C.H Robinson is a multimodal transportation services and third party logistics company.  They have operations in North America, Europe, Asia, and South America.  Due to their large scale, they work with some of the largest companies in various business segments.  C.H. Robinson is committed to expanding their services and easing the way their customers conduct their business.

In September 2019, C.H. Robinson declared their commitment to investing $1 billion into technological innovation projects over the next five years.  This past month, the company has launched their own labs, which they are calling C.H. Robinson Labs.  These labs were created to be an in house supply chain innovation incubator, where logistics and supply chain ideas are created, tested, and scaled.  These ideas will build solutions for 124,000 customers and 76,000 contract carriers.  The reason for the creation of the labs was due to customers and carriers expressing their hunger to C.H. Robinson for tech solutions and wanting a stronger competitive position while increasing their efficiencies.

The innovation labs work closely with 1,000 data scientists, engineers, and developers.  The first goal of these labs is to allow customers to easily integrate their own ERP's with C.H. Robinson's broader market insights.  This will be done through connecting its Navisphere capabilities into leading technologies such as Oracle Netsuite and Transportation Management.  Other objectives of the labs are to enhance a company's pilot phase business intelligence software, develop a benchmarking tool to help shippers predict and reduce lead times, and other features such as real time freight tracking to increase visibility and efficiency across the supply chain.

Currently, Robinson Labs is working on predictive ETA's, reducing empty miles for carriers, and deriving insights to reduce carbon footprints.  They have also partnered with Anheuser-Busch to create an artificial intelligence assisted pricing tool that directly connects the two companies.  The tool prices and accepts thousands of shipments in less than a few seconds without human interaction.

Although it is too new to see the returns on these labs, I am sure there will be positive outcomes that are derived from them in the near future.

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Nicole O'Connell

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