SPS Commerce, Inc. and C.H. Robinson have announced a collaboration just in time to help omnichannel retail businesses navigate a busy holiday season and challenging supply chain conditions. The collaboration will make their shipping process easier, more cost-effective and faster by connecting SPS Commerce Fulfillment’s Carrier Service LTL directly into C.H. Robinson’s Navisphere platform, which unlocks access to the largest less-than-truckload (LTL) network in North America and competitive rates for more than 95,000 retail suppliers.

“For this holiday season and into 2022, transportation marketplaces are going to be constrained, which is why we are leveraging our information advantage and investing in technology that can help businesses be as automated and efficient as possible,” said Chris O’Brien, chief commercial officer at C.H. Robinson. “We are joining forces with SPS and by connecting C.H. Robinson’s LTL network to SPS Commerce’s thousands of retail suppliers, we’ll alleviate some of the stress when it comes to being able to secure LTL transportation at market-competitive prices.”

The new Carrier Service LTL solution from SPS Commerce allows suppliers to instantly view rates across multiple carriers, schedule pickups and book shipments, with automatic access to C.H. Robinson’s unmatched LTL carrier network to ensure they get the best pricing available. Additionally, as suppliers book a shipment, it automatically triggers the creation of the bill of lading documents and shipping labels and populates tracking details into the shipping notice to inform the retailer of the pending delivery. 

“This level of automation streamlines what is an otherwise resource-intensive process which requires suppliers to review and select rates across many carrier portals, book shipments, and print labels and documentation. Our partnership with C.H. Robinson makes that process easier, faster and more efficient while at the same time unlocking seamless access to C.H. Robinson’s vast carrier network without ever leaving SPS Commerce Fulfillment,” explained Jim Frome, chief operating officer at SPS Commerce. “This new collaboration benefits suppliers during a challenging time and is the type of innovation that adds significant value to our customers.”

This type of seamless connectivity will be especially helpful as companies moving their goods via LTL enter a busy retail season when securing transportation is a critical component of business success. LTL freight has increased 9.1 percent in 2021, compared to 2020 and many carriers are not accepting new business or are implementing unprecedented peak surcharges. Adding to the challenges is a truck driver shortage. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimated a pre-pandemic driver shortage of 60,800 that is expected to grow to 160,000 by 2028, which will further constrain the market. These challenges are systemic across retail, and without deploying further automation and creative tech solutions, may result in:

  • Delayed shipments that result in chargeback fees from retailers, out-of-stock positions in stores, and lost sales.
  • Increased errors that boost return rates and decrease customer satisfaction/reviews.
  • Employee burnout as data entry and other manual processes are tedious and labor-intensive.

The Carrier Service LTL solution within SPS Commerce Fulfillment is immediately available from SPS Commerce and embeds a free connection to C.H. Robinson with instant carrier options.