September 13, 2017

C.H. Robinson software suite could mitigate supply chain risk from natural disasters

Navisphere Vision platform analyzes historical data with machine learning to make proactive decisions, company says.

By DC Velocity Staff

Freight broker and third-party logistics provider (3PL) C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. said today it has launched a software package that can help users reduce the supply chain disruption caused by hurricanes and other natural disasters by using predictive analytics to make faster decisions.

The company's "Navisphere Vision" platform analyzes historical customer data with machine learning and artificial intelligence technology, then quantifies supply chain threats and automatically takes action to avoid them, Eden Prairie, Minn.-based C.H. Robinson said.

The platform helps shippers make their global supply chains more responsive by providing real-time visibility down to the stock keeping unit (SKU) level and then analyzing the impacts of potential disruptions from weather, traffic, or current events, according to the company.

The Navisphere Vision product builds on C.H. Robinson's Navisphere technology platform, a virtual network connecting the company's own employees, customers, and service providers worldwide to improve shipment visibility and business intelligence, the company says.

"The industry has seen supply chain visibility tools before, but Navisphere Vision represents the next generation," Jordan Kass, president of C.H. Robinson's TMC division, said in a statement. The TMC division offers transportation management system (TMS) software and consulting services. "Not only is it global, but Navisphere Vision goes far beyond visibility and helps our customers predict supply chain disruptions before they even occur."

Software providers have been probing for ways to apply artificial intelligence (AI) to supply chain planning in recent months, attracting increasing amounts of venture capital investment. Some of the latest entrants include vendors such as Sunnyvale, Calif.-based LevaData's market analysis and procurement tool, Mountain View, Calif.-based Aera Technology's honing of inventory levels, and San Francisco-based ClearMetal Inc.'s forecasts of cargo container movement.

"Navisphere Vision utilizes application programming interface (API) technology to aggregate all other supply chain and information sources into one single location, giving our customers the most streamlined, real-time solution available," Chad Lindbloom, chief information officer at C.H. Robinson, said in the statement. "And it brings a new level of machine learning and data science the supply chain industry hasn't seen to date."

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