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Creating a Standard in a Non-Standard World

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In 2023, we completed more than 50 API integration projects. In 2024, we've already exceeded that milestone.

Author: Lucy Smith

In recent years, Kleinschmidt has witnessed a significant increase in the demand for API (Application Programming Interface) integration for B2B connectivity. From managing a handful of projects annually five years ago, to over 50 in 2023. 

This trend is not slowing down; we’ve already exceeded that 50 project milestone in the first two months of 2024, as digital transformation is at the forefront of business strategy throughout the supply chain.

The shift towards API integration represents a pivotal change in how businesses interact, moving beyond traditional EDI standards to embrace more dynamic, flexible and real-time data exchange mechanisms.

Part of the challenge in the beginning was that these requests did not fit neatly into the traditional Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) standards familiar to many of our clients. Mike Ullrich, VP of Client Services at Kleinschmidt, spearheaded the development of a standardized API specification for businesses seeking API integration. As clients brought their requirements to Kleinschmidt, it became clear to Mike that a standard framework would fill an important gap, and he worked with Zeshan “Zee” Daramjee, Business Analyst, to develop a “Kleinschmidt API standard.” The goal was to optimize new connections for a reduced cycle time from request to a fully tested go-live for trading partner connections.

Building the Standard Framework

Realizing that the commonly used data fields from the X12 standards remain crucial, they crafted a JSON format specification that included these key data elements, providing a foundation that is both robust and adaptable to various industries that Kleinschmidt serves.

Acknowledging that operational needs vary, the specification was designed to accommodate custom fields, ensuring that trading partners could meet unique operational requirements.

Industry Specific Standards

This initiative started with a focus on the transportation sector, where Kleinschmidt’s own API Specification for Carriers significantly streamlined connectivity between shippers and carriers alike. Its success in real-world application is proven through adoption by cloud-based TMS platforms. This spec also provided a framework for building connections between companies using legacy EDI messaging and those using APIs, that enabled efficiency of setup by the Business Analysts and Programmers at Kleinschmidt.

Building on that success, a Kleinschmidt API Specification for Retail was developed and quickly adopted by a retail ERP. An API Specification for Warehousing is also complete, and one for Ocean transport is underway, showing promise for adoption throughout the supply chain.

Are You Ready for API integration?

For businesses looking to stay ahead of the digital curve, Kleinschmidt’s API integration specifications offer a promising pathway. Mike states,“The earlier we get involved in the planning process, the more time and money we can often save our clients. Sometimes a quick back-of-the-envelope design consultation can quickly reveal a practical path forward.”

If you have a project on your roadmap, request a call by contacting Kleinschmidt or calling (847) 945-1000.