EDI vs. API … if it’s all alphabet soup to you, you’re not alone. Many business owners aren’t aware that there are multiple ways in which data can be transferred and that systems “talk” to each other. Two such ways, EDI and API, can be used to increase the speed and efficiency of supply chains by enabling multiple systems to send, receive, and share data. Which one you choose may add a competitive advantage to your company.
What Are EDI and API?
EDI stands for “electronic data interchange.” It’s a technology that’s been in use in many industries since the 1970s, making it well-known and tested. EDI offers excellent security and reliability, and many older systems are built with EDI interfaces to enable rapid data exchange among supply chain partners.
API is the new kid on the block. It was developed in the early 2000s and is better known as the programming interface between payment processors and e-commerce stores and myriad other applications. API stands for “application programming interface.” It is less secure than EDI because API leaves some of its programming open, which allows for the integration between systems.
Different Needs Dictate an EDI vs. API Choice
Given that both EDI and API enable data sharing, yet each has unique features, which is better for supply chain management? It is better to ask, “Which one will give my business a stronger competitive advantage?”
- Security: If tight security is vital to your company, EDI offers a clear advantage. EDI provides access to only authorized users, making it highly secure.
- Data Transfer: EDI enables vast amounts of data to be transferred in one upload while APIs may struggle. Conversely, APIs can interface with a wide range of software, allowing it to make many transfers.
- Speed: If there’s a significant amount of data to be moved among systems, EDI wins. But to the average consumer processing a transaction or a business checking on its supply chain, API offers sufficient speed to make it comparable.
- Human Intervention: EDI uses a shared and exact lexicon to minimize human intervention. API may require human intervention, but it’s also a lot more flexible and adaptable to various system interfaces. EDI also reduces the need to process data manually, as many processes can be automated.
So, which shall it be for your company? Take a good look at both options and discuss them with an Emerald TC representative when reviewing your software choices. Supply chain management offers an area of improvement for many companies and certainly an area in which a company can win a competitive advantage. When you know where goods are in the supply chain, you’re ahead of the manufacturing game.
Emerald TC provides software and consulting for manufacturing companies. We can help you choose the right system for your needs and find software for every type and size manufacturing company. Contact us or call 678-456-6919 for more information.