Multitasking is vital for any business but it is a must-have operational philosophy in logistics.
The process of manufacturing products, moving them through the supply chain and eventually to the end-user through retailers is time-consuming. More than that, it can oftentimes be highly inefficient.
However, as technology improves, we have the ability to streamline the entire process of moving freight. We can now receive multiple quotes and estimates from several carriers at the same time. This is only possible with shipping APIs.
For those unfamiliar, an API is an Application Program Interface. This type of platform allows two individual applications to share information and transfer it to a single, easy to access interface. The API is a tool used by software developers to allow them to customize solutions that are easier and more robust for their customers. It justs so happens that they also help to resolve problems inherent in the logistics industry.
Within the supply chain, the main ‘pain point’ that shipping API’s resolve is simplifying the task of routing freight.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at a few facts about shipping APIs such as how they are used, and the top benefits they offer.
How are Shipping APIs Used in Logistics?
Most shippers work with several carriers for the same mode of transportation.
For example, if they ship express parcel packages across the USA, they’ll likely use FedEx, UPS, DHL, and USPS from time to time. About a decade ago, if a shipper wanted to route a movement with FedEx, their only option was to do so via their website.
Shipping APIs put an end to that, however. Now, shippers don't have to go directly to the carrier's website. No longer do they have to be locked into only one option laid out before them!
Instead, shipping APIs allow shippers to connect to multiple carriers through just a single platform. By doing so, the shipper can see what other options are available to them and make sure that they are getting the best service possible for their needs.
Of course, these APIs serve more than just one purpose, though.
Let's take a look at some of the ways shipping APIs help logistics companies...
How Do Shipping APIs Help Logistics Companies?
When implemented correctly, a shipping API offers supply chain operators multiple benefits including the following.
Simplifies the Shipping Process
It’s frustrating and time-consuming to toggle from one shipping portal to another, especially when you have dozens or more individual packages going to customers across the globe each day. A well-constructed shipping API helps a shipper interface with multiple carriers, in different modes of transportation, which streamlines and simplifies the overall shipping process.
The single dashboard configuration permits shippers to customize the platform to their individual shipping needs. For example, if an e-commerce fulfillment center mainly deals in express parcel delivery, the API can be simplified to connect with a certain group of pre-qualified or negotiated carriers. If they have negotiated good rates with UPS and FedEx only, those two will be connected through the API, which again, makes shipping simplified.
Reduces Shipping Errors
A good API allows a shipper to connect their order entry software and the shipping platform into a single dashboard. From the platform, the shipper can auto-populate the customer contact information including phone numbers, addresses, and shipping availability. That information can then be used to find the right shipping mode, and the company best suited for the movement.
It reduces mistakes with missed delivery attempts, ensures accurate billing, and verifies that the shipment is moved to comply with security or regulatory procedures.
Real-Time Shipping Rates
The Shipping API integration likewise provides flexibility to the shipping company to download and access real-time, and up to the minute shipping rates and carrier availability. This permits them to select the best shipping carrier for their budget, commitment level, and customer preferences.
Improved Address Validation
The modern shipping API also permits shippers to verify the addresses of customer deliveries. This helps reduce address change or delivery reattempt surcharges that plague the industry and cut into shipping profit margins. Likewise, this service helps to improve the customer service process.
A major component to enhancing the customer experience is ensuring they are updated on any changes to the shipment. This includes any shipping delays, service disruptions, or updates on expected deliveries. The notifications can be automatically sent to the customer's email, text messaging, or automated phone calls on some platforms.
Shipping APIs are crucial to improving the process of routing, sending, and confirming delivery of customers packages. They are a must-have inclusion for today’s online shippers who send multiple packages to customers every day.