Uniting Separate “Kingdoms” Through APIs
One of the greatest challenges businesses in the building materials industry face is internal separation. Sales, Purchasing and Accounting act like islands, each working independently and sending periodic updates back and forth. Nobody has current information or knows what’s happening outside their department. Businesses could completely replace this disjointed system by adopting software that uses APIs.
APIs are pieces of computer code that make it easy for programs to work together. There’s no need to import, export or email files. Information is shared and processes are triggered automatically.
This is huge for dealers and distributors. Instead of acting like separate kingdoms, departments will work in unison. They won’t have to send updated files to each other because everyone will see changes as they occur. For many operations, this will be like switching from telegraphs to iPhones.
Let me give you an example of what APIs can do. Say a sawmill uses a program to manage bids on logging jobs. Reps would use this application to record and save the details of each opportunity. The buyer would review the job details and enter his bid price into the app. When a bid is won, an API could push all the information directly into the sawmill’s inventory management system. A click of the mouse would instantly create a PO and receiving records for that job. In addition, APIs could push purchasing, receiving and accounting information back into the sales app. This means reps, buyers and owners could log in to one place to check open bids, past losses, scheduled deliveries and open A/R.
APIs are a key component of the Agility software platform. For example, APIs allow our integrated CRM and Mobile Sales applications to interact directly with Agility’s sales, accounting, purchasing and operations data. This means outside reps always have current information about their accounts and can create orders directly from their phone or mobile tablet. And Accounting and Purchasing see every order the moment it’s created. APIs make businesses more efficient by ensuring the right information gets to the right person at the right time.
This piece originally appeared in the January 2016 edition of National Hardwood Magazine.