This document describes different ways and use cases of integration between KanbanBOX and other Company external software, as for example ERP, MES, WMS and business intelligence applications.
Common integration use cases
These are some of the most common use cases of integration between KanbanBOX and external software:
|Purchase/Production orders opening
|a) Real-time purchase/production orders opening when a kanban card is released.
b) Batch purchase/production orders opening.
|Purchase/Production orders closing
|c) Real-time purchase/production orders closing when a kanban card is set to full.
d) Batch purchase/production orders closing.
|Issuing materials from the inventory
|e) Issuing materials from the inventory when a kanban container is consumed.
|Aligning KanbanBOX and ERP master data
|f) Nightly alignment of KanbanBOX data with ERP master data.
|Automatic update of kanban loop parameters
|g) Changing the kanban loop supplier basing on current list price conditions.
|h) Connecting a business intelligence software to KanbanBOX database.
i) Connecting an Excel file to KanbanBOX database.
Some of these cases are discussed in detail.
Case a) Real-time purchase/production orders opening when a kanban card is released
In this use case, a webhook is set up for the “set released” event of purchase/production kanban. Every time a kanban card is set released, the webhook sends a message to the ERP connected web service url, containing all the event details such as part number, supplier, customer, quantity, due date…
The web service script, running inside the company intranet, opens the corresponding purchase/production order in the company ERP.
Optionally, using the API, the same script can write back the order number on the KanbanBOX kanban card. This number can even be printed in human or barcode format on the physical kanban card for future usage.
With automatic purchase/production orders creation, you don’t have to manually create these orders in your ERP, and you can be sure that information will be always aligned in real time. Writing the order reference back on the kanban card, you can print additional information and barcodes on the kanban card, making it a perfect substitute of your production label.
Case b) batch purchase/production orders opening
By calling the KanbanBOX API, the batch script running on the external server retrieves the list of all the released cards in a specific time frame, complete with information like part number, supplier, customer, quantity, release date and time, due date, container…
For each record in the list, the script opens a purchase or production order using the kanban card ID as unique identifier.
With automatic purchase/production orders creation, you don’t have to manually create these orders in your ERP, and you can be sure that information will be always aligned with a maximum delay of one day. When granular order data is not needed, by opening batch orders you are minimizing the number of order rows in your ERP.
Case c) issuing materials from the inventory when a kanban container is consumed
This use case is especially useful whenever you are not able or don’t want to use backflush materials issuing procedure. Common cases are materials out of the BOM (screws and low value materials) or materials without a discrete consumption (grease, powder coatings…).
In this use case, a webhook is set up for the “consumption” event of kanban cards. Every time a full kanban card is set to another state (empty or released), the webhook sends a message to the ERP connected web service url, containing all the event details such as part number, supplier, customer, consumed quantity, consumption date…
The web service script, running inside the company intranet, issues the materials from the inventory in the company ERP.
Maintaining a correct inventory record when backflush procedures are not in place is always a time consuming and error-prone task. Using electronic kanban in this case frees up man-hours of data entry, guaranteeing a precision of more or less one container (which is usually more than acceptable for such kind of materials).
KanbanBOX tools for software integration
KanbanBOX offers the following tools to create automated or semi-automated software integration application:
- API (Application Programming Interface)
- Excel data export
- FTP export of data
The KanbanBOX API is a HTTP-based REST API. By calling the API with standard HTTP requests, an external software may read and write information on KanbanBOX.
The API is the best choice when you want to run batch procedures on your server in order to align data between KanbanBOX and other systems, or when the user is working on your external software interface and you want to trigger real-time data read and write in KanbanBOX.
The KanbanBOX API may serve data in different formats, including xml, csv, json, html.
Full API documentation is available at:
Webhooks are user-defined HTTP callbacks. Every time events happen in KanbanBOX (as, for example, when a kanban card changes its status), KanbanBOX can send a HTTP request containing the event details to an user-defined web url.
Some examples of KanbanBOX events, and the most used one, are:
- a kanban card is released (supplier is authorized to replenish);
- a kanban card is set to done (the production process is completed);
- a kanban card is set to full (the replenishment cycle is completed);
- a kanban card is consumed.
You can create a simple web service on your server, connected to your ERP or external software, and make KanbanBOX trigger the web service functions in order to create real-time integration.
Full webhooks documentation is available at:
Excel data export
Many software offer the opportunity of importing and exporting data in Excel format.
Using the KanbanBOX web interface, users may export and import kanban data in Excel format. This is usually the quickest and cheapest way to create semi-automated integration when the actual needs don’t justify any more automated development.
FTP export of data
FTP export works like webhooks, but in this case KanbanBOX writes event data on a file in a user specified FTP folder.
Output files can be CSV, XML, JSON, HTML. Format of data can be easily customized.
KanbanBOX can either write a new file for each event, or append data to the same file.
For SAP users, we can also provide IDOC compatible output files.