Along a supply chain, each participant works with its own system: the industry with its proven inventory management system, the freight forwarder with its established transport management software and the supplier probably with its familiar Excel tables. As a result, communication – and thus the data flow – is done via e-mails, Excel lists and, yes, even the fax which is often rejected. In recent years, the new digital freight forwarders have held up a mirror to logistics and positioned and profiled themselves as pioneers in the digitization and automation of processes. The digital freight forwarders optimize their data flow in a way that the flow of goods works (better). Data as new currency, as the gold in the logistics process: This is exactly the way!

There’s nothing more important than excellent data in purchasing and supply chain management. However, there is hardly any benefit if they lie dormant in Excel files or have to be sent back and forth between supply chain partners by e-mail. With its supply chain management software »OSCA« – short for »Online Supply Chain Accelerator« – which is specialized in inbound logistics, Setlog enables the digital management of the supply chain on one platform with customer-specific extensions while integrating all partners involved in the respective supply chain. The solution is used by over 150 brands in the clothing, electronics, food, consumer goods and hardware sectors and in 90 countries worldwide. The interaction of partners in the supply chain is particularly important for deadline-sensitive goods. This includes for example fashion, which now has 12 collections per year that must arrive in the store by the right deadline, or seasonal items such as barbecues and bicycles in springtime, or Christmas items, which also have fixed »best-before dates«.

The integration of partners on platforms has become more and more complex in recent years, and the connection effort with interfaces has increased accordingly. Today, the aim is to refine interfaces so that data can flow more quickly and coordination processes can be accelerated. Up to now, Setlog develops individual solutions for data management and data flow. However, the programming of interfaces in particular is tied with considerable effort and therefore also costs. For the establishment of customer platforms on which all partners can work together worldwide, a fast implementation of API interfaces (API, short for Application Programming Interfaces) via open source, i.e.: of open source standard interfaces, is only advantageous.

Retail is ready to break new grounds

In recent years, open source software for logistics processes has hardly played any role at Setlog, as in the industry as a whole. However, this is about to change right now. For: IT service providers in logistics that use open source can be successful more quickly. Open source even proves to be a sales support. In the meantime, customers can well asses the added value: in particular in the area of interfaces, open source can help logistics not only to become faster and more efficient but also to create standards. This is great leverage for all partners participating in a platform. The intelligence of the data remains, only the flow gets better.

As founding member of the Open Logistics e.V., the development association of the Open Logistics Foundation, Setlog focuses on the use of open source components for services in tomorrow’s platform economy, the Silicon Economy. For nobody in logistics – neither for logistics companies nor for IT service providers – interfaces are the »Holy Grail«, for the intelligence is still in the software itself. The foundation will support logistics on its way towards standardization, in particular, in the area of interfaces.

The exchange and/or management of data is always a question of trust. Generally, the customers‘ trust in IT systems has significantly increased in the past years. Highly sensitive information is entrusted to platforms today – not only transport data, but also, for example, technical sketches of new products. Each of the parties involved must be able to rely on the fact that the processes are secure. As founding member of the International Data Spaces Association IDSA, Setlog is also open for open source solutions with regard to the infrastructure.

Open Source offers advantages in competition

Those who isolate themselves when it comes to open source do not do themselves or their customers any favors – on the contrary: they will lose. For well-documented programming interfaces can represent a competitive advantage for logistics IT companies as new services can be developed on this basis.