Leveraging Technology in Parts Distribution

Leveraging Technology in Parts Distribution

While parts distribution may be perceived as somewhat of a “low-tech” business, the reality is that many suppliers do employ valuable functionality in their operations. However, not all the available tools are being used by customers.
One such tool is SOAP integration. SOAP – or Simple Object Access Protocol – is a way for a program running in one kind of operating system to communicate with a program in the same or another kind of operating system by using the web’s Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and its Extensible Markup Language (XML) as the mechanisms for information exchange. Think of it as sort of a translator that is able to exchange data between disparate systems.  Encompass offers web services description language (WSDL) files for all of our services.  This provides a machine-readable description of how the service can be called, what parameters it expects, and what data structures it returns.  Most modern programming languages can use this to automatically build a basic call to the web service.
Robert Coolidge
President & CEO
In parts distribution, suppliers that can offer their customers SOAP connectivity are able to provide instant access to real-time information on inventory and pricing, order placement, returns services and more. This dynamic interface is especially helpful in ensuring up-to-the-minute pricing, which can fluctuate throughout the day.  Another key benefit is having immediate visibility to available parts and the ability to place an order right then and there – locking in pricing before it changes and claiming a part before it is sold to someone else.
The alternative is to receive inventory and price files from a distributor a few times a day like many customers do.  However, after the file is sent, pricing can change and parts previously displayed as available could be sold. File uploads just can’t provide the same reliable information as real-time SOAP interfacing.
Encompass offers SOAP service to our customers, which enables customers to:

  • Search by model
  • View a model parts list
  • Obtain parts information
  • Create orders
  • Check order status
  • Get invoice information
  • Cancel an order
  • Generate a return request

This allows Encompass’ data and services to be embedded in your business applications as you choose.  There are some development time and costs involved, but the instantaneous benefits could be immense depending on your organization’s parts volume.

If you’re interested in exploring SOAP connectivity with Encompass, please contact Brent Blair, Vice President of IT, at 800.432.8542, ext. 1331 or visit encompassparts.com/soap for a complete list of tags and available code.


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