Nowadays, many transportation companies rely on data and intricate processes to operate. Everything from customer service to accounting is supported by technology and automation, which is intended to make our jobs easier. However, it can be difficult to simultaneously track and manage the many programs and business platforms that are in use at any given time.
That’s where APIs come in…
In this blog, we will be exploring what an API is, and how APIs can be used to make transportation companies more efficient. Keep reading to find out how you can further enhance your business operations and save both time and resources. Never heard of an API? We’re going to walk you through it!
What is an API?
An Application Programming Interface, or “API”, as it’s more commonly referred to, essentially operates like a waiter in a restaurant. At a restaurant, you are given a menu with meal options from which to choose. Similarly, with software applications, you can choose the APIs you need in order to get the data you want. A waiter then goes to the kitchen, brings back your meal and sets it on the table. Similarly, an API goes to the software application, retrieves the data you need and puts it into your existing infrastructure.
An API is essentially a bridge between programs, bringing you the data you need, from your dispatch or TMS, for instance, into one central location. There are a few significant ways that APIs help business operations:
Fewer Screens: With APIs amalgamating data from various sources, dispatchers can reduce the number of screens that they need to monitor. This helps businesses achieve 100% visibility into their operations and reduce the chances of overlooking important information.
Specificity of Data: APIs help improve the specificity of data that is made available to you. For instance, an API key can make sure that you not only know when a trailer is full or empty, but also the exact square footage of available space. With this information, you can make better scheduling decisions and maximize productivity. There are almost infinite possibilities for how an API key can help you gain clearer insight into key metrics that help improve business efficiencies.
Derive Actionable Insights: Businesses leverage supply chain visibility platforms, such as FourKites, to help them amalgamate, organize and derive actionable insights from tracking data - all in one centralized source of truth.
Timely Theft Reporting: A tracking solution, like CloudHawk, is able to notify you when a vehicle has left a specific geo-location, thanks to a feature called geo-fencing, which is extremely valuable in the context of theft prevention. However, that information becomes less and less valuable as the clock ticks. For each second that passes, the odds of you recovering that vehicle become less favorable. APIs make the exchange of various data sets timelier and more organized.
APIs also eliminate the need for the manual exchange of information across platforms, thereby ensuring that your valuable information gets exactly where it needs to go and when.
Enable Preemptive Maintenance
Predict the Future: Depending on the types of tracking and monitoring technologies your business is currently leveraging, you may or may not be monitoring the overall performance of vehicles. In either case, APIs can help you see the big picture regarding your fleet and help you make use of predictive analytics. Let’s say, for example, that you are using monitoring tools that update you on the stop frequency of drivers for ELD purposes. Those tools can also work together to predict mileage, vehicle wear and tear, and fuel efficiency even though maintenance is not their primary function. As an example, a larger transportation customer of CloudHawk is utilizing the tracking mileage API to alert for retorques, which can easily help the customer avoid hefty fines.
With this data at hand, you can proactively plan and budget for maintenance checks and other future costs.
Now that you know what APIs are, don’t be afraid to think big! APIs not only help you see the big picture, but also help you gain control over your business operations.