With all the market disruptions in the past few years, the world has gone through the darkest times in history. It is astonishing to see how the world has adapted to the circumstances, with what little it could arrange. The Covid-19 pandemic, lockdown, hurricanes, inflationary pressure, geopolitical disharmony, societal disturbance, shortage of supplies, labor conflicts, etc. – have disrupted supply chains and the global economy.
The world is still moving on. The tragic losses have left everyone battling for survival. To be persistent, organizations across the globe must leverage technological solutions to stay on their toes in these unprecedented times – question is how?
Agility is crucial to progressing in uncertain times. As the drivers of the economy, we need to be prepared with the arsenal for any anomalous situation that may present itself. We have observed that any organization that was not flexible in times of crisis is now noncompetitive and lingering.
Agility is crucial to surviving, period. It’s the necessary skill to react and reciprocate to the environment. Agility is what aids you in reaching your desired goals.
Need some proof? Look at the major companies like Toys R Us, Sears, or Bloomingdales. They have gone dormant and are on the verge of bankruptcy because of their inability to adapt. On the other hand, have a glimpse on the growth charts of Allbirds, Instacart, or Warby Parker – making breakthroughs in their respective industries by designing a direct-to-consumer model, but still have a long road to take because of lack of expertise in back-end supply chains. However, look at the graphs of Amazon, Walmart, or Uber. Their competitive strategy to invest in agility has rewarded them enormously.
It’s interesting how the companies with agility in their approaches have been stepping ahead consistently, leading them to the top of the food chain, regardless of the circumstances, while the others who are not ready to adapt struggle financially.
The adoption of front-end cloud solutions has risen because of the snowballing of digital marketplaces. For example, Shopify and Magento have boomed their business using technology. Thanks to technology, using B2C e-commerce solutions to carry out basic order capture and deliver a seamless customer user experience is natural and expected. Anyone with determination can establish a “storefront” on an e-commerce platform within a day.
However, when it comes to back-end solutions and logistics or B2B e-commerce, there aren’t adequate internal connections between front-ends and back-ends systems. There is a lack of communication channels between departments and customers and disorganized business processes. And business operations that drive revenue, such as procure to pay, order to cash, or loading tender to invoice), are not integrated, making the company inefficient. Companies serving globally have focused on these bottlenecks and improved their supply chain integration for an efficient and profitable business.
You don’t need to be hasty about transferring everything to the cloud instantly, but preferably target to acquire an integration software or a service – that facilitates smooth supply chain management operations and enables your company to evolve into a full-fledged organization. When it comes to B2B connecting points, the APIs have taken the world by storm, thanks to the rapid rise of the cloud.
An organization must have an excellent supply chain integration solution that is agile and reciprocating enough to control the unpredictability to survive in the e-commerce-driven digital transformation era. Undoubtedly, each digital connection formed throughout your business ecosystem is critical; however, the possibilities go beyond solely connecting. We are talking about understanding, comprehending, and responding smartly to unprecedented circumstances. There will be irregularities, errors, and failures even after the business partners are well-onboarded. And handling those inconsistencies is what determines a company’s agility.
Getting extremely agile on the back end is difficult for many companies these days. B2B e-commerce takes place here, with its finance, logistics, distribution, and fulfillment. You will not be agile enough if you have to start from the beginning every time you start a new business partnership. Also, if you depend heavily on a single-source supplier or do not integrate into the cloud, you are not as agile.
When it comes to B2B e-commerce, the APIs are more complex than they meet the eye, even more complicated than EDI (electronic data interchange), the dominating global integration standard.
How and Why are the APIs different? The EDI evolved in a standardized manner, while the API movement is a developer-led manner that is quite the opposite. Each API defines its own unique set of rules of engagement. Hence, the APIs have no pre-agreed policies or protocols like ANSI X12 or EDIFACT. If your company cannot accommodate its APIs, there is no possibility of doing business with them.
As they are both different, there is no guarantee of what one can expect from the APIs. Although the implementation of APIs is rising rapidly in the B2B world, the dominance of EDI is diminishing. Therefore, any integration solution can handle both EDI & API integration through a single cloud integration structure.
The key to identifying the uncertainties and the strength to survive during disruptions, both API & EDI integration must be accommodated in your supply chain integration at every access point.
As the world is rapidly changing, the e-commerce shift is driving full-throttle, and the demand for supply chain responsiveness based on the anomalies we faced during 2021, the companies that want to lead the industry must understand their integration strategy, regardless of how fundamental it feels or sound.
Start by looking at the perspective of your business partners to your back-end processes. Identify the issues in those end-to-end operations, search for integration breakdowns, and solve those with priority. HubBroker’s agile Business automation solution can help you get back on track while helping improve your efficiency in today’s uncertain times. Contact us today to know how we can help you automate your crucial business processes and improve efficiency and profitability.