Businesses tend to struggle when it comes to managing ever-increasing layers of data they collect from their Batch, Dispatch, ERP, and other enterprise-level systems. When systems and processes aren’t aligned correctly, it can be extremely time-consuming to manage everything individually. By integrating systems using API technology, producers can offer a better end-to-end experience for customers, reduce back-office workload and capitalize on increased efficiency in their production by automating processes.
Integrating systems using APIs is extremely beneficial to help streamline and consolidate data workflow processes to increase the speed at which information is consumed and shared within the organization. It reduces the overall costs of acquiring, analyzing, maintaining, and distributing information.
The true value of system integrations for any business is the ability to automate data management and improve the speed and quality of communications within the workforce and with customers. For example, improving communications between drivers and customers can help concrete dispatchers plan and schedule their day more effectively. They can stay in constant contact with customers regarding delivery statuses, Will Calls or Order changes to improve on-time delivery and promote customer satisfaction.
Customers can follow delivery statuses using integrated GPS and online portal technology that automatically updates delivery information as it happens. Contractors can better anticipate wait times which will reduce unnecessary calls to dispatchers. Below is an example of how enhanced integrations between enterprise systems can streamline data workflows and automates tasks to boost efficiency.
Mix designs and batch results are exchanged between ConcreteGO central Dispatch and external Quality Control systems using APIs. There is the option of using Cloud Batch which includes both batch and dispatch functionality powered by a single database. Traditionally, customer information is entered in the ERP (enterprise resource management) system then pushed to central dispatch while mix designs are generated in QC then pushed to dispatch and then ERP.
Business insights generated by Optimization software can also be integrated into ConcreteGO dispatch, which serves as a “quarterback” for the entire ready-mix operation. Project information including customer data, items, tickets, and material usage are connected and updated bi-directionally between ConcreteGO dispatch and ERP systems. The ERP system is responsible for doing what it was designed for and what it does best; invoicing, A/R, inventory, and financial reporting.
Optionally, a 3rd party Batch system can be integrated with central dispatch using the universal link protocol or ULINK.
The iStrada delivery management platform is made up of a driver App and online collaboration Portal. It’s capable of receiving batch weights from the batch system directly on the Paperless ticket (optional), while Telematic and ELD information is made easily available on the iStrada online portal. Digital tickets and timekeeping data can be pushed directly to the ERP system to help streamline the invoicing process. Slump data and water or admixture additions from the VERIFI® In-transit Concrete Management system can be automatically updated directly on the iStrada paperless ticket to ensure quality. To complete the integrations loop, Dash Cam feeds that monitor driver behavior can also be directly linked to the iStrada paperless ticket creating a powerful hub for accessing a large pool of important data all in one place.
Typically, these systems would require the user to access separate portals to view information, creating a never-ending circle of log-ins. In this example, all the data is in one central location to view and act upon quickly and effectively.
The iStrada Collaboration Portal allows project stakeholders to track delivery performance using online KPI dashboards, manage tickets and test data electronically, and even order concrete online.
Automating business processes through enhanced system integration, enables Concrete Producers to be more connected, efficient, and agile in reducing operational costs and driving higher profits. By automating and integrating business processes using OpenAPI, the cost of managing data is reduced, communication with customers is improved and it allows producers to stay more focused on their business. In the near future, integrated systems using AI algorithms, IoT, cloud computing, and Big data will allow producers to work even Smarter by using predictive models to manage and make adjustments to the supply chain to help further optimize resources and profitability.