Industries of all kinds are making use of new technologies at a rapid pace. They need the right back-end features to support their functions, and API supply chain solutions are a prime example. Application programming interfaces (APIs) are an approach that satisfies the need for communication and integration across supply chain systems.
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in the Supply Chain
API supply chain management (SCM) provides a solution for the complexity found in modern supply chain solutions. There is an extensive range of unique hardware, software, systems, and equipment in place. APIs make it possible for those disparate elements to work together effectively.
APIs establish protocols for how these elements interact with each other. They ensure that data and instructions sent to and from each system are prepared in a format that the others can understand. Effective APIs let organizations take advantage of all available resources, no matter what specific platform they use.
Organizations rely on APIs not only for continuity across internal systems but with those of their customers and suppliers as well. Order management for products and raw materials, invoicing, transportation coordination, and more functions use APIs to facilitate fast and accurate automated communication between partners.
Overall, API in supply chain management serves as a fundamental component of digital transformation. The right API implementation lets supply chain executives ensure compatibility, scalability, and resiliency in their technical solutions.
API vs. EDI: What’s the Difference?
Both APIs and EDIs are essential parts of how modern businesses communicate with each other. However, their specific applications and the benefits they offer are very different.
Electronic data interchanges (EDIs) have been around for decades, providing a standardized protocol for businesses to transfer large amounts of data. Companies can send and receive invoices, orders, and other documents in a standardized format.
EDIs provide ease of use and are highly accessible due to their widespread adoption. Businesses also rely on EDIs for their security, as the connection between the two parties is private and secure. However, there are some applications where EDIs simply aren’t suitable.
APIs are a much more flexible solution. They establish real-time communications between a wide range of different systems, opening the door to many more potential applications. They provide improved speed and ensure seamless connectivity for both current and future technology.
The Value That API Technology Delivers in SCM
The flexibility, speed, and efficiency of API supply chain solutions provide significant value for businesses that implement them effectively. Organizations can use APIs to achieve substantial improvements in these critical areas.
Real-Time Data Access and Exchange
One of the primary benefits of API in supply chain management compared to EDI is that the technology works in real time. Instead of something like sending and receiving mailed documents digitally, APIs achieve continuous connections that let different systems always know the status of other systems.
Having access to real-time data from both internal and partner systems allows for improved supply chain visibility. API implementation can allow an overall supply chain management solution to maintain constant awareness of raw material and inventory levels, providing alerts as needed to avoid shortages and delays.
Real-time data exchange also enables faster communication with customers and suppliers. APIs let different systems work together effectively, allowing organizations to automate processes such as order management, invoicing, and more.
Optimized Capital Allocation
Supply chain management entails both day-to-day operations and overall strategy development. Ensuring optimized capital allocation is one element of overall strategy, and the improved supply chain visibility that comes with supply chain APIs can help achieve it.
Supply chain managers need a way to know where capital is tied up in inventory and the impact that it has. APIs provide an essential link between asset-tracking hardware, inventory systems, and overall supply chain management solutions.
They also provide a key interface with external resources that provide greater insight. Integration with customer and supplier systems makes it possible to gauge demand and develop more effective pricing strategies. APIs that draw from other sources, such as public market data, can improve the versatility of current solutions.
Increased Supply Chain Efficiency
API implementation improves supply chain efficiency on multiple fronts. Enabling direct communications between systems already has a considerable impact, as it cuts out manual processes. Instead of having orders come in and be manually processed by an employee from one system to another, APIs fully automate the process.
The wealth of data that APIs offer enables efficiency improvements in other areas as well. Communications with asset tracking and transportation management systems provide a more comprehensive overview of shipping. Organizations can identify inefficiencies and address delays before they happen.
The synergy between ordering, inventory, and production systems also enables greater efficiency. With APIs enabling continuous communication, these systems are always up-to-date on the status of the others, letting organizations adjust to meet demand more quickly.
An Overall Improvement in Business Performance
API supply chain solutions deliver incredible benefits in inventory, procurement, and transportation. However, they also help improve operations across the entire organization. APIs make it possible for all business processes to work together effectively.
The right API implementation lets other departments benefit from supply chain management data and vice-versa. Easy access to real-time inventory and distribution data enables sales and customer service to handle interactions with customers more effectively.
The integration that APIs offer also ensures that stakeholders at every level of the organization have the data they need to make effective decisions. Businesses can avoid information silos and inefficient communications, improving efficiency and accuracy across the board.
Discover the True Value of API Supply Chain Integrations
The right API supply chain solution can enable your organization to streamline processes and make the most of all available resources. You can ensure continuity across your internal systems, along with those of your customers and suppliers.
Surgere provides comprehensive solutions for needs across your entire supply chain. That includes our robust API toolkit that allows for seamless continuity across all of your internal systems.
Make the most of supply chain API capabilities with a custom solution that meets all of your needs for digital supply chain hardware and software. Reach out to Surgere today to see what our team can do for your operations.