Freight News, Logistics

C.H. Robinson Automates Appointment Process

[ February 21, 2024   //   ]

C.H. Robinson, the Minnesota-based logistics service provider, said it has created touchless, automated system for scheduling trucking appointments, and putting a dent in the more than 1 billion appointments made annually through phone calls and emails.
Freight shipping normally involves scheduling an appointment for a load to be picked up and another where the load needs to be delivered.
“With the touchless appointments, the entire process is automated and can be done 24/7 with no manual intervention,” C.H. Robinson said Feb. 7.
The technology uses artificial intelligence, or AI, to determine the optimal appointment, based on transit time data from C.H. Robinson’s millions of shipments across 300,000 shipping lanes, including peak dwell time and most convenient time windows for carriers.
“It’s far more efficient for technology to find an appointment slot that’s open, that works for both the loading dock and the carrier, and gets the freight where it needs to be on time,” said C.H. Robinson’s president of North American surface transportation. “Touchless appointments liberate shippers and their receivers from that work, and because we have the largest dataset in the industry, our system is choosing a smarter appointment than our competitors can.”
The company said company internal research showed that 74 percent of shippers wanted greater automation in their supply chains. In a 2024 survey of customers, the company found that more efficient appointment scheduling is the second-largest priority for supply chains.
C.H. Robinson said is doing touchless appointments for 2,545 customers so far at more than 25,000 facilities, largely through retailers and food companies.
Among the advantages are:

  • Saving shippers time, completing touchless appointments within two minutes.
  • Offering loads to carriers faster, giving better access to freight, and netting better rates for shippers. Customers with comparable freight see an average gain in speed-to-market of 7.4 hours.
  • Saving shippers money as faster load offers and booking allows shippers to avoid paying premium for booking out-of-the-way shipments. Shippers also avoid chargebacks and fines for freight arriving too early or late or scheduled at the last minute.
    Than can “add up to more than the cost of transportation itself,” the company said in a release.
    Automating the complex processes of logistics is another frontier – which is why automation hasn’t reached appointment scheduling, said Arun Rajan, C.H. Robinson’s COO, and formally chief product officer.
    “The trucking industry has been hungry to digitize everything from load-matching to booking to real-time visibility while freight is in transit,” Rajan said.

Surface Transportation

Michal Castagnetto has been promoted to president of North American surface transportation, or NAST, for C.H. Robinson. He succeeds Mac Pinkerton who has left the company.
Castagnetto joined the company in 2005 and was most recently vice president of customer success for NAST, after serving as president of Robinson Fresh. He rejoins the senior leadership team, reporting to President and CEO Dave Bozeman.
Pinkerton has served in multiple roles with NAST since joining the company in 1997, including president.

C.H. Robinson said more than 1 billion appointments have been made through phone calls and emails each year. PHOTO: C.H. Robinson