs is already working with shipping customers and carriers. The incubator will complement C.H. Robinson’s technology team of over 1,000 data scientists, engineers and developers. Robinson Labs will be tasked with developing and testing solutions before they are implemented across C.H. Robinson’s network of 124,000 customers and 76,000 contract carriers.

“Through the spirit of innovation, Robinson Labs will create the newest solutions to continue driving the logistics industry forward,” Gagnon said. “My team and I are actively collaborating with customers to solve their supply chain challenges, and then applying those learnings to benefit all of our customers and carriers.”

C.H. Robinson has pledged $1 billion in technology investment across its enterprises, which is being leveraged in part to create Robinson Labs. Its continued investment in technology landed it the No. 9 spot on FreightWaves’ annual FreightTech 25 list of the most innovative technology companies in logistics.

Among its innovations are the flagship Navisphere platform and the Navisphere Vision software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that allows clients to leverage C.H. Robinson’s technology investments to gain improved visibility into their own supply chain operations, optimize processes, and access data and reporting on one platform.

Last November, the company launched Freightquote by C.H. Robinson. The web portal offers capacity sourcing capabilities to small and medium-size businesses for most modes of transportation. The platform allows shippers to compare real-time rates from C.H. Robinson’s network of approved carriers and book their shipment via credit card. Additionally, the system provides the shipper with load tracking and shipment notifications.

Robinson Labs will build on these types of innovations to create more advanced solutions, the company said. Already, Robinson Labs is building transportation management capabilities and making them accessible through leading transportation management systems (TMS) and enterprise resource planning systems. Starting with Oracle’s ERP and transportation management software, C.H. Robinson is making it even easier for customers to connect with C.H. Robinson where and how they want to buy, the company said. Connectivity includes functions such as allowing shippers to work in their own daily systems to access real-time market rates, tender freight and get real-time tracking.

“By digitally connecting C.H. Robinson’s Navisphere capabilities into leading technologies such as Oracle Netsuite and transportation management, we help our customers increase productivity and drive cost savings,” Gagnon said.

Robinson Labs will also help enhance Navisphere Insight, the company’s business intelligence software that includes C.H. Robinson’s proprietary TMS. According to the company, the enhancements will use millions of data points, predictive analytics and other information to provide insights to customers on how to improve savings, reliability and visibility. For example, with the Robinson Labs benchmark tool, shippers can reduce costs by altering lead times and volumes, as well as improve dwell times and on-time performance.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and fleetowner.com. Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.

9 Comments

  1. It was a turning point for us when CH Robinson provided AscendTMS to us. Now we use Ascend to run everything we do. They’ve been amazing with us over the last year and given us advice on things like setting up EDI with them and our direct shipper customers and they gave us several ELD options that were low cost for our mixed fleet (43 trucks) that integrated for free with Ascend.

    We need more big companies like this giving us direction on new technologies that really work as we just don’t have the time to try everything ourselves.

    Now, if you could just raise all the rates 30% lol 🤣😂 🤣😂

  2. CHR – can you give us some tech to help us find drivers that give a sh1t about being on time to their pickups and deliveries. 99% of my problems would go away if they were just on time. 🙂

    1. Why are they late? Is it truly the driver’s fault, such as poor time management,; over-sleeping; not caring as you suggest? Or, is that receivers don’t care if they take 4+ hours to unload 3 pallets off a multiple stop unload, causing the driver to be late for the next stop? My experience has been that some of the largest receivers (especially food distributors using 3P lumper service) are the cause of drivers being late for appointments. Poor scheduling by not taking into consideration past performance of receivers turn-around is a factor that few schedulers implement.

      1. Truck drivers have been the industry’s scapegoat for most of the industry’s mishaps . Haven’t you noticed ? It’s always the truck driver’s fault , LOL !

    2. In my opinion shippers and receivers fault. They are doing poor management. Loading and unloading counting taking for ever. They are making appointments but never works as did. That’s the all the problems comes from.

  3. CHRobinson = cheap FREIGHT rates ( so cheap that the carriers gets bankrupt), their carrier being late = the original carrier ditched chRobinson cheap rate over a better rate (therefore the other carriers has to make up for that ditched loads late late late).
    chRobinson/TQL/InterstAte they all are garbage

  4. It is interesting to see C H and all the other 3PLs talking about cutting shipping costs but they fail to acknowledge that the one’s taking the blunt of the cost cutting are the carrier/drivers. If all the 3PLs are so interested in developing solid partnerships they truly need to understand ALL of our costs. Costs are continuing to drive carriers out left and right. Fuel goes up and down like crazy, insurance costs are out of this universe along with nuclear settlements, states continue to toll bridges and highways, IFTA and Mileage Taxes continue to increase, driver costs continue to rise along with the costs of getting and keeping good drivers, Shipper and Receiver delays and abuse is as bad if not worse than ever and no one wants to do anything about it. Measly detention rates of $35 per hour are ridiculous and a joke. There is no incentive for the Shipper and Receiver to get off their butts and get the trucks loaded and unloaded. We just had a driver last Friday sit at a shipper for 17+ hours and they refused to let him drop his trailer to go get something to eat and use the restroom. We are now fighting with the broker to get any compensation whatsoever. Why is it always the carrier and/or driver that have to take the brunt of the cost cutting. Then we see all of these articles about C H spending $1Billion on technology or bragging about their profits increasing year over year and the carriers continue to struggle with rates that no better than they were 20 years ago but costs are continue to go up and up on everything. When are the carriers and/or drivers going to be given an opportunity to make a reasonable return on our investments?

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