Skip to Main Content

Human-centered tech optimization and automation with Optym’s Chris Torrence

Modern Industrialist Podcast

Access the full episode

The episode:

Transportation is a uniquely physical business– it’s not going to be taken over by AI any time soon. But that doesn’t mean that AI or other tech innovations can’t be genuinely helpful for workers and management. Today, Chris Torrence, Chief Strategy Officer from Optym joins us to talk about how tech automation and optimization should work.

We have a great conversation about how tech shouldn’t be an additional burden on operators. And, it’s not a fix for a broken process. The point of tech innovation for companies is to make everyone’s lives easier, freeing up more time to address root problems and then “go win more freight.”

In order for tech to do this, it has to be chosen and implemented in a collaborative manner. We talk about how mid-management and operators need to be brought in for their input, buy-in, and feedback. Departmental silos have to come down. Change needs to be incremental, with a focus on sustainable implementation.

We had a great conversation with Chris, including chatting about how his time in the Air Force shaped how he approaches things.

Plus, stay tuned for our end segment on the prototyping and experimentation TXI has been doing with the new Apple Vision Pro spatial computing device.


The podcast:

Presented by TXI, The Modern Industrialist Podcast is for technology-focused manufacturing and logistics leaders looking to gain a competitive edge with Industry 4.0 transformation. Join our host Jason Hehman as he brings together experts from companies blazing the path for the IIoT revolution. Topics range from advice to success stories, use cases, solutions, and more.

The expert:

Chris Torrence is the Chief Strategy Officer at Optym, a planning, scheduling, and routing software company. He got his start as a Logistics Readiness NCO in the United States Air Force. Since then, Chris has built a 20-year career in logistics. His specialties are dynamic logistics, transportation, freight tech, and broader supply chain solutions (SaaS). Chris prioritizes being an advocate and trusted advisor for his clients.

Podcast Host: Jason Hehman, Industry 4.0 Vertical Lead and Client Partner at TXI

Co-host: Patrick Turley, Head of Engineering at TXI

Guest: Chris Torrence, Chief Strategy Officer, Optym

Book a meeting with Jason

Summary and themes explored in this episode:


  • Chris Torrance, with a rich background in logistics and transportation, is introduced as the Chief Strategy Officer at Optum.

  • Optum specializes in optimizing transportation operations through innovative solutions.

  • Chris's experience includes roles at CH Robinson, Uber Freight, and involvement with industry associations and MIT's Center for Transportation and Logistics.

Discussion Highlights:

  • Chris emphasizes the role of customer advocacy in ensuring that technological innovations at Optum meet the practical needs of operators.

  • The importance of aligning technology solutions with the digital transformation stage of a company is discussed.

  • Opportunities to automate mundane tasks and augment workers' capabilities in industrial and logistics settings are explored.

  • The episode delves into how technology can enhance productivity and job satisfaction.

Chris’s Insights on Industry Evolution:

  • The conversation covers the evolution of various transportation modes, including trucking, trains, and airlines.

  • Chris discusses the adoption differences and challenges across these sectors, particularly focusing on the practical applications of AI.

  • He emphasizes a realistic approach to technology adoption, focusing on incremental improvements and real-world applications.

Optum’s Role and Innovations:

  • Chris explains Optum’s strategy in developing custom technology solutions for different transportation modes, starting with its early work in rail and airlines.

  • The discussion includes how Optum’s technology has evolved to address more complex logistical challenges, particularly in trucking.

Key Takeaways and Conclusion:

  • The episode concludes with reflections on the necessity of technology in modernizing operations and improving efficiencies.

  • Chris and the hosts discuss the broader impact of these technologies on the transportation industry and the potential for future advancements.

Produced by NOVA Media

Published by Jason Hehman , Patrick Turley in podcasts

Let’s start a conversation

Let's shape your insights into experience-led data products together.