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Touchless appointments

C.H. Robinson launches touchless appointments

Feb. 16, 2024
'Achieving touchless appointments is a big step forward for automating supply chains,' Michael Castagnetto, C.H. Robinson’s president of North American Surface Transportation, said.

Global logistics company C.H. Robinson has developed touchless technology that it said would create more freight efficiency. Touchless appointments eliminate the need to schedule appointments where the load needs to be picked up and where it needs to be delivered. Every year, over 1 billion appointments are made across the U.S. trucking industry, primarily via phone and email.

Touchless appointments are automated and can be scheduled 24/7 with no intervention. Artificial intelligence determines the optimal appointment based on transit time data from C.H. Robinson’s millions of shipments across 300,000 shipping lanes, facility data such as peak dwell time, and carriers’ most convenient time windows.

“Achieving touchless appointments is a big step forward for automating supply chains,” Michael Castagnetto, C.H. Robinson’s president of North American Surface Transportation, said. “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 that gets the freight where it needs to be on time.”

See also: C.H. Robinson doubles carrier scholarships

A touchless appointment offers three advantages: 

  • Saving time: Touchless appointments can be completed in less than two minutes. 
  • Getting freight on the road faster: Touchless appointments allow C.H. Robinson to offer a customer’s load to its carrier network faster, giving carriers better access to freight while securing better rates for the shipper. For customers with comparable freight, the average gain in speed-to-market is 7.4 hours.
  • Saving money: The faster a load is offered and booked, the more likely the shipper can avoid paying a premium for a carrier to drive out of their way. Data-informed appointments help eliminate the chargebacks and fines shippers face from their customers because of freight arriving too early, freight arriving too late, or appointments being rescheduled at the last minute.

“The trucking industry has been hungry to digitize everything from load-matching to booking to real-time visibility while freight is in transit,” said Arun Rajan, a technology pioneer who first joined C.H. Robinson as chief product officer and is now COO. “Giving people better digital tools to use is great progress; actually automating the complex processes of logistics is another frontier. That’s why automation has largely not yet reached appointment scheduling. It’s a big focus for us—in terms of driving efficiencies in our customers’ operations and our own—and we’re proud to be paving the way for the industry.”

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