Product Data and Open Supply Chain

The end of the year is a good time to write about “next generation” stuff. We are in the midst of the Holiday slowdown with fewer emails, blogs, twits, etc., to process. I was reading Dion Hinchcliffe’s blog post Next Gen Enterprise article, Open APIs Mature Into a Next-Generation Business Model.

Have a read. I found the story of APIs, data availability, and the notion of using Web APIs to build an Open Supply Chain interesting. Here is my favorite passage from the article:

It’s frequently said that most businesses today are literally awash in high value data that they are usually under exploiting. In these often trying economic times, having highly valuable strategic assets lying fallow that could be put to immediate business utility doesn’t make sense. Enter open APIs to provide a way to unleash the business value of strategic sets of business data and directly turn them into rapidly proliferating new product partnerships and innovations.

From my personal experience I can tell you: supply chain <anything> is hard. For example, providing updated product data to a supply chain partner is a very complicated affair few companies manage really well. In most situations one is burdened by organizing folders and shared files structured, keeping the content easy to find at a moments notice, and keeping everything therein up-to-date.  Meanwhile, the amount of data and its complexity continues growing.

Here are a couple of pictures that illustrate how Inforbix overcomes the growing amount and complexity of data and provides a straight forward means of sharing most current data. The first picture shows the search results for a particular Inventor file. Notice the “Drawing BOM” within the data snippet. Inforbix has extracted the BOM table from the Inventor file.

On the next picture, the “Drawing BOM” has been converted into a table by Inforbix and is ready to be shared with anyone inside or outside the company. The BOM data is automatically updated from the CAD file each time it is recreated.

Conclusion. The idea of providing open APIs to access data resonates. Inforbix product semantic technology and search-based applications accomplish a similar task. Inforbix apps and the REST APIs accomplish their tasks by providing easy to customize access to data. With the help of our customers we are learning how to make the task of sharing up-to-date data even more effective. Let us know what you think? Do you have specific Supply Chain needs? Do you need to share data with your suppliers? Share your thoughts with us.

Best, Oleg

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