Supply Chain Communication Future of EDI in Transportation (Video Text)

By Brad Hollister

Executive Vice President

Clearview Audit

Hey Guys, Brad Hollister here with Clearview Audit. I wanna take a second to kinda clear up some misinformation that’s out there in the market and all of the major trade magazines and blogs and things. There’s this notion about communication in a supply chain relative to EDI versus API, and I kinda wanted to take a moment to kinda clear the air, or at least from Clearview Audit’s perspective, the way we view it.

EDI is, as most of us know, was a technology created in the 1970s, and was adopted very heavily in the big box retail, automotive, and the airline industries. Those industries really thrive and live off of EDI, and that trickled into other industries like manufacturing, others. And there’s this notion out there that EDI is dead…

I would say the same thing if we didn’t have EDI, I think. EDI is very important, and until the major motor companies, major airlines, and major retailers start to announce that they’re getting away from EDI, it’s not gonna go away. EDI from a freight rating perspective is not the future.

APIs allow people and companies to connect live to all their carrier network, and really what they’re trying to do is essentially dynamically creating routing. I mean, even the days of web rating, or freight rating, in our opinion, is over, and it’s kinda funny when we listen to other TMSs give their presentation about freight rating. I mean freight rating should be something that’s done automatically, we shouldn’t be typing in criteria and waiting for results.

But getting back to EDI, specifically. EDI is a fantastic technology just based on the way it works. An API is a call, so if you have to track something, and you’re tracking over EDI, you’re gonna be pushed notifications. Every update, every status update is pushed to you, it’s pushed to you, it’s pushed to you…  When there’s invoices ready they push to you, it’s a very clunky technology to use, it’s not flexible but once it’s connected and it’s in place, it is a fantastic way to communicate with your carrier network.

APIs on the other hand, they work quicker when you know your own criteria and you wanna ask for results against that criteria. So, an example is a freight rate, that’s great. The orders come in from the EDI system or their  warehouse management system and you want to automatically get the rate, well, you have the information you need to call the carrier’s API and retrieve a result. Tracking is not that way, tracking and invoicing is not that way, when there is a tracking change you don’t want to have to ask the freight carrier where the shipment is, you wanna be told “Hey status update”,  “Hey, another status  update”, “Hey, another status update”. And it’s like passively tracking so when your system has that data, it’s the live, real time data. You can’t do that with API unless you just essentially automate or “cron job” a regular API call which is still kinda clunky and it’s not a very effective use of your server resources even if you are on the cloud.

But I just want to kind of clear the air, in order to have effective supply chain you’re gonna have to work with tables because a lot of the technology of the smaller carriers, where there is bigger value in service and pricing, do not have the sophistication and web tools that the large carriers do. So you have to work in rate tables. You’re gonna have to work in APIs because that is the way of the future, the way of live connectivity, but you cannot ditch EDI. You have to have EDI if you want your supply chain to utilize all the tools available to you in the market.

So, is EDI dead? No way, it’s not gonna be dead for a very, very long time. We understand it’s very hard to find programmers that understand the 1970s technology, but it’s here to stay. Until SAP and Oracle, and the major industries start to abandon EDI as the default, de facto communication method, it’s not going to go away anytime soon, and ClearView has a very, very powerful and robust EDI platform, and we’re very excited to continue to promote the antiquated technology of yesterday in conjunction with some of the new tools that are not only here now in 2017, but are coming in the future with live and artificial intelligence, and some other very complex supply chain type tools that are gonna help to automate efficiencies in the future, so thanks for watching, we appreciate the viewership and we welcome any feedback you may have to this video. Thank you very much.


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