The Importance of API in Supply Chain Management

by | Aug 2, 2021

api supply chain

The demands of the modern world and the occurrence of the biggest crisis in recent history, COVID-19, have required businesses to accelerate digital transformation efforts. The need for enterprises to function even when physical contact is limited or eliminated has become the norm. Hence, virtually everything needs to be accessible digitally. 

Everything that has happened tested how adaptable our supply chains are. At the very heart of it all, API (application programming interfaces) technology makes it possible by connecting people, businesses, and other elements within the supply chain.

There is much success in how the supply chain demonstrated flexibility even during the trying times. However, the health crisis exposed its limitations—agility and collaboration. Therefore, the ultimate goal is to build a stronger and more resilient supply chain.

API and Their Role in the Digital Supply Chain

API in supply chain management are pieces of code that function as a digital middleman among applications and digital environments. They enable access to data and functionality securely and seamlessly. In some instances API works as an interpreter within the supply chain. For example, if a customer places an order for “size 9 black and white rubber shoes,” the API knows how to execute this. API can interpret the data supplied to them to guarantee that the correct order is placed.

An API might look like a simple connection becomes very important at scale. With API in supply chain management, businesses can streamline order processing. Additionally, without the need for complex correspondence which can get lost through hundreds or thousands of emails.

What Are the Benefits of Using API in the Supply Chain?

APIs offer a tremendous amount of value outside of just streamlining communication among different elements within the supply chain. Just a few of the possibilities include:<

  • Meeting the needs of customers
  • Helping a business grow and scale rapidly
  • Innovating business models
  • Optimizing capital allocations
  • Reducing costs
  • Avoiding liabilities
  • Improving upgrade processes

For APIs to provide these things, they must be appropriately managed. It is essential that businesses employ a procedure that secures, controls, and maintains APIs systematically and strategically. Upgrades should be prioritized so that APIs are up-to-date. 

Solving API Challenges in the Supply Chain Management

As the world continues to go digital, every entity in the supply chain will require digital information. The biggest challenge that APIs address is how to tie everything together into actionable information. There are many different supply chain applications—order management systems, warehouse management systems, tracking systems, payment systems, mapping systems, weather systems, and more—making sharing intelligence a lot more complicated. APIs make all of this possible.

At present, there are hundreds of thousands of publicly available APIs in many different programming languages. Gartner estimates that APIs perform up to 25% of B2B interactions, and it is increasing rapidly. API in Supply Chain Management is essential in securing the future of your business.

Businesses of any size, even small mom-and-pop stores, have digital supply chains that rely on APIs. Providers design, implement and manage APIs. Organizations use APIs in their web and mobile apps, server UIs, and IoT-enabled devices. Other entities in the supply chain act as both—implementing APIs and connecting enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems with other businesses. 

APIs may be invisible from end-users since they communicate from one device/program to another, but companies expect them to make processes smooth between businesses. However, since APIs are still at the nascent stage, there is no standard for creating APIs; completing API integrations among companies is trickier.

When it comes to API integration, the biggest concern is determining who will fix it if something gets broken. Integrations are not static. Upgrades are inevitable. Businesses expect APIs to handle the continuously changing scenarios with integrations. Therefore, it is imperative to have a trustworthy API partner.

Profound API is the fastest way to unlock your IBM i data & business logic to build APIs with easy-to-use, low-code/no-code solutions. Contact us at sales@profoundlogic.com or call us at 1-877-224-7768 to get started.

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