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Robinson Nursery: Planting Roots for Shipping Success

February 5, 2024

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Robinson Nursery Plants Deep Roots for Shipping Success

Robinson Nursery—a second-generation, family-owned wholesale grower and distributor of over 200 varieties of shade and ornamental trees—understands the value of strict temperature control in the supply chain. From its home base in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, the nursery dispatches nearly 400 trucks a year with trees bound for destinations throughout the United States and Canada.

Crews begin digging up dormant trees in late October, and put them in cold storage until they are shipped in reefer trucks starting in the middle of February. Whether a full truckload of 3,200-3,400 trees worth between $50,000-$100,000 or a Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) shipment, the densely-packed plants must be kept in a temperature-controlled environment—from 30°F to 40°F—to prevent their bare roots from flash freezing.

“Temperature is important, as it can be difficult to tell when a tree has been damaged by cold.”

Josh Robinson, Co-Owner

Out on a Limb with Limited Visibility

In 2021, Robinson Nursery’s visibility solutions partner at the time was not meeting expectations. Its trackers wouldn’t always work, data was incomplete or incorrect, and information was often not delivered in real time.

This created many issues:

“Tive has been a game changer for us. Temperature is critically important for all our products, and Tive gives us full visibility into our shipments—from start to finish.”

Josh Robinson, Co-Owner

Turning Over a New Leaf with Solo 5G Trackers

After vetting several potential partners, Robinson Nursery chose Tive’s real-time visibility solution—including hyper-accurate Solo 5G trackers and the Tive cloud-based platform—for several reasons:

  • Reliable, real-time tracking: Location and temperatures are monitored throughout the journey
  • Real-time alerts: Enables Robinson to contact brokers and drivers at the first sign of a temperature excursion
  • Single-use trackers: Alleviates the headache of returns; all data is available in the Tive cloud platform in real time
  • Documents an audit trail: Assures trees were monitored and maintained at a constant temperature while in transit
  • Adaptable & flexible: Equally effective on small loads, full truckloads, and LTL shipments
“Tive gives us all the data we need to pursue where any defect or issue originated.”

Adam McClanahan, Sales

Enhanced Customer Service, Improved Communication & Greater Accountability

Some Robinson Nursery customers arrange their own trucks; sometimes, trees can be put on trucks containing products from five or six nurseries. With Solo 5G trackers on every Robinson Nursery shipment, customers can track trucks themselves using a secure link.

Improved customer service and communication are major benefits—but greater accountability is equally important. Following are two examples:

  • A reliable grower’s entire crop failed: Tive data revealed that crews unloaded the truck and left the trees in a parking lot with the temperature hovering in single digits—and all the roots flash froze.
  • Cold damage doesn’t appear immediately: A customer planted a tree that soon degraded. Tive’s data showed there was a 90-minute period in transit when the temperature in the truck dropped below 30°F.
“Our customers also have the ability to track their shipments—which is a big value-added facet that wasn't previously available. We look forward to continuing to work with Tive to further improve our supply chain operations down the road.”

Josh Robinson, Co-Owner