Logistics companies are constantly under pressure to deliver newer and more competitive services. Their customers have high expectations, drawn from experiences with online services such as Amazon, regarding the information they expect, and how they expect to receive it.
As we all know, the supply chain is already under immense pressure, and providing real-time order information can prove a headache in certain areas such as in-transit and customs.
Traditionally, these information requests have been managed using Web Services and EDI, but there are issues. EDI is great for interactions that trigger business processes, such as order and purchase order transactions, or initiating returns. However, when it comes to “secondary” interactions such as “where’s my order?” using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to make those calls is faster to set up and execute than Web Services or EDI.
The major benefit of using APIs in this scenario is that as the business changes rapidly regarding what customers want, IT can respond just as quickly to provide the integration needed to deliver that information.
Effectively leveraging APIs can help logistics companies be quicker to market, beating out competitors with innovative, customer-focused solutions.
Example customer scenario: Customs delays
Imagine that you’re moving goods from the Far East to Europe for a fashion retailer. The goods you’re shipping come over as basic items, but in-season finishing (such as buttons, final tailoring etc) happens more locally to best reflect current trends.
If these goods get held up at customs, this can impact the finishing production schedule and delivery in store, all critical for availability and response to consumer buying trends.
Often the customer only knows about a customs delay after it’s happened. However, if (through APIs) you're able to supply regular alerts and updates as the goods go through various transactions, your customer is going to be much more informed and in a better position to respond to delays.
All in all, the API Economy means that initiatives can be delivered faster to market, allowing companies to maximize the opportunities for real-time information sharing more quickly for primary business advantage.
Interested in learning more about APIs and API Economy? View this complimentary ebook today.