Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

CH Robinson targets oil and gas companies with logistics technology

Steve Rogerson
March 18, 2015
Logistics company CH Robinson is applying its proprietary Navisphere technology to the oil and gas industry. Navisphere lets companies track and manage shipments online, domestically and globally.
The Minnesota-based firm is now targeting the service at proppant manufacturers and oil and gas companies. Driving efficiencies while ensuring a continuous and ample supply of ceramic proppant, a product that is essential to many oil and gas fracking operations, is at a premium especially in the USA.
“Today’s game changer is going to be the oil and gas companies that can drive down their supply chain costs by improving efficiencies and adding visibility,” said Kent Stuart, director of oil and gas for CH Robinson. “The speed of fracking requires a nimble, global supply chain that can be up and running in a moment’s notice.”
With more than 20 years of expertise in the oil and gas industry, CH Robinson says it understands the demands and complexities of shipping proppant, and can help companies improve their global supply chains with the right combination of expertise, processes and technology.
By analysing their current supply chains and offering integrated technologies that keep the rigs pumping and proppant in good supply, the company says it can let oil and gas companies rethink how their supply chains work now, and how a more streamlined supply chain can give them a clear edge over their competitors.
“Oil prices can change dramatically and without warning,” said Chris O’Brien, chief commercial officer at CH Robinson. “To survive market fluctuations, leading oil and gas companies need to take a more strategic look at their supply chains. Success in this industry will go to businesses that are proactive with their planning.”
Transportation costs can easily account for 40 to 70 per cent of the value of the heavy, dense ceramic proppant, which can mean dramatic savings for companies that can manage their spending over time. With multiple currencies, languages, government regulations, service gaps and surging demands, global ceramic proppant manufacturers have one of the most complex supply chains in the oil and gas industry. With supply chains stretching from China, Russia and South America to remote oilfields in North America, proppant manufacturers must coordinate with an array of independent transportation suppliers, transportation providers, warehouses and transloaders, often without visibility to their freight in transit.
CH Robinson is applying its global network, standardised processes and Navisphere technology to add visibility and drive efficiencies into the ceramic proppant supply chain. By using one of the largest ocean, air and over the road carrier networks in the world, it hopes to help these companies remove time from the supply chain while creating global visibility and providing actionable business intelligence that drives continuous improvement.