The Importance of API/EDI Systems in the Supply Chain

Imagine being able to follow every step of your sold items during shipping and handling, and not just you but your customer too. It’s called visibility. In managing your logistics operations, your 3PL partner offers you an automated connection which is considered a crucial and most effective component of successful communication. Being able to rely on API or EDI software and exchange updates on your operations creates mutual interest between all parties included in the logistics process.

API and EDI are software specialized in data transmitting across the supply chain platform. They play an essential role in B2B integration systems, especially in including external factors as trading partners in e-commerce. Their functioning methods are different, but the goal is one- receiving and sending data to more than one recipient for accurate operational processes. Understanding these differences and similarities will help you determine what software solution suits best for your business. Today, to help you with the process, we will analyze API and EDI features and how your 3PL partnership can deliver optimum results for your business.

What is EDI, and how does it work?

EDI or Electronic Data Interchange is a platform that unites the businesses in a supply chain under one operating system and allows them to exchange standardized documents. It is the most popular technology on the market. The amount of data is immense between retailers, suppliers, and logisticians, and this systematic integration allows fast and secure connection and availability for all parties included. It requires minimal human intervention in processing, and it transmits system to system and uses batch formats to deliver the material.

3PL companies use EDI to process mass data and build up a highly standardized operation to reduce your costs, improve accuracy and lead time and perform high-security measurements that help to improve your business. Most of the 3PL companies on the market offer business a customized EDI platform based on your company preferences. By partnering with a 3PL provider, you can optimize order-to-cash and procure-to-pay processes and improve cash flow. Moreover, you will be able to hit key performance indicators essential in shipping and logistics operations. By analyzing the accrued data from the software, your 3PL partner give you reports on where and what should be improved for a successful business.

But wait! What about API?

API or Application Programming Interface is a platform that allows cloud-based interchange between applications with different code and designs. To simplify, API is an interface that helps 3PL companies interact with the distributors and customers through a computer program. It is modern and simplifies daily logistics tasks by offering real-time operation. It is newer but can support future technology compatibility. It does not demand any manual input and can fast process data accumulation so that it gets popular on the market. The two-way connection improves transparency and optimizes visibility in operations. The importance of these features is that your 3PL partner has a lightning-fast connection to your resources, resolving issues without further delay. Immediate information exchange is also vital for tracking packages, proof of delivery forms and permits, automated billing, accurate rates, etc.

A perfect example of using API in logistics is sending freight quote requests to multiple carriers and receiving speedy feedback of estimates simultaneously. With the usage of API, 3PL companies effectively connect with shippers and carriers essential for transporting the freight. Your 3PL provider will help your business cut delivery time, increase customer satisfaction, and have instant access to real-time tracking by API. Because of its speed, logistics specialists can optimize your operational priorities and perform effective management.

EDI and API on the same platform 

3PL providers can offer both EDI and API integration on the same platform. Both interfaces smoothly complement each other in the operational processes and create real-time and file batch sharing as an integration strategy. API offer communication flexibility, and EDI provides securing and governing data flows that better execute the challenges of a modern supply chain. They are both considered critical and integral parts of an organization. A reliable 3PL business with a stable B2B integration strategy of API and EDI can successfully organize and coordinate the data flow between you and your customers.

Final thoughts 

Choosing a 3PL partner with a convenient data exchange method is crucial for your business. The increased popularity of e-commerce demands improved logistics services and automation. The innovative features of API make it essential for web synchronizing and faster services, while EDI is safe and standardized, making it much easier when you connect with a new customer. They both offer clear communication, which is essential to the management process in the supply chain network. Choosing a 3PL provider that can offer you a carefully tailored business management platform is necessary to boost your competitiveness and put you at an advantage in accomplishing your business goals.