C.H. Robinson: How digitalisation is changing its people strategy

Digitalisation is impacting every industry - more so in the logistics. Find out how one of the biggest logistics company is keeping pace with it.
By: | January 13, 2020

With digitalisation continuing in its full swing in 2020, almost every industry is ensuring they keep up with its relentless pace. And one of the industries that will feel the biggest impact of digitalisation is none other than logistics.

C.H. Robinson is the one of world’s largest logistics company that provides transportation services and third-party logistics such as freight transportation, transportation management, brokerage and warehousing. It has more than 15,000 employees in over 300 offices globally, out of which 1,500 staff are in Asia.

And the wave of digitalisation has forced the Fortune 500 company to evolve its strategy in attracting talents amidst the challenges it brings.

John Chen, Vice President Asia, C.H. Robinson said “With digital transformation still in full swing, it is almost impossible for companies to avoid the impact of new developments. This has created a shift in hiring strategies – many companies are now looking for candidates who boast not only deep industry knowledge, but also digital skills.

David Rindt, HR director Asia, C.H. Robinson added, “According to a recent report, the demand for technology jobs in Singapore rose by 20 per cent in the last 12 months as companies strive to strengthen their digital strategy. Tech talent has indeed become a rare resource, as the demand is fast surpassing the available talent.

“The ongoing battle for talent has led C.H. Robinson to adapt our hiring targets accordingly. What we look for in new entrants are commercial skills, analytic skills, the ability to adapt to change – be it technology or process – and an appreciation for the learning culture.

“Afterall, top management cannot build an innovative and forward-thinking company alone; it must be a joint effort between the different levels within the organisation, united by the same vision,” he added.

However, it’s not just about attracting new talents, but also upskilling and reskilling their current ones as well to help them keep pace with the digital transformation in the company.

Chen said, “We continue to invest in existing staff to prepare them for the next phase of growth in the industry. C.H. Robinson employees currently benefit from cross-functional learning opportunities, internal training sessions, mentorship programmes, and access to technology.

“Upskilling/reskilling initiatives form a core pillar of our talent strategy, where we offer frequent internal training programmes to help staff develop the necessary skillsets. C.H. Robinson employees also benefit from an open and stimulating work environment that encourages cross-functional learning and collaboration.

“Digital tools – business intelligence solutions as well as operational technology – are made readily available to staff to empower them to make more intelligent decisions and focus on innovation and personal growth,” he added.

One of the biggest technology in digitalisation is Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. And the jobs that will be most affected by it are manual and repetitive ones which are prevalent in the logistics industry.

And Chen sees technology as a complement to help employees do their jobs better and more efficiently.

“The area of work that will be hit the hardest by technological disruption is work with a manual and repetitive nature. Already, we are seeing many dialogues around boosting productivity and creativity by eliminating repetitive tasks – something that automation can readily take over,” he said.

“As with every industry, we are using automation and technology to extend human capability and complement business growth. As such, we are exploring how technology can help lower-level jobs that deal with packing, sorting, and transporting – through the use of robotic solutions.”