API stands for Application Program Interface, software that enables different applications to exchange information. Aljex APIs created for individual carriers are then available to any Aljex customer who uses that carrier. The API pulls data from a carrier site through the broker's account using the broker's log-on and password.
With an API, brokers and 3PLs can enjoy virtually all of a carrier's online services without leaving their Aljex screens. An Aljex API reaches across the Internet from the transportation document on a broker's screen directly to the always-current rates on the carrier's own web site. Aljex APIs relieve brokers and 3PLs from having to update rates in their own systems each time a carrier makes a change and sends out an update.
APIs enable an Aljex user to query multiple carriers to determine least-cost-routing. Results display within seconds. That's far more efficient than going to each site manually or paying a rate agency for what may be less-accurate rates.
Using APIs, an Aljex customer extracts correct rates and quotes, figures that can populate the appropriate information fields in a transportation document. A broker need not physically copy rates into a freight bill, for example.
"It's amazing, when combined with automated billing by the carrier to the 3PL and from the 3PL to its customers. It automates yet another piece of the transportation work cycle," said Aljex CEO Tom Heine. "It's especially helpful with multiple LTL shipments. You eliminate copying errors while always applying the latest appropriate rate."
Heine pointed out that APIs show carriers the percentage of business they are winning (or not winning) from the ongoing record of quotes provided vs. shipments booked. Without APIs a carrier may not be aware of business it is missing out on. That knowledge can encourage a carrier to offer more competitive rates to coax more business from a particular Aljex 3PL.
"APIs make working with carriers quicker, easier, and better for both sides of a transaction," Heine said.