C.H. Robinson Launches Innovation Incubator

(Americas-Europe) Gagnon to Head Data-driven Venture

Breakbulk specialist C.H. Robinson has inaugurated an innovation incubator, designed to drive "the next big ideas in logistics and supply chain."

The new venture, named C.H. Robinson Labs, will allow teams to create, test and scale smarter solutions for project cargo handling and facilitate greater collaboration between customers and carriers.

“Our customers and carriers tell us that they are hungry for tech solutions to strengthen their competitive position and increase their efficiencies. That’s why we have always been laser-focused on working together to solve our customers’ toughest logistics challenges,” explained Bob Biesterfeld, CEO of C.H. Robinson.

Gagnon Leads Data-driven Strategy

The incubator will be led by Tim Gagnon, vice president of analytics and data science at C.H. Robinson, and will comprise dedicated data science teams in Minneapolis; Chicago; Silicon Valley; and Warsaw, Poland.

“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,” Biesterfeld added.

Based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, C.H. Robinson provides breakbulk services worldwide and has to date invested an estimated US$1 billion in technology research to improve shipping performance for customers and carriers.

Digital Connectivity

The new venture is one of a growing number of incubators set up to meet the next generation of challenges for the breakbulk sector and is expected to develop the digital component of cargo handling solutions.

C.H. Robinson will enhance its online business intelligence software, Navisphere Insight as well as building on existing work to integrate Oracle’s ERP and transportation management software, allowing shippers to integrate daily systems to get access to real-time market rates, tender freight, and 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.