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CHRW rolls out enhanced IT offering capabilities for shippers

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
November 30, 2012

Global logistics services provider and freight forwarder C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. (CHRW) recently rolled out Navisphere, which it said is the next version of its single global technology platform.

Navishpere, said CHRW, provides end-to-end visibility, consistent business processes, and strategy-driven business intelligence on a global basis. The company added that Navisphere is used by CHRW employees, customers, and service providers to manage transportation and sourcing activities globally.

Significant offerings and benefits of Navisphere include:
-a modernized user interface and streamlined access to business-critical data,
-customization to support customer requirements across global workflows;
-allowing shipper customers to gain access to a centralized network of more than 100,000 supply chain partners without having to integrate individually with each provider; and
-integrating with shippers’ ERP systems to automate workflows between transportation and business operations and providing visibility to global transportation across all modes

CHRW Chief Information Officer Tom Mahlke told LM that Navisphere technology and C.H. Robinson’s existing relationships allow shippers of all sizes to bridge those gaps and have an equal opportunity to obtain business they otherwise wouldn’t be able to on their own.

“Most shippers are faced with similar challenges and opportunities in their supply chains,” he said. “However, technology investments and certain technology requirements are barriers to entry for shippers to work with certain companies.  For example, if a shipper wants to do business with a certain receiver, they may have to be able to send that receiver an EDI file in order to comply with the delivery scheduling process.  If the shipper can’t send this file, then they can’t do business with the receiver.  This is one of the reasons that C.H. Robinson invests over $100 million annually in IT spend as it allows the company to have all of those integrations in place and can give our customers easy entry into those difficult processes.” 

And he added that shippers have opportunities that are tied to modal optimization or consolidation, but can’t justify putting a supporting infrastructure in place to participate in those opportunities.  By leveraging C.H. Robinson’s pre-existing infrastructure of over 10,000 employees around the globe and Navisphere technology, smaller shippers are allowed to capture savings of these programs, explained Mahlke.

Regarding visibility, shippers of all sizes have expressed a need to gain visibility into their supply chain and transportation costs, and the TMS capabilities required to enable that visibility represents a significant investment that Navisphere allows those shippers to avoid, he said.

Along with providing visibility to global transportation across all modes,  Mahlke said a key component of Navisphere’s online access transforms itself to display in multiple languages along with displaying numbers, dates, currencies and units of measure based on cultural preference.  And it also provides map-based visualization of operational data which allows users to see their entire transportation network, arrayed geographically with indicators of items needing attention. 

“Visually, a user will notice Navisphere has a redesigned and modern user interface which is focused on usability improvements,” he said. “Users will also experience faster access to critical data and improved tools for quickly interpreting large amounts of information.  Navisphere also includes extensive customization capabilities which allow the tool to be tailored for a customer’s specific business process.  Customization also streamlines the execution of routine tasks by all stakeholders in the transportation process.” 

As for Navisphere’s next steps, Mahlke said Navisphere was designed with the idea in mind that it would be able to grow with our customers’ demands and the modes and services C.H. Robinson offers.  Future possibilities range from additional channels of access to the platform such as mobile applications, to expanding the business intelligence tools and deeper integration of niche modes and services.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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