SOA Integration can Streamline Your Logistics Processes
In the never-ending challenge to discover more flexible methods to handle supply chain management tasks, a relative newcomer has recently entered the logistics space; Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).
SOA has its roots in distributed computing, or rather, the processing of a single application across a network of computer systems.
The flexibility and scalability of SOA make it perfect for supply chains looking to take their operations to the next level.
But what exactly is service-oriented architecture? How does it benefit those supply chain operations? More importantly, is this just a new flash in the pan solution until the next best thing arrives?
What is Service-Oriented Architecture?
SOA or service-oriented architecture is an application that is spread over multiple computer systems.
For example, let’s say that one of your applications is focused on order taking needs to access your inventory list to ensure you have enough of said product to fulfill the order. The only problem here is that the managed inventory list is hosted by a different application. So, in order to fulfill the order, the first application must have some way to access the second application.
The SOA platform allows these two independent systems to communicate with one another more seamlessly. In a way, it smooths out and streamlines the connectivity that an API establishes.
Implementation of SOA with Supply Chain Solutions
One of the best attributes of SOA integration is its flexibility. Unlike other platforms or SaaS solutions, it does not require significant enterprise implementation. It is evolved on a per-module, per-service, or per-application basis.
This permits a supply chain business to create a roadmap of the individual apps, modules, or services they use and determine if it needs or could benefit from an upgraded SOA model. As such, you can swap over to SOA integration on a gradual basis – which is where scalability comes into play.
However, SOA integration can likewise be completed on a wholesale swap-over basis as well. You can also work with SOA developers to construct new services, apps, and modules built on this platform.
Most supply chain managers choose between Oracle or Microsoft platforms for SOA integration.
What are the Benefits of SOA Integration?
We mentioned a few of the benefits above. However, for the supply chain industry, there are others that are specific to this business type.
Provides the flexibility to scale as the business grows
Supply chain businesses often go through peaks of volume – mainly based on seasonal sales. A business can upgrade specific applications on an individual basis as additional revenue is generated during those peak seasons – as opposed to having to go ‘all in’ – which costs more upfront capital.
Enables scaling of Integration
Likewise, the SOA integration gives logistics and supply chain entities more scalability – with regards to cross-platform or cross-vendor solutions. For example, your TMS that is connected to multiple carriers can be upgraded to SOA as other carriers evolve.
Can be done on a gradual basis
SOA integration is completed as you feel comfortable. You can start with individual applications, specific groups or suites, or complete a full-system enhancement. This permits you to make changes based on your business operations – without compromising your ability to serve customers.
Who Benefits Most from SOA Integration?
In a word – everybody. Small supply chain organizations and companies can upgrade slowly and per application. Likewise, medium-sized to large supply chain businesses can likewise enhance their networks to SOA based on criteria important to them.
The best way to determine if SOA integration is right for your supply chain business is to consult with a professional third-party logistics company – like Redwood Logistics.
If you’d like to explore the benefits and attributes that SOA integration offers supply chain organizations, contact Redwood Logistics today.