Your customer requests an integration with your systems. Is that possible? The simple answer: yes! However, there are a lot more questions that need answering. For example, what data do you want to exchange with your customers? And in what way must the two systems communicate? Questions you possibly do not have an answer to. That’s normal. But there is still a lot to gain in realizing the right integration with your customers or suppliers. And with the rise of so called API’s, as a basis for communication between software applications, you have gained more possibilities as well. To help you finding your way in these technological developments, we give you a glance in the world of the API’s: the future standard for integrating your systems.
What is an API?
An API (Application Programming Interface) is an intermediary program between the system of the user and the source. This software interface makes sure two applications can communicate with each other. Though the term might be new to you, you use API’s on daily basis. When you use a webapp, when you book a flight for example, but also in your business. Almost all platforms on which you request information (or another request), and you automatically receive an answer, work with API’s these days.
API’s and other integrations work on the background. Therefore, you might feel that this top stays far away from you. But that is not completely true, since it is an API which makes sure your system has access to relevant information and processes this automatically. For example, think about automatically comparing contact details with your own data. But there are more practical uses for API’s that are closer to you.
Reduce data entry
In many cases, API’s can help you reduce your manual data entry. Think of communications with systems as Portbase, Cargonaut or Customs. You register your shipment and stock in your WMS or TMS, but you must enter this in the web portal of these authorities as well. This, you can captivate with the help of an integration. In that case the data you need in your processes are copied one on one to send your declarations.
Furthermore, integrations can transfer data almost right away, so realtime. Therefore, your customers also get a realtime answer when they wish to trace their shipment, check their inventory, or have another request for your system.
Integrations in logistics
If API’s are that common, why does it then sound that difficult? And why are these integrations projects often expensive in both time and money? Though there are standard integrations in the logistics industry, which make sharing data and information easier, a lot of specific warehouse and transport management systems are used by different companies. This is challenging when we look at integrations, because these systems are often focused on internal processes instead of sharing information with the entire supply chain.
Communicate with the DataHub
PL Solutions’ solution for this challenge is the DataHub. With the DataHub we can make a connection between two totally different systems. Therefore, you are able to have your system communicate with other companies or with your customers. Though a lot of parties bring their own API live to receive messages, you must be able to communicate with it in the right way. The DataHub offers the solution.
The end of EDI? Absolutely not!
The use of API’s is the future. Microsoft will also follow these developments, by stopping the support of certain message types. However, many logistics service providers still use EDI, and cannot coop without. And with a good reason. Because EDI is still a trustworthy and accessible way to exchange information between your system and the one of your customer or supplier. Simply state that this technology is aged, en therefore would no longer be possible to use, would close the door for doing business with big companies.
To stay able to realize these stable flows of information, it is possible to use the DataHub to transfer file types and connection protocols in the right way. That goes for both in- and outgoing messages. With the help of the DataHub, you can therefore follow technical developments, without loosing the connections with your (potential) customers.
Integrations in your organization
The use of integrations between your systems and those of your customers, suppliers and partners can save you a significant amount of time and limits the possibility of mistakes. And where you were already familiar with EDI integration, API’s can now offer you possibilities to communicate realtime with multiple systems. In both scenarios, you can realize these communications with the DataHub. Do you want to learn more about how to automize communications with your partners and suppliers? Mail to email@example.com. We are glad to help.