C.H. Robinson launches tech ‘innovation incubator’

(c) Can Stock Photo / nevarpp

U.S.-based forwarder C.H. Robinson launched its new C.H. Robinson Labs “innovation incubator” to work with its customers to develop technology solutions built especially for individual supply chains.

Companies like L’Oreal and Target have already participated in programs connected to the incubator, known informally as “Robinson Labs,” during the pilot phase of its online business intelligence software, Navisphere Insight. The software uses technologies like big data analytics to help companies streamline their supply chains and improve their on-time performance.

Robinson Labs is led by Tim Gagnon, C.H. Robinson’s vice president of analytics and data science. Robinson Labs is currently working on areas such as predictive estimated times of arrival, reducing empty miles for carriers, and developing insights to reduce carbon footprints for businesses.

This incubator launched by C.H. Robinson is representative of an increasing trend in the third-party logistics space, where major forwarders and 3PLs are adding new programs to support their customers’ more complex trade and operational needs.

Like C.H. Robinson, DHL is working to provide tailored programs and offerings for its customers looking to introduce new technologies to improve efficiency, and in September 2019, opened its new Chicago Innovation Center. Other forwarders are beefing up their customs advisory offerings; Crane Worldwide Logistics recently brought Alexandra Kleinschmidt on board to lead its trade consulting and customs brokerage teams, while UPS incorporated its foreign trade zone capabilities into its customs brokerage, warehousing, logistics and transportation business.

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