There’s been a lot of talk in the freight industry lately regarding how technology is going to impact the way we do business. You’ve probably heard the buzzword “APIs” – but what exactly are APIs? And what makes APIs in freight management the clear winner over EDI?
The best way to explain the difference between API and EDI is through a metaphor of two people communicating, instead of two computer systems. For the EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) scenario, imagine that I wrote out a paper note asking you to pick up some freight for me. I put that note into an envelope and hand it to you. You get caught up doing other things, so it takes a little while before you even open my note. Then, later in the day, you write a response that says, “thank you, I received your note.” You put that into an envelope and hand it back to me. It could take hours to respond to a request, plus, you haven’t told me when you’re going to get the freight, you’ve only told me you received my note. Kind of resembles snail mail, right?
Using Live Connections takes that traditional snail mail process and puts it into hyper drive. Instead of this back and forth of notes, we engage in an exchange of data and information that resembles a real-time conversation. In about 3 seconds, I can let you know that I’d like for you to pick up the freight and you can send me a confirmation or tender and pick-up number. So in those 3 seconds, I know not only that you received my note, but I also have confirmation that you, the carrier, accepted the load and you’re en route to pick-up. Much more effective than snail mail.
There are many ways to create and build live connectivity. One is the use of an API (Application Program Interface). This method makes it easy to connect, but requires carriers to make a significant investment in technology and infrastructure. Another is interfacing with carriers’ websites which is far more accessible to smaller regional carriers. Without both methods, your options are limited.
For decades EDI was the current industry default, but times are a-changin’ and technology that helps you run your business more effectively will always come out on top. But make no mistake: API carrier connections are tried-and-true. We’ve been providing live connections for over 15 years.
The bottom line
With Live Connections, freight management is drastically more effective, which means you save more money on every shipment. The differences between API and EDI may not seem like much at first glance, but when you consider the resources wrapped up because of the technology limitations, you’ll realize that it’s an important distinction.
Our clients typically save in excess of 15% on their freight spend. That’s because they’re using Live Connections to improve freight negotiating, they’re replacing expensive routing assumptions with actual quotes on every order, and they’re saving hours in billing disputes and processing.
We understand that this is different than how most of us learned how freight was processed, so we’d love to show you how Live Connections can work for you.
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