How API Integration Streamlines Workflows

In the final part of our series on digitalization, we take a look at how API integration is the most important step for organizations in the electronic component industry.

Digital tools are one of the simplest ways organizations can more effectively and efficiently manage their workflows. In the second part of Sourceability’s series on digitalization, we discussed the use of data-driven insights and how it vastly improves upon manually collected information. Due to the wide-ranging influence of the electronic component supply chain, essential insights are often overlooked or buried in a sea of insignificant data. Human error also contributes to inaccurate or outdated information slipping into a company’s supply chain.  

Digitizing information increases accessibility and visibility, making information easier to share with all levels of an organization. Digital bill-of-materials (BOM) management and market intelligence tools aid in improving collaboration and the spread of accurate and pertinent insights. With these capabilities, it is far easier for manufacturers to increase their workflow optimization compared to manual processes and traditional tools such as Excel sheets.  

In the first and second parts of Sourceability’s digitalization series, digital BOM management and market monitoring were addressed. Both electronic component supply chain management pieces significantly improve traditional workflows that the industry currently favors, such as just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing.  

Digitalization as a whole within the electronic components industry is a broad sword. Numerous facets could be greatly improved with the aid of digitized information. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), contract manufacturers (CMs), and electronic manufacturing service (EMS) providers must embrace new digital technology to increase operational efficiency further and reduce disruptions. This is pertinent due to the continually growing electronic component supply chain.

OEMs, CMs, and EMS providers can improve their market monitoring capabilities and BOM management through platform integration. Specifically integrating their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and a leading e-commerce site.  

How API Increases Operational Performance

What is an API? An application programming interface (API) is a software tool that allows two or more applications to speak with one another. API programs allow numerous unrelated software products to interoperate with each other’s software and data. Further customization is possible for developers who want to improve an API’s functionality by meeting organization goals or standards. API helps users simplify processes thanks to its inherent ability to integrate different systems and applications into a streamlined process.  

API tools can be integrated similarly, no matter the ERP or material requirements planning (MRP) system a company utilizes. Furthermore, developers can increase innovation within the company by finding new ways to use API that perform smoother and or better help staff meet their goals. This includes meeting requirements for organizations within high-reliability industries such as defense and healthcare.    

With API, OEMS, CMs, and EMS providers can develop new applications and functionalities using APIs that can scale as a manufacturer grows. One of the most critical pieces of digitalization is its ability to scale quickly alongside an organization far faster than traditional processes. Human error and time waste decrease with the help of program integration. As previously discussed in parts one and two, procurement and supply chain management challenges can be sufficiently reduced with APIs.  

Electronic component procurement and supply chain management become simpler through API integration into an ERP/MRP system. Traditional processes usually require buyers to manage thousands of components on complicated Excel sheets, tracking and purchasing components through time-consuming schedules. It usually looks like buyers assessing a BOM, calling sales representatives from suppliers, or scouring e-commerce sites until a profile of component offers is obtained. Thereby, the buyer can finally purchase one component.  

For supply chain managers, the tedious process is much of the same. Excel sheets that track dozens of components, their suppliers, inventory trends, price history, lead time, and more are used to identify weak points and prepare companies for upcoming disruptions or periods of excess inventory. Like with buyers, manually entered information can be prone to human error. With hours spent managing approved vendor lists (AVLs) alongside BOMs, it’s a wonder manual processes are still so commonly utilized.  

Digital BOM management and market intelligence tools are a piece of the grand puzzle. API is the glue holding it together. With API integration, these can interact and share insights from the safety of an OEM or CM’s ERP/MRP system.

API centralizes data input making it streamlined and easily shareable to all members needed within the buying process. Primarily if that API is hosted by a global e-commerce site with thousands of suppliers and even more components listed. This allows users to manage their BOMs, identify alternates, be made aware of shifting market trends, and purchase or schedule components whenever needed.  

Buyers can automate manual buying processes by scheduling orders without ever having to leave their ERP system. Buyers and other key decision-makers can examine technical datasheets for components, historical data, and more if more information is needed. This streamlined and easy access to essential data helps reduce inaccurate information occurrences, increases operational efficiency, and is cost-effective.  

API integration is a vital facet that shouldn’t be overlooked when building a digital strategy for your company.  

Your API of Choice for the Electronic Components Industry

Increasing efficiency, innovation, and flexibility are crucial for the electronic components industry to remain competitive in the digital age. An API that integrates a leading global marketplace with your ERP/MRP system is necessary to reduce time-consuming actions, such as managing inventory and purchasing stock. That is why OEMs, CMs, and EMS providers can benefit from Sourcengine API.

Sourcengine’s API integrates your ERP/MRP into an e-commerce marketplace with access to over 3,500 suppliers globally with access to supplier data on inventory trends, pricing history, and the capability to handle RFQ queries if components are not currently offered. This information can quickly be shared with supply chain managers and engineers for monitoring and approval without learning the ins and outs of a new site.  

Traditional procurement processes and supply chain monitoring are becoming more difficult as the supply chain grows. Future shortages and market conditions will make it harder to keep track of all the parts needed to keep production lines in operation. Using an API to help streamline processes and unite platforms will improve visibility in all sectors of an organization, which is key to running production.  

Sourcengine’s API is the last integration you will ever need.  

Sourceability’s Digital Suite of Tools

Sourcengine, Quotengine, and Datalynq are the three main tools in Sourceability’s digital suite. As a company that prioritizes innovation and digitalizing the electronic component supply chain, Sourceability will continue to develop new digital tools that improve manual processes with increased accessibility for all levels of an organization.  

As the leading e-commerce site for electronic components, Sourcengine’s API solution will continue to provide solutions for users within the comfort of their own ERP/MRP system. Sourcengine’s partnership with CalcuQuote will provide users with more information covering component pricing and data so they can always access the data they need.

Continued improvements in artificial intelligence, IoT, and other digital technology will further exacerbate the gap between OEMs and CMs that rely on traditional processes versus digital tools. One of the best ways to transform your organization into a modern business is using Sourceability’s digital tool suite.  

If you want to learn more about Sourceability’s digital tool suite or schedule a demo, contact our experts here! If you already have a part in mind, you can browse offers on Sourcengine or send our experts an RFQ for those components you can’t find. Thanks for joining us on this dive into digitalization!

Author of article
Sourceability Team
The Sourceability Team is a group of writers, engineers, and industry experts with decades of experience within the electronic component industry from design to distribution.
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