API: What Role Does it Fulfill in Your Supply Chain?
Doing business in the 21st century means you have access to more sources of information. With all that data readily available and centralized, you are able to more successfully compete in any industry.
However, sorting through all that data can be a nightmare all its own.
Enter the development of the Application Programming Interface (API) software. API software is designed to gather all the numerical data from multiple otherwise uncooperative or disparate applications. It then compiles that seemingly distanced data into easy-to-understand breakdowns of the actual current state of your entire supply chain.
As mentioned above, APIs facilitate the communication between source applications that otherwise don’t share information. This makes it easier to quickly see real-time inventory quantities and the location of goods, regardless of the system that tracks this data separately.
This can go on to benefit not only you but your customers as well by allowing them to:
- Receive more accurate delivery tracking information
- Better predict dates and times of pickups and drop-offs
- Have more transparency across the board, resulting in peace of mind during all phases of the delivery process.
Savings and Profits
Although savings and profits are usually considered as two separate realms, API platforms allow you to view them both side-by-side with greater ease.
On the one hand, having an extremely accurate overview of combined data can highlight several different types of “hidden costs”. These expenses stack up in various locations throughout your supply chain. This could come in the form of things like dead-stock that eats up storage space or underutilized trailer capacity and dead runs.
Being able to eliminate unnecessary overspending and open inventory is critical. It is made even more important as the larger global supply chain is still recovering from several recent disruptions. This is even more important considering the demand for warehouse space is at an all-time high.
Looking at both the other side of that proverbial coin and the future, there are a few ways that using an API can increase profit margins and create opportunities for further growth. This is achievable as API software can help you identify trends in item demand and quantity fluctuations over time. Being proactive with placing goods nearer to high-demand regions before an influx of orders will put you leagues above competitors and optimizing shipping routes ensures that you will be able to fulfill a larger number of orders moving forward.
Your customers will reap the benefit of greater transparency. This level of transparency allows your customers to remove any doubt they might have about the location of their order. Additionally, it better prepares them for unfortunate but sometimes unavoidable delays. All of these benefits help to further build consumer confidence and rapport which leads to potentially more repeat business.
Want to learn how Redwood’s Rating API can optimize your routing guide? Read this blog post.
API or Bust
As you can see, there are several benefits to adding API software to your supply chain management strategy. The most prominent is simply streamlining the flow of data to both your own team and the consumers by compiling and displaying information from multiple sources across various platforms in a centralized location.
The almost unlimited potential that APIs offer when it comes to adapting and innovating means that investing in one sooner rather than later puts you on the cutting edge of the most promising supply chain software.