What is an API?
An Application Programming Interface, (API), is a software interface that allows programs to communicate with one another across existing platforms.. In other words, an API is what enables the different facets of a business's operations to interact. Based in the cloud, API’s are capable of serving as the central hub of increasingly global logistics operations. According to a recent FreightWaves interview with container visibility industry expert Bri Negron, “Cloud solutions are usually more extensible and flexible and can often be configured to leverage third-party APIs without custom development. For shippers not using the cloud, moving away from on-premise solutions can also open the doors for more opportunities.”
Cloud-based APIs allow shippers to streamline their data into a single, easy to use interface where they can access all vital container tracking information. For shippers looking to stand out in an increasingly competitive marketplace, an easy-to-use, API-enabled container visibility solution is a must-have. But beyond all the buzzwords and statistics, many of today’s shippers have a single, all-important question when it comes to API-enabled container tracking software: What can an API do for my business?
What Can an API Do for Your Business?
To help shippers decide whether or not an API-enabled container visibility solution is right for their business, we’ve compiled three real-world examples of how API integration can help keep your logistics moving.
In a complex, logistics environment, it can be difficult for shippers to stay up to date on the latest shipping trends affecting their business. Without insight, shippers can struggle to make the changes necessary to achieve operational efficiency and full container visibility. With real-time analytics through a container visibility provider, shippers can see and adapt to changing currents in the global logistics industry.
For Scan Global, a global logistics provider known for its expertise in ocean freight, the challenges of being a growing, multi-industry logistics provider had resulted in a troubling lack of visibility. According to their Director of Ocean Freight, North America before implementing OpenTrack’s API, “our operation teams spent a lot of time getting the right information from the carriers. Covid made everything more complex; at times, it felt that not even the carriers had the latest information.” With only disparate data points and unreliable sources of information to rely on, Scan Global was unable to meet the real-world challenges in real-time.
Claes Brønsgaard Pedersen, Global CFO of Scan Global, said, “overcoming the challenges of market volatility and uncertainty required a unique approach to freight tracking, management, and logistics that we had yet to fully master.” Without consistent, reliable data, Scan Global was stuck playing catch-up in a fast-changing logistical environment.
After implementing a real-time container tracking solution, complete with an easy to use API, Scan Global was able to access the container visibility they needed. For Scan Global, container visibility came in the form of on-demand data access. According to Alan Melgaard, CEO of Scan Global, “we are seeing a lot more consistency in our data. We are now able to measure lead times across the various legs of the transportation with seamless confidence and assurance that was lacking previously.” After implementing an API-enabled, container tracking software solution, Scan Global was able to approach an unpredictable logistics environment with the reassurance and peace-of-mind that comes with top-tier, on-demand data.
Visibility in Volatile Times
It’s no secret that the last few years have been a nightmare for logistics professionals; from early 2020, when COVID-19 began bungling supply chains around the world, to now, when rising fuel prices and global conflicts make accurate budgeting nearly impossible, shippers have had to learn to adapt quickly and effectively to a volatile logistics industry.
For one shipper in particular, integrating flexibility into their operations meant container visibility was a must-have. The Plastics Development Group (PDG) found that the best solution to facing supply chain challenges was to expand their network of freight forwarders. But many of these freight forwarders, some of whom were based in foriegn markets, were unaccustomed to providing real-time visibility. As a result, PDG was forced to blindly trust their logistics partners, leaving their customers and their shareholders in the dark.
After considering a few options, PDG decided to partner with OpenTrack. Within 72 hours, PDG had access to a broad range of container tracking tools, including real-time container tracking, integrated anomaly detection, and accurate ETAs. These tools, paired with unparalleled customer service from some of the top container tracking experts in the container visibility industry, helped PDG obtain the container visibility they needed to remain flexible in a volatile logistics marketplace.
According to the Journal of Commerce, the value of the North American freight visibility market is set to reach a staggering $1 billion in 2024, up from only $300 million in 2020. With such rapid market growth, it’s clear that container visibility solutions are quickly becoming a must-have for logistics professionals across the North American market. For shippers that are now starting to embrace technology solutions to support their everyday operations, some companies face challenges like having too much information. Perhaps a good problem to have.
For CLARK MHC, a leader in the forklift industry, dealing with the many freight-forwarders involved in the daily logistics of a fast-growing, heavy-equipment company resulted in a container visibility overload: “Since we started using multiple forwarding partners due to the volatility in the market, we have so much stuff in the wind we don’t know where it’s at. We wanted a unified platform so we had one place to go to track all our forwarders and all-out containers,” said Clark MHC. With so much information spread across so many platforms, CLARK MHC found themselves struggling to keep up.
By implementing an API-enabled container tracking solution, CLARK MHC was able to integrate visibility updates from their many freight forwarding partners into a single platform. Using a container visibility solution with an API, CLARK MHC simplified their operations with the digital user interface. Since implementing the API, the company said they have been able to achieve “more proactive tracking” and reduced labor processes tied to manual container tracking. For CLARK MHC, the container visibility they achieved from partnering with an API-enabled container tracking software provider allowed them to integrate all container tracking operations into a single, easy to use platform.
Gain the API Advantage. Partner with OpenTrack Today.
For Scan Global, PDG, and CLARK MHC, there was only one option when it came to choosing an API-enabled container tracking visibility partner: OpenTrack. With fast, seamless integration into an existing tech-stack, OpenTrack gave businesses the real-time container visibility they needed to keep moving forward. Today’s top businesses demand top-tier visibility, and with OpenTrack, it’s more accessible than ever. Book a demo with OpenTrack today, and see how an industry-leading API can help your business grow today.