What is an API?

APIs, or application program interfaces, work as translators between dissimilar information systems. They are embedded in almost every internet experience a user has, from processing payments to looking up hotel information for your next vacation.

What is an API
In the supply chain, two business partners with different infrastructures can participate in exchanging business documents with one another, as the API translates the information from one format or language to another.

APIs and EDI Interchange

APIs are especially helpful when dealing with the supply chain and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). EDI is an electronic format used by businesses to exchange documents electronically.

Companies can rely on blockchain API to facilitate EDI implementation, up to a certain point. They help companies implement electronic communications with partners in the supply chain, but issues can arise relating to data integrity and security.

API is delivering on the promise of interactive real-time data communication that is required for business today.  Unlike email, FTP and EDI tools, which are all “push” services, an API “pulls” the data in real time when required at the point of use.

With an API you can access any computer or data repository in the world from your system of record and not just within the static spreadsheets on your computer via v-lookup.  Companies can retrieve various metrics including inventory position, column price break, order tracking, and lead time from your suppliers in real-time and make fact-based decisions as part of your natural purchasing cycle.

Learn more: EDI, Supply Chain, and APIs: How do they work?

As millennials enter the workforce at an increasing rate, the customer behavior is also inherently changing. Younger consumers and workers expect to be easily able to access information 24/7, with the anticipation of rapid communications. Speed may be the primary decision point, and study of value in B2B commerce in the future, like Inc., argued in 2015.

When email was first introduced and became pervasive in business, if you did not have email, you were not part of the conversation. It will be the same with API in just five to ten years. If you and your organization do not have a seat at the table, you will not be a part of the commerce conversation in the future, and likely your competitors will. 

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Already this year, Orbweaver has a forward-thinking client that converted 80% of his company’s procurement to an API process. The day they activated it, the suppliers without an API could not participate and lost millions of dollars in opportunities instantly, like turning off a faucet.

In addition to being the platform of commerce in the future, API offers tremendous benefits in efficiency.  API is a machine to machine connection, computers rather than people perform the work. Data may be segmented, transmitted instantly, timely received and validated by all parties.  And data is far more secure because each API data transport is exclusive to the sender and receiver of that communication.

APIs are more affordable solutions than EDI software, as an API is a software solution that sits in and works with existing networks. An API helps to solve issues with partner integration and scalability because it can communicate with all different types of systems, translating incoming data into the enterprise format and translating exported data to the supplier preferred format.

Orbweaver Connect

Orbweaver alleviates transfer burdens and helps save time and money while presenting an affordable and flexible EDI software alternative. The only data interchange solution created specifically for the electronics component industry, Orbweaver Connect provides companies with an API that can communicate with any partner system, allowing for the streamlining of business processes throughout the supply chain.

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To learn how Orbweaver Connect can provide all the benefits of API to you and your business partners, contact Orbweaver today.