EDI is still important and APIs are here to stay
In the automotive industry, EDI remains the backbone of the global supply chain. At the same time, automotive manufacturers and suppliers want to take advantage of the next generation of API and cloud apps to enhance visibility, streamline operations, and drive innovation. This might include implementing advanced analytics for supply chain resiliency, automatic tracking devices like RFID gateways, and further digitalization of automotive operations.
Most players in the supply chain believe that existing EDI-based processes, and current application and integration infrastructures, will remain relevant for at least another five to ten years. That means any future EDI integration solutions must be able to bridge two technological worlds: classic EDI and APIs.
Merging supply chain technologies requires standardization
When it comes to visibility, the automotive standardization organization, Odette, recommends that manufacturers and suppliers use standardized REST API interfaces to create an adjacent visibility layer. These interfaces improve collaboration in logistics management, e-business communications, and engineering data exchange.
This new recommendation is compatible with current EDI-based recommendations and can coexist with them. It’s not meant to replace existing standards, but rather enhance existing supply chain processes — augmenting EDI processes with new API-driven status messages. It outlines how APIs can be used to create an adjacent visibility platform for all relevant supply chain transactions. By layering it over existing EDI processes, an automotive OEM could monitor the health of the upstream supply chain and be more prepared for issues emerging from slowdowns or bottlenecks outside of its direct control.
Another industry influencer, the Catena-X consortium, aims to power the digital flow of information across the entire supply chain through standardized data exchange and cross-company applications.
Face the future and win with what you already have
At Axway, we believe you should use what you already have to drive innovation. This is where APIfication — the process of converting software systems, applications, or services into APIs — makes a lot of sense. By APIifying your EDI with Axway, you can leverage your legacy IT and embrace flexible deployment models, helping you reduce manual data entry, eliminate silos, and achieve a more comprehensive approach to your business processes.
This is what Axway’s Open Everything vision is all about: opening up data across multiple organizations, disparate applications, and various business processes like EDI. Finding a way to continue to integrate these technologies will strengthen the health of the entire automotive supply chain.
How EDI and APIs join forces to streamline automotive supply chain processes
Internal resources shouldn’t have to be EDI experts to set up partnerships. With configuration APIs, they don’t have to be. Businesses can build tools and capabilities that preconfigure trading partner flows. The result is a more efficient, collaborative onboarding process where everyone wins.
It’s not ideal for EDI teams to receive pings from global sales teams in the middle of the night. Rather than fielding inconvenient messages about whether orders have been received, operational APIs offer a better solution. A chatbot can answer a series of questions to determine if an order was received.
In the automotive industry, a major car manufacturer is seeking to streamline its supply chain operations by integrating EDI with its key parts suppliers to exchange production schedules and purchase orders efficiently. At the same time, they’re implementing APIs for real-time quality control data exchange, enabling rapid response to quality issues and enhancing overall production efficiency.
Tomorrow starts with EDI and APIs
The future of EDI and APIs is undoubtedly connected. While each is powerful, API-enabled EDI offers a way for businesses to tackle modern integration challenges. That’s two integration patterns with one big impact.
Want to embrace the future of EDI and APIs?