Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

CH Robinson upgrades technology for small businesses

Steve Rogerson
August 11, 2020

US logistics provider CH Robinson has announced technology enhancements that deliver digital transformation to small business shippers.
Enhancements to its Freightquote self-shipping tool can automate and simplify the shipping experience for small business owners while providing instant shipping options and real-time visibility to track shipments across all modes.
Small business owners have already reported saving half the time and cost when booking their shipping through Freightquote. From a single online portal, they have access to more shipping options for everything from a single package to a full truckload. These additional shipping options provide flexibility for B2B small businesses focused on ecommerce as they face increased pressure to fulfil growing online orders.
The self-service shipping tool automatically provides enhancements such as terminal pick-up and drop-off to reduce costs. An interactive map helps avoid additional charges. And there is an option to hire a Tasker through a partnership with online and mobile task platform TaskRabbit.
Taskers are independent contractors that offer their services via the TaskRabbit platform to assist small businesses in ensuring that shipments are ready for pick-up. This is TaskRabbit’s first integration with a shipping partner in the B2B market. By ensuring that shipments are packaged correctly for transportation, small business owners avoid the risk of losing time and money from damaged goods or a rejected pick-up that was not properly prepared.
“We designed Freightquote with easy-to-use technology, and are pleased that we are now unlocking even more automated opportunities to meet the shipping needs of our small business customers,” said Mac Pinkerton, president of CH Robinson’s North American surface transportation division. “We know that many small business owners today face unprecedented challenges. That is why we built these new digital enhancements using our unmatched scale, information advantage and technology built by supply chain experts to make it easier than ever to meet their unique shipping needs today and in the future.”
The TaskRabbit partnership allows shippers to hire a Tasker to package or palletise shipments, and book a Tasker to move shipments to a convenient location for carrier pick-up and to help with moving and unpacking shipments.
“We saw a real opportunity to drive value for small businesses through our partnership with CH Robinson,” said Diana Rothschild, director of strategic partnerships at TaskRabbit. “We’re thrilled that they are our first shipping partner and look forward to working together to maximise TaskRabbit’s capabilities for small businesses as we continue to grow our services in the B2B space.”
In addition to the partnership with TaskRabbit, CH Robinson has added other features to support small businesses.
Since its introduction, Freightquote has allowed shippers to book less than truckload (LTL) or truckload freight. Now, with the addition of small parcel shipping and temperature-control shipping, small businesses have a full spectrum of digitally driven shipping options, including the ability to:

  • Compare small parcel and LTL rates side by side and book the best option with one click;
  • Access cost-effective options for shipping packages under 68kg, which can be instantaneously priced and booked within the tool; and
  • Leverage temperature-control truckload options and get instant quotes for shipping fresh produce, flowers and other goods sensitive to climate conditions.
Small business shippers can select the option to pick-up or drop-off their LTL shipments within an online portal that provides real-time insights on the most cost-effective and geographically-favourable terminal locations.
A location service enhancement can save small businesses time and money by pre-emptively confirming carrier service to an area as residential or commercial, in addition to reducing the chances of a surprise service issue or additional charges while the shipment is in transit. And with an interactive map feature, users can quickly view a satellite image and validate their location.
TaskRabbit is an online and mobile task platform that connects people with Taskers to handle everyday home to-dos such as furniture assembly, handy work and moving help. Acquired by Ingka Group in 2017, TaskRabbit operates in more than 70 major metropolitan markets across the USA, UK, Canada, France, Germany and Spain, and is headquartered in San Francisco.