C.H. Robinson outlines investment plans

by Inside Logistics Online Staff
C.H. Robinson president and CEO Bob Biesterfeld

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minnesota – C.H. Robinson has committed to investing US$1 billion in technology over the next five years, doubling its previous $1 billion investment in technology over the last 10 years.

Speaking at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) EDGE Conference in Anaheim, California, Biesterfeld explained how big data and digital technologies, including artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics, are having a profound impact on the supply chain marketplace. He discussed why only those who leverage both technology and talent will compete and win on supply chain in the future.

“We are a platform-driven solutions company with technology built by and for supply chain experts, powered by our information advantage,” president and CEO Bob Biesterfeld said. “It’s when these tools are leveraged by the smartest and most relentless experts—who really understand and are committed to our customers’ business—that we create extreme value in the supply chain for our clients’ benefit.”

The company employs more than 1,000 data scientists, engineers and developers.

Market research

Biesterfeld also shared specific feedback and actionable insights from more than 3,000 shippers, both domestic and international, highlighting their evolving priorities and needs. Among some of the research findings:

Technology is more important than ever, with 88 percent of shippers who contract to purchase freight saying that technology is extremely or very important when choosing a logistics provider.

Visibility and predictive tools are external logistics providers’ most important assets, with 65 percent of customers saying they either have or are planning on implementing real-time visibility and insight tools in the next two years.

Local expertise is key, with 83 percent of shippers saying that having a logistics partner with local and global expertise is essential to their business needs.

The results from the customer research demonstrate how important new capabilities, visibility into supply chains and deep expertise in local and global needs are. Biesterfeld identified trends in the industry to demonstrate how C.H. Robinson will continue to invest in innovation to help their customers win.

Industry trends

The trends include:

People will drive technology. Despite new tools and technologies, people will become more important to the supply chains of the future. The research showed how shippers value local expertise, and as technology accelerates and global sourcing grows, the ability to connect them and understand how supply chains really function will be critical.

To go global, we must first go local. As the world becomes more connected, businesses are accessing the global market like never before. The kind of complexity that global commerce creates is very challenging. Having a partner with a global network of local experts who can act as an extension of a customer’s team is a significant competitive advantage.

Investments in infrastructure are key. In our global economy, even the best ideas cannot win without first winning on supply chain. One recent study found nearly 80 percent of companies with high-performing supply chains achieve revenue growth greater than the average within their industries. That can’t happen without great infrastructure.