to API

Integrating EDI with an Automaker API

An upstart American vehicle manu­fac­turer with a go-it-your-own mentality leverages third party truckload and car carriers to transport both parts and finished vehicles between its vertically integrated manu­fac­turing facilities, factories and its dealer network. 

Trucking companies hauling for this automaker were faced with a difficult issue: The manu­fac­turer requires direct API integration into their proprietary trans­porta­tion management software in order for carriers to meet the data exchange require­ments across the shipment lifecycle. 

We engineered an EDI-to-API process that quickly brought the automaker and carriers together while building the foundation for easily scaled future growth. 

The Challenge

This upstart automaker’s vertically integrated supply chain is unorthodox, revo­lu­tionary, and — most importantly — strikingly efficient. In comparison to its entrenched forerunners, this OEM relies remarkably less on the traditional tiers of auto suppliers, instead bringing component production in-house en masse by building parts manu­fac­turing and stamping plants from the ground up. 

When you’re a manu­fac­turer that’s not just building your own hardware but building the manu­fac­turing facilities and tooling necessary to build said hardware, it follows that you’ll bring software development in-house as well. And it’s what we find here: Proprietary systems, software and platforms drive this automaker’s supply chain and business processes, and trans­porta­tion management is no exception. 

There are, however, limits to this. Many control modules, electronics and other specialized parts are manu­fac­tured by traditional component suppliers in specialized facilities. The automaker contracts third party truckload carriers and auto haulers to transport parts and completed vehicles to warehouses, factories and their dealer network.

To facilitate the shipment process, the automaker requires several unique JSON data payloads that correspond to (but are not the same as) traditional X12 Trans­porta­tion EDI documents: 

  • Booking Request (EDI 204)
  • Booking Acceptance (EDI 990)
  • Tracking Milestones (EDI 214)
  • Freight Invoices (EDI 210)

These payloads are exchanged directly through the proprietary software’s RESTful API interface. 

These motor carrier partners must comply with the non-standard data exchange process, risk losing the business altogether once the shipper mandates compliance with their direct API integration require­ments, or work with their EDI or integration provider to design a sustainable EDI-to-API integration process that accom­mo­dates their business systems and existing EDI workflows.

The Solution

Our integration development met with the pilot carrier, a Klein­schmidt customer contracted to haul finished vehicles for the automaker, in order to design and implement an EDI-to-API integration solution that would meet the automaker’s require­ments while enabling our customer to continue exchanging their existing EDI formats.

First, we examined the automaker’s RESTful API docu­men­ta­tion. We then examined the X12 format EDI data our customer was already exchanging with other trading partners, and we determined that the JSON data payloads could be success­fully populated by existing EDI data.

Next, our integration team designed a secure interface between our platform and the automaker’s RESTful API. Once active, we worked directly with the automaker to begin consuming test data on behalf of the carrier for outbound documents while simul­ta­ne­ously creating inbound response payloads based on the automaker’s JSON schemas and the carrier’s existing EDI data. 

Using this test data, our development teams create the real-time business logic that seamlessly transforms X12 EDI data sent by our clients into the compliant JSON payloads required by the automaker’s API, while at the same time trans­forming the automaker’s JSON data into the appropriate EDI formats compatible with the carrier’s current process. 

Finally, the EDI-to-API interface moves to production status once all documents and scenarios are tested and validated. Customers benefit from the rapid, real-time API integration between the Klein­schmidt platform and the automaker’s API, while continuing to transmit and receive the automaker’s required data to Klein­schmidt via their standard EDI documents.

The Results

With the RESTful API interface between the Klein­schmidt platform and the automaker’s platform complete, anyone exchanging data through Klein­schmidt can now quickly and easily integrate with the automaker’s API in order to exchange shipment data via the EDI documents already utilized by their TMS or other business systems. 

Through just a single connection to the Klein­schmidt network, end users can utilize a single data format (X12, flat files, JSON, or even their own RESTful or SOAP API) to exchange data with Klein­schmidt, with our platform functioning as the one-to-many integration gateway that seamlessly meshes EDI with the APIs required by our customers’ trading partners.

  • Carriers can continue exchanging data with their API-based partners via standard EDI documents, even if their customer’s API or data require­ments change
  • Carriers save time, reduce development hours and further streamline existing processes because they can continue to send EDI data — instead of building a complex API integration
  • The automaker can continue growing their carrier pool without the need to accommodate carriers’ various integration technology stacks (or lack thereof) thanks to the rela­tion­ship established with an EDI-to-API integrator such as Kleinschmidt
  • Carriers can cement their client rela­tion­ship with their automaker customer by easily conforming to their data require­ments, helping to shape the upstart automaker’s integration methods moving forward
  • Our customers benefit by gaining preferred carrier status and the manu­fac­tur­er’s knowledge that they are able to rapidly implement integration strategies if need be thanks to Kleinschmidt’s capabilities

Real-time direct API integration has many benefits, but successful imple­men­ta­tion is difficult. We succeeded in reducing the complexity of API integration by leveraging existing data exchange, and our trans­for­ma­tion platform enables carriers to use existing EDI processes to integrate with their customers’ real-time APIs without any of the complex integration and support required to do so. 

Learn More

Whether you need to integrate your traditional EDI process with a customer’s API or you need to digest data from an API into your current business system or software platform, we’re ready to help. Our EDI-to-API integration solutions enable your company to quickly connect to third party APIs without disrupting your existing EDI or data exchange process. 

Contact our team to learn more about how we can help you with this unique integration challenge.