Today, supply chain demand is at an all-time high, while supply chain efficiencies have plateaued. When combined with a new wave of larger tech companies pushing into the logistics sector, extreme pressure is put on supply chain executives to create more productive and flexible networks.
Execs must improve how they manage the transportation of goods by lowering costs and increasing productivity. To do that, companies need the right connectivity tissue and technology foundation in place to deliver data and information in real-time.
Here’s how Application Program Interfaces (APIs), and more specifically third party API networks, can empower supply chain executives to improve their execution.
Why APIs matter to a predictive, flexible supply chain
Over the last five years there’s been a growing interest in technologies like SaaS, big data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), according to TechCrunch. These advanced technologies are the future of the digital supply chain and APIs are the nexus of all four of those areas. In order to execute big data, IoT or AI, you must first adopt widespread API connectivity.
Why is API connectivity a must for the implementation of a digitized supply chain? A digital supply chain cannot exist without APIs because they enable a standardization of data that powers more advanced capabilities.
58% of API strategies are driven by the need to streamline and integrate new and existing software systems. APIs are a set of contracts and protocols that normalize how to build compatible software applications, databases and programs. By defining how an application can communicate with an associated program, they are the fastest way to build real-time and connected software networks.
Third-party APIs make a faster impact
Overall, across multiple industries and sectors, we have seen the approval and authority of third-party API systems rising over the past five years. There are a number of encouraging examples that illustrate the dominance of third party API ecosystems in today’s technology landscape – Stripe has raised $440M according to Crunchbase, Twilio has raised nearly $224M and Apigee was recently acquired by Google for $625M.
Third-party API ecosystems deliver more immediate, cost-effective and smarter API connectivity compared to building API networks in-house. Connecting into an already established third party API network immediately eliminates over 67% of the manual supply chain and transportation transactions required by EDI and legacy technology. Furthermore, 63% of IT decision-makers commented on how APIs significantly increase the pace of their advanced digital transformation projects.
Ultimately, connecting your supply chain faster via APIs will not only lower your transportation costs and increase your productivity, but it will fast-track your ability to implement and benefit from advanced strategies like AI, IoT and big data.
What to do in 2017
With strong digital companies like Amazon and Uber asserting themselves into the logistics space, supply chain entities must modernize how they execute in order to remain competitive and avoid shrinking margins.
The trend is clear – third party API networks empower unprecedented speed and scalability by advancing how connectivity solutions are developed and brought to market. Subscribing to an already existing network will allow companies to get to market quicker and react to ever-changing IT requirements at a lower cost.