C.H. Robinson General Manager Luke Gowdy Discusses Newly Published White Paper: “Maintain the Cold Chain: Six Supply Chain Best Practices for Temperature Sensitive Freight”

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Thu. December 4th, 2014 - by Jordan Okumura-Wright

EDEN PRAIRIE, MN - As more and more attention is focused on the complexities of the supply chain, C.H. Robinson is continuing its efforts to innovate and inform with a recently published white paper on the movement of perishable categories. “Maintain the Cold Chain: Six Supply Chain Best Practices for Temperature Sensitive Freight” provides vital insights for dealing with the inherent and intricate sensitivities in transporting perishable goods with an emphasis on fresh produce.

Luke Gowdy, General ManagerEnter Luke Gowdy, General Manager at C.H. Robinson. Luke took a few minutes to speak with me and elaborate on the company’s latest white paper, and what C.H. Robinson is doing to keep the cold chain top-of-mind.

“We are always assessing our capabilities and impact on what occurs within the supply chain, this project became a component in our efforts to keep the industry informed,” Luke tells me. “When we look at the industry as a whole and the sensitivity of transportation markets in general, we realized that we needed to address those opportunities given the risk factors in transporting fresh produce.”

C.H. Robinson is also continuing to address its own transportation dynamics, with technological advances like its Navisphere® platform. The Navisphere® platform allows users to access critical shipment information from their computers or with Apple or Android™ mobile devices. Essentially, the platform allows customers to leverage C.H. Robinson's technology investments and gain access to a centralized network of more than 100,000 supply chain partners, without the need to integrate with each provider individually.

The main issues discussed in C.H. Robinson’s latest project, cover:

  • Securing the right expertise
  • Balancing cost and technology
  • Determining capacity requirements
  • Setting clear expectations early in the process
  • Sharing responsibility when loading and unloading
  • Establishing standard operating procedures (SOPs)
  • Achieving long-term temperature controlled success

To see the full white paper, please click here.

When I asked Luke if he can elaborate on just how sensitive the supply chain is, he tells me, “First and foremost, transporting temperature sensitive cargo is high risk – It comes down to assessing where those risks lie and preparing for the possible outcomes. There are different levels of sophistication in managing the supply chain, so across the board it is incredibly important for us to get information about transportation markets and specifically about refrigerated equipment out to the public,” Luke notes. “This information helps us when communicating the many different transportation value propositions that C.H. Robinson offers, while also helping industry members enhance their relationships with other carriers or third- party logistics organizations.”

“Collaborative relationships are essential when maintaining the supply chain. Loading and unloading of perishable goods can be the most critical point in a temperature controlled supply chain. Transferring product from one set of hands to the other adds a host of risk factors to the process,” Luke notes.

Moving forward, C.H. Robinson is continuing to focus on its own collaborative relationships to improve the company’s own handle on supply chain efficiencies.

“We want to know all the possible dynamics that can factor into our customers’ supply chain from cost, to transit time, service level expectations, traceability, and impact to key stakeholders through the transportation process. Like I have emphasized before, communication is key in order to mitigate risks. The most productive relationships are those in which all parties are willing to roll up their sleeves and get into the details of creating true supply chain solutions,” Luke says.

C.H. Robinson is continuing to be an industry leader by proactively addressing not only domestic supply chain challenges, but also by expanding its international reputation as a leading 3PL provider.

Congratulations C.H. Robinson on this latest initiative as well as what’s to come.

C.H. Robinson