Data is the key currency of any logistics network. Supply chains today are more complex than ever because of the rapid exchange of huge amounts of data. This data is used to track goods and optimize operations, reduce risks, and much more.
A variety of data applications are present in modern logistics networks, which has led to many networking technologies. There are many ways data can move through supply chains, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
These data exchange technologies are essential if you want to improve your logistics network, whether it’s in response to the supply-chain crisis or to avoid common logistic mistakes.
This list could seem odd to be started with an email. Modern supply chains and logistic networks are built using far more advanced forms of a data exchange than email.
Yes, and no. Yes, there are more modern and faster data exchanges available today. However, that doesn’t mean they are “better” data networks than email. Logistics networks depend on many data types being exchanged. This includes data that is collected via internet-of-things networks, mainframe operations, and data that can only be analyzed, shared, and shared by humans.
An email has many advantages when it comes to sending this type of data. Email is simple to use and anyone can send data without needing to learn any special skills. Email is the best way to share a link to a data set or a spreadsheet with key performance indicators for your logistics network. Email would be able to find a place in any perfect logistics system.
2. IoT Devices
IoT devices are an integral part of modern logistics networks. The cost of IoT equipment is the largest expense when creating a new network. When you calculate the working capital required to build your logistics network, the IoT functionality level you need will be important.
Although large-scale IoT networks are costly, most companies can quickly recover this expense through improved efficiency in their logistics network. IoT devices can be used to monitor the condition and location of goods and share that information with other IoT devices and with central data processing software. This allows you to optimize your logistics network and ensures it remains as reliable as possible.
Most IoT solutions today are available as all-in-one packages. IoT devices are modular and can be used in a variety of situations and networks. This is possible because they rely heavily on Wi-Fi connectivity for data exchange. This makes it easy to use Wi-Fi devices, but it also means you need to ensure that your network has good Wi-Fi coverage in order for the device’s operation to work properly.
3. Transportation Management System (TMS).
TMS platforms offer a more targeted approach to data collection than IoT networks.TMSs are used to plan, manage, and evaluate the physical movement of goods.TMS solutions can be integrated into larger systems. It can be used with both IoT devices as well as specialized APIs and EDIs.
A TMS system offers small and medium-sized companies (SMBs), an affordable way to gain advanced logistics functionality previously only available to national firms. This is its primary advantage. A TMS system is a great way for smaller businesses to save money at a time when logistics costs are increasing. These cost savings can be passed on to the consumer.
TMS platforms usually work from a central, shared data and application framework. They are therefore easier to manage than heterogeneous, distributed IoT networks. They are also more general than the APIs below. This is why they are called “general systems”.They provide a simple way for businesses with little experience to begin to gain valuable insight into their supply chain operations.
SMBs need to be aware of the disadvantages that TMS platforms can present. All staff must be able to access and work on a single platform. This simplifies user access and management but can limit the flexibility of software and technical development staff.
Also read: 20 Key Supply Chain Metrics and KPIs
4. Application Program Interface (API).
APIs are the modern technology at the cutting edge of data exchange in modern logistics networks. APIs are a custom-built way for logistics applications to transmit, receive, and transfer information with other supply chains applications.
APIs are a well-known technology that has been used for years to enable applications and other supply chains entities to communicate. Custom-designed APIs were the only way these entities could communicate a few decades back. TMS and EDI platforms can in fact be considered more generalized versions of APIs.
APIs offer several advantages over EDI and TMS systems. They can be tailored to your hardware and software, so they offer a faster way for data exchange than other systems. APIs make data transmission more reliable because they use automated data collection tools and analysis tools to reduce human input and minimize human error.
However, APIs have their disadvantages. These custom, complex systems can be difficult to develop and maintain. They can also be costly to develop. To manage them, you may need highly skilled staff. Recent examples of the risks of not doing this were shown in an Amazon Web Services incident that brought a warehouse down. This was partly due to a shortage of AWS experts.
However, companies that are looking to scale can reap the benefits of an API system. You can build a strong foundation for a high-performing logistics network by establishing reliable, efficient, and fast ways to communicate with your key logistics systems.
5. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).
EDI is a halfway point between an API and a TMS. EDI, like an API, allows you to control entities that are part of your logistics network. EDI is a standard for information transfer between logistics applications and supply chain businesses. APIs, however, rely on custom ways to exchange data between them. EDI can be used in many types of logistic data, just like APIs.
EDI offers some of the most important advantages of API, including speed, reliability, and control. At the same time, EDI is much easier than a custom API. is not a technical field and does not require specialized personnel. Many supply chains systems offer integration with EDI. This is a great way for companies to get started building a logistics technology stack.
However, EDIs do have disadvantages when compared to TMS and dedicated APIs. They are less secure and more expensive than TMS, but they are also more secure. Additionally, companies are investing in blockchain to lower their costs.EDI is now behind the times when it comes to compatibility with new technologies.
Data exchange is efficient in terms of speed, reliability, and efficiency It is one of the key factors in a successful logistics network. Leaders and technicians must ensure this. They are able to understand how data can be shared across modern networks, Logistics networks should be optimized in order to maximize their efficiency and effectiveness.