Modernizing Sawmills with APIs
In the coming year, sawmills and manufacturing facilities will see an increased use of mobile solutions designed for their unique needs. Tech companies and even individual businesses are forging a path by taking advantage of APIs.
APIs are pieces of code that make it easy for software apps to talk to each other. They’re like channels for sharing information. If a program has an API, other applications can use it to send and receive data to and from that program.
Fantasy football is a real-world example of APIs in action. Fantasy sites can use the NFL’s API to pull the latest player statistics. When the new stats are pulled in, the fantasy site recalculates the player rankings and user points.
So why do APIs matter for enterprise software? In short: integrated business apps. Businesses can replace isolated programs with a united ecosystem of tools.
Imagine a mobile sales app. When a rep creates a new order, the app uses an API to push information from the rep’s phone to the business’s ERP system. When the ERP receives the information, the order is created. There’s no need for the rep to manually sync his phone or update the record later. APIs make the process seamless.
APIs have two major implications for the building materials industry. First, tech companies can more easily create products for a wider range of needs. At DMSi, we’ve used the APIs in our Agility ERP to create a host of integrated products. Most recently, we developed Agility | Mobile Warehouse Tools, a simple alternative for customers whose operations don’t require our full WMS solution.
Second, APIs will let forward-thinking businesses take charge of their technology toolsets. Trying to customize your ERP system for every imaginable scenario is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. If, however, a business can access the APIs in its primary software platform, it can easily create powerful, integrated apps without disrupting the existing system’s business logic.
DMSi customers can access Agility’s APIs to use as they see fit. Recently, DMSi customer Premier Hardwoods, Inc. (Jamesville, NY) built a mobile app to streamline remanufacturing. Workers on the line use their mobile phones to scan bundles of rough lumber. The app passes those tags through our APIs into our Agility ERP system and reserves the material to a work order. As the rough lumber gets surfaced, the workers use the app to specify what material was made, and the app uses Agility’s APIs to create and print tags as the output material comes off the line. All of the information inputted on the app runs through our APIs and then through Agility’s remanufacturing logic. Since we designed the APIs, we keep our business logic safe while allowing our customers to program their own applications.
APIs provide a major opportunity for businesses struggling to find technology products that fit every aspect of their operations. They’re central to DMSi’s development strategy, and we’ll continue to leverage them as we create more integrated solutions for our customers.
Henry German is DMSi’s Manager for Market Teams.
This piece originally appeared in the January 2017 edition of National Hardwood Magazine.