C.H. Robinson Introduces Navisphere® Technology to Help Retailers During the Holiday Season
EDEN PRAIRIE, MN - Global logistics company C.H. Robinson is bringing supply chain expertise and technology to the aid of grocery retailers facing unprecedented demand and consumer change during one of the busiest food shopping seasons of the year. With an analysis of USDA data projecting a $250 billion annual shift to food at home spend, and an FMI report showing a 300 percent jump in online grocery sales, food retailers are contending with new challenges during an already busy holiday season.
“This will be one of the most challenging and unpredictable shopping seasons our generation has seen, which means food retailers need supply chain agility to help them react in real-time to changes in demand,” said Michael Castagnetto, President, Robinson Fresh, the fresh produce division of C.H. Robinson. “To meet shoppers’ expectations, inventory now needs to be replenishable in a matter of hours—not days or weeks—which is why we are delivering insights and solutions that provide greater flexibility and visibility, from product origination to store shelf or digital cart.”
As a key service provider to 50 of the top 75 grocery retailers in the United States and 90 percent of the top ten, C.H. Robinson’s specialized food retail logistics offerings are leveraging technology built by and for supply-chain experts, a global suite of services and new research on grocery shopping trends to help retailers adapt and execute against the changing needs of its customers and the market.
Through its single, global, multimodal platform Navisphere®, C.H. Robinson has been helping grocery retailers accommodate demand surges, tight transportation markets, and ongoing uncertainty since the outbreak of the pandemic. Now, it is applying that same agility heading into the holidays, leveraging Navisphere to give retailers connectivity to inventory management services enabling quick order adjustments, access to industry-leading retail consolidation services, and integration with multimodal transportation solutions with direct-to-store delivery.
With 10 million square feet under refrigeration, 7.5 million square feet of dry warehouse, six managed service centers, and 175 different distribution centers across North America, the combination of localized warehousing at scale connected to multimodal transportation options allows for a streamlined process down to the SKU level and gives retailers unmatched flexibility to meet consumers’ ever-changing demands. Additionally, if store shelves do sell out, C.H. Robinson supports retailers by providing fresh products as needed to ensure that consumers can have that perfect pumpkin pie for their holiday.
“Retailers rely on us to help get the products shoppers want in stock, especially now,” added Castagnetto. “We are honored to work with leading retailers to supply the product they need, as well as provide the expertise and scale to help them quickly adapt during an unpredictable holiday season where food is at the heart of so many traditions.”
This next-level agility is not a short-term need. A customer research study on changing grocery shopper habits, led by C.H. Robinson’s Robinson Fresh team, revealed some of the biggest change-drivers in retail are here to stay, including that 70 percent of shoppers plan to continue these changed habits of online shopping beyond the pandemic. Additionally, it showed 48 percent of shoppers prefer online shopping with delivery above curbside or in-store pickup, presenting a greater need to further integrate online and brick-and-mortar supply chains.
The perishable foods sector of food retail has seen the largest shift to online purchasing, with the study revealing 54 percent of consumers are buying fresh produce online for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Heading into the holidays, the sudden increase in online orders is further complicated by the CDC’s recommendation for smaller Thanksgiving gatherings, which will make inventory needs even harder to predict. This is on top of historically tight transportation and warehouse capacity, making available space for goods hard to come by, especially on short notice.
“Speed to shelf, retail acceptance rate, and having inventory in the right locations are all heightened challenges this year, especially as capacity is tight even several weeks ahead of the holidays. And, perishable products like pumpkins, cranberries, and proteins such as poultry and other meat are always more difficult because you are working against the clock to ensure the product gets to the consumer while it’s still fresh,” said Mark Petersen, Vice President, North American Surface Transportation, C.H. Robinson. “We are laser focused on solving customers’ toughest supply chain challenges and delivering smarter solutions that help our shippers increase efficiency, reliability, and gain a competitive edge, even in the most unpredictable of times.”