The Data Science Revolution

By Tim Gagnon, Vice President of Analytics & Data Science, C.H. Robinson & Head of Robinson Labs

Tim Gagnon, Vice President of Analytics & Data Science, C.H. Robinson & Head of Robinson Labs

Data science has changed how our world operates. From machine learning and AI to predictive analytics, our capacity to shape data into real world results for people and business is one of the defining technology touchstones of our time. And with the constant collection of more and more data, industries are grappling with how to leverage that data toadvance their business goals.

This holds true in the logistics industry, and it’s no surprise why. In our industry, we are able to collect countless data points every day from all corners of the world on land, sea and in the air. We’re fortunate to have the most comprehensivedata set in the industry, but it’s not delivering value until we do something actionable with it. In order to make a real difference for shippers and carriers—and ultimately, consumers—we have to translate our information advantage into better outcomes.

And that’s where innovation comes in. Understanding how to utilize data, science, and technology to create solutions that improve savings, reliability, and visibility. To do that, we dedicate resources and time to test and incubate the most promising ideas, with the ultimate goal of scaling them across not just one company or organization, but the entire industry.

In my 20 years at C.H. Robinson, I have had the opportunity to be an active part of the growth and evolution of logistics, and for so many of us, there could not be a more exciting time to be in our industry. My team and I have been hard at work to bridge the gap between data and actionable results, embracing ideas and technologies that are revolutionizing solutions for our customers.

This has led us to recently launching C.H. Robinson® Labs™, an innovation incubator where we create, test, and scale the next big ideas in logistics and supply chain to drive smarter solutions for customers and carriers. I’m pleased to report that Robinson Labs is already delivering results, and,for me, continues to confirm what so many of us have known for years: the most impactful innovation comes when we continue to collaborate.

Robinson Labs works closely with C.H. Robinson’s technology team of more than 1,000 data scientists, engineers and developers, and I have no doubt that the success we’re seeing is due to our cross-functional teams. We’ve been building new solutions for our customers’ toughest challenges, driving more efficient business opportunities for carriers, and developing internal processes that make employees more successful. They’re taking what they’ve learned through collaboration and experimentation and are scaling it across C.H. Robinson to drive smarter solutions.

And this collaborative culture extends to our customers. In fact, our teams work so closely with our customers that they are often embedded directly into their organizations, creating personalized solutions in real time. This has led to effective AI solutions in pricing, tender acceptance, freight matching, and visibility services, all rooted in data science. And we’re just getting started.

New technologies may get the headlines, but the data science revolution is not possible without people—teams of people bringing forward their ideas and expertise, dedicating themselves to innovation through collaboration. It’s the only way to turn all of the data and technologies available across the industry into better outcomes for customers. That’s a revolution we can all get behind.

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