Connect and Communicate at the Speed of eCommerce

Connectivity is an essential ingredient in digitizing and automating supply chain processes. This blog explores how Sendflex’s next-generation parcel TMS platform makes integration to APIs, data sources, and “things” like scales, printers, and robotics easier than ever, speeding up time to benefits.

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In-person shopping has made a notable comeback in recent post-pandemic years, yet the convenience of eCommerce continues to dominate consumer preferences. A recent study reveals that over half of consumers do the majority of their shopping online, highlighting the ongoing trend toward digital retail. Many retailers have adopted an omnichannel sales and distribution model and diversified their parcel carrier networks to meet evolving consumer demands, but these transitions are not without challenges.

Ensuring seamless data capture, transfer, and maintenance is critical in an eCommerce environment that demands efficiency and speed. The solution lies in integrating disparate supply chain systems, and connectivity is at the heart of digitization and automation efforts. However, a recent Pitney Bowes survey found that integration concerns are the top challenge for respondents. That’s because historically, connectivity has not been a simple task.

This blog explores the critical role of connectivity in modern eCommerce operations and how next-generation parcel TMS platforms like Sendflex help facilitate integration with APIs, data sources, and devices such as scales, printers, and robotics. The advantages of low-code integrations offer a path to accelerated time to benefit that can help retail shippers enhance their operations and keep pace with the speed of eCommerce.

The Role of Connectivity in Digitized Supply Chains

In the rapidly evolving eCommerce environment, the seamless integration of systems and applications is crucial for ensuring smooth operations and effective communication among retailers, consumers, and parcel delivery partners. While EDI has been foundational in establishing B2B information-sharing networks, its limitations in adaptability and speed are quickly making it the more antiquated and cumbersome solution. More than ever businesses find themselves in an API economy, shifting from traditional batch EDI methods to more real-time API-based interactions among supply chain partners. APIs offer a more agile and cost-effective approach, enabling quicker implementation and more scalable integrations, which are crucial for adapting to the fast-paced demands of eCommerce and parcel logistics.

The shift towards API-driven integrations has been essential for shippers managing more diversified parcel delivery networks. The benefits of this connectivity are multifaceted:

  • Enhanced visibility across the entire shipping process.
  • Improved data accuracy, reducing errors and miscommunications.
  • Faster information flow, enabling quicker decision-making and agility.
  • Streamlined operations through better integration with enterprise logistics systems.

By leveraging API-led connectivity, eCommerce businesses can achieve a competitive advantage through increased efficiency, more data-driven decision-making, and greater transparency. The drive for digital transformation in parcel shipping is clear: by embracing advanced connectivity, businesses can navigate eCommerce challenges with greater agility and precision.

Legacy Shipping System Connectivity Challenges

Transitioning to a more integrated and efficient eCommerce shipping operation presents notable challenges, particularly when dealing with legacy parcel shipping systems. These traditional systems were designed at a time when the UPS/FedEx duopoly thrived and multi-carrier shipping options were quite limited. Connectivity to other carriers and other systems required legacy system providers to invest in time-consuming and resource-intensive connector development. While vendors worry about the financial return on their development effort, shippers worry about the lost opportunity to streamline supply chain processes to meet changing market demands and consumer expectations.

And the consequences of the development-heavy integration approaches extend far beyond the initial costs and time commitment. New connectors require a permanent commitment to ongoing maintenance. Shippers often find themselves at the mercy of shipping system vendor schedules, waiting weeks for critical updates, limiting their ability to effectively diversify carrier services and recognize any cost savings.

These challenges highlight the need for a more effortless and sustainable approach to integration. Low-code integration tools offered by parcel TMS systems provide a path to reducing prolonged and costly integration efforts.

Cutting Integration Costs and Time to Benefit with Sendflex Connect

Recognizing the need for a more agile approach to parcel system integrations, Sendflex developed a Connect module that avoids the pitfalls of traditional costly and resource-intensive integration methods. Sendflex Connect reduces connectivity to carrier APIs, data sources, and devices to essentially a data mapping exercise, standardizing and modularizing the more technical aspects of integration.

The result? For shippers, faster time to benefit. And for vendors, faster time to revenue as non-developers can use “low code” Connect tools to complete integration tasks in a fraction of the time traditional connector development would take. Everyone wins.

Sendflex Connect effectively redefines how shippers integrate with other data sources and devices, enhancing efficiency and streamlining operations by seamlessly integrating diverse systems and services, including:

Carrier APIs

More carrier APIs are available than ever before, including regional delivery, gig economy shipping, zone skipping, and fourth-party logistics (4PL), resulting in significant margin improvements for shippers. With Sendflex Connect, system integrators can directly link to carrier APIs, speeding up the diversification of shipper delivery networks. The days of waiting for legacy system vendors to integrate their services are over.

Enterprise System APIs

Digital storefronts, OMS, WMS, and TMS systems can use Sendflex APIs for both single transaction and batch processing, enhancing fulfillment operations well before the point of shipping at the end of a conveyor. The Connect module makes integrating with enterprise or local data sources easy using the same techniques as carrier API connectivity. System integrators simply choose data source types, outline connectivity tasks, and use no-code instructions to effortlessly map data. With Sendflex, shippers can accelerate integration projects and focus on using powerful optimization capabilities to automate intelligent, data-driven decisions.


“Internet of Things” is no longer an abstract concept on the emerging technology curve. Automated material handling, robotics, and fulfillment processes are now critical components in reducing labor costs and achieving perfect orders. Sendflex makes it easy to connect to scales, dimensional weighing devices, packaging machines, thermal label printers, and other IoT devices. Whether deployed as a secure client or from the cloud, the Connect service makes IoT integration straightforward, removing complex barriers and facilitating rapid implementation.

Web Services

The expansion of web services offers unprecedented opportunities to cut costs and optimize customer delivery experiences. Sendflex’s Connect module streamlines the integration of essential services like hazardous material compliance, international customs, and cartonization directly into the fulfillment process. How, when, and where to use these services are easily defined and applied using Sendflex optimization instructions during simulation, planning, and execution.

The integration facilitated by Sendflex’s Connect module is a leap forward in eCommerce logistics, transforming complex processes into streamlined operations. By embracing these advanced connectivity solutions, shippers can meet today's demands while anticipating tomorrow's challenges.

Discover the Future of Connectivity with Sendflex

Connectivity and comprehensive data-sharing are propelling eCommerce ventures to new heights of innovation and operational efficiency. These elements are critical for retailers that want to streamline processes and stay aligned with dynamic consumer expectations. By integrating sophisticated connectivity solutions, shippers can optimize internal workflows while enhancing the overall customer experience, setting a new standard in the digital commerce space.

Discover the transformative impact of Sendflex’s Parcel TMS platform on your shipping and fulfillment strategies. Schedule a consultation today to explore how our innovative solutions can elevate your eCommerce business. Embrace the future of connectivity with Sendflex.


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