C.H. Robinson CEO Bob Biesterfeld said the company will make $1 billion in technology investments over the next five years as it builds on its leadership advantage in the third-party logistics industry.
The Eden Prairie-based company invested $1 billion in technology over the previous 10 years, so the new commitment doubles the company's investment pace.
C.H. Robinson employees use technology to help customers, including Fortune 500 corporations, figure out how to get products from point A to point B. That could mean changing course because of storms or finding new partners because of trade tariffs.
So state-of-the-art technology is a key to success.
"We are a platform-driven solutions company with technology built by and for supply chain experts, powered by our information advantage," Biesterfeld said in a statement. "It's when these tools are leveraged by the smartest and most relentless experts — who really understand and are committed to our customers' business — that we create extreme value in the supply chain for our clients' benefit."
Biesterfeld made the announcement Wednesday. He said the company will not only spend money on the technology itself but on employees who can best leverage it.
"It's technology plus," said Biesterfeld in an interview. "Technology, plus the expertise of our people in the field."
The technology investments will be in areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics.
Biesterfeld, who became CEO in May, said he has spent a lot of time since then in the field gathering feedback and assessing the needs of both employees and customers.
Biesterfeld said about 80% of the $1 billion investment will be assigned to innovative and new product introductions. But they will also spend money on infrastructure and new talent acquisitions.
The company will continue to build more functionality and micro services into its signature Navisphere platform and add to its core of 1,000 data scientists, engineers and developers.
The company has added 200 to 250 employees so far this year to its engineering teams, mainly at its Eden Prairie headquarters.
C.H. Robinson had $16.6 billion in revenue and $664.5 million in net income in its most recent fiscal year. Shares of C.H. Robinson closed Wednesday at $86.79, up slightly. Year to date, shares are up 1.7%.