The supply chain industry moves fast and deals with a lot of data. These can be challenging, especially when trying to get real-time updates. For Wayne Ellis, Vice President of Supply Chain North America Operations for SVI, the answer is mounting an application programming interface (API)! Listen to our podcast to learn more about API, its benefits to supply chain management, and many more!
Key Benefits of Utilizing API
According to Ellis, "There's a severe global shortage of many electronic components today." The API addresses one of their main concerns in finding available inventory in the market and providing access to real-time information from suppliers. It enables Ellis and his team to review stock availability and pricing effortlessly.
In general, by utilizing API, SVI's system can process a large amount of data to communicate with suppliers readily. It gives them stock visibility, pricing comparison, and direct purchase orders with key suppliers with less or no human involvement. The goal is to reduce the overall workload by at least 50% and minimize turnaround time.
Aside from automation, Ellis also stressed that their API project allowed them to improve and provide a better customer experience. The API made it possible to quickly turn around quotes for customers, reduce paperwork, and enhance collaboration with suppliers.
“This should reduce our workload by at least 50% for the parts on the program. Imagine the benefits involved with minimizing phone calls, emails, and spreadsheets.”
VP of Supply Chain North America Operations, SVI
Simple Tips on Mounting an API Project
There's no doubt that there are many benefits you can gain from an API. Mounting one might not be a simple task, but Ellis has shared some valuable tips on making this less daunting for you and your team.
Tip 1: Break tasks into smaller ones
It's best to break down the project into smaller deliverable pieces. It can help you focus and prioritize more essential components of the project.
Tip 2: Set and manage expectations
For every deliverable, you should set expectations on the output, benefits, timelines, and costs. Be upfront, so there are no unnecessary surprises along the way. Collaborate with your team and stakeholders to determine if expectations are manageable and eventually met.
Tip 3: Don’t be afraid of customer feedback
It's not enough to mount an API and call it a day. Once everything is up and running, aim to get regular feedback from customers and keep them in the loop on any developments or upgrades you may have. Use your customers' feedback to help improve your API and, of course, their overall customer experience.
Tune in to Down to Freight podcast, where we sit down with transportation, logistics, supply chain, and warehousing subject matter experts to discuss the Digital Transformation Project.