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Effective supply chain management relies on connected infrastructure, logistics, and business ecosystems. And an application programming interface (API) is the glue that connects them all.
Through supply chain API integration, which goes hand in hand with an EDI, logistics professionals gain a single point of access to an array of data, applications, vendors, and systems that sync operations and improve supply chain agility.
How Does API Integration Help My Business?
Effective, custom-made API gets systems and software communicating, even across companies, making information exchange easy and immediately.
Think of API integration like the outer layer of your software. These integrations take all the essential operational data from disparate applications -- invoices, purchase orders, tracking information, etc. -- and delivers it to the appropriate systems, without the burden of system architecture muddying the waters. It’s a major advantage to your company's overall logistics operations and visibility. Here’s why that’s a good thing...
API Integration Enables Faster Transactions
A supply chain API makes different systems "play nice" with one another. Through API integration, backend systems communicate automatically with one another, sending information in a fraction of a second. Because transactions are carried out automatically between systems without the need for human interaction, APIs makes your business run smoothly and efficiently.
APIs Require Fewer Manual Inputs
API integration requires little human interaction once they’re properly configured. All requests, functions, and transactions are carried out between coordinating, networked systems.
For example, if company A is running low on materials, an API can automatically send a request to company B, proactively replenishing supplies and keeping the supply chain moving without wasting precious labour hours.
Greater Visibility Over Transactions and Operations
Supply chain API integration gives you a clear window into the cross-business functionality of your systems. This allows a greater level of oversight and transparency regarding your supply chain processes -- and that means you can identify inefficiencies in your supply chain and improve them.
How to Set Up a Supply Chain API
Updating your logistics processes has become a necessity given the current market. It's the only way to maintain parity with the competition. But what are the elements of good API integration? Setting up supply chain API includes six major steps:
- Understanding the key data you need to transfer
- Developing awareness of the rules and regulatory compliance for your industry
- Designing an API that both "pushes" and "pulls" information between systems
- Programming the ability to translate data into each system's format
- Implementing a method to test for high-quality, robust integration
- Formally launching your supply chain API
How Long Does an API Integration Take?
Sure, supply chain API integration can make your company leaner and meaner. But what’s the time frame for implementation? And will an operational shift be a disruption to my existing operation?
Depending upon the coder's level of experience and the complexity of the API integration, set up can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of weeks.
But API integration doesn't have to be an overly complex, time-consuming, or disruptive process. Crossfire's API solutions are fully managed, meaning we take care of everything from set up and configuration to monitoring your integration. This way, you can rest assured that your integration will always work as intended. Chances are, we’ve done a similar integration so we can get you set up in no time at all.
How Much Does an API Integration Cost?
API integration brings your logistics or 3PL company operations into the digital age. Supply chain APIs can keep your costs in check, streamline your business processes, and give you parity with your competition. The only remaining question is: what will API integration cost me?
The true cost is dependent on the size and scope of your operations and the systems involved. Creating and maintaining a custom supply chain API solution can be costly and time-consuming.
Crossfire can help you determine the true API integration costs for your business. For more information about our integration solutions, reach out to Crossfire.