Don't let the technical nature fool you – anyone can set up a solid API with the right fleet management system and thorough documentation.
What is an API?
Many robust platforms come ready with prepackaged features designed to keep your fleet management in one place, but what happens when you need to integrate with another application that's vital to your business operations? That's where APIs come in handy.
An API, more formally known as an application programming interface, is custom code that can be used to sync data and functions between separate platforms, like adding, updating or deleting data. A good example of API use is pulling service entries and work orders from your fleet management system into your accounting software, effectively negating the need for double entry and ensuring that information is consistent across both platforms.
Fleetio makes it easy for app developers, IT teams and third-party software providers to build more power into the platform we provide, helping fleet managers avoid the tedious process of importing and exporting data and maintain consistency across systems.
We keep our API open and accessible to anyone for building integrations, and with our web and mobile apps sharing the same API, there are innumerable ways to get creative with your business tech stack, including:
Importing odometer readings from other systems
Pulling DTC alerts or engine faults from your telematics devices
Updating a vehicle's status based on a trigger from another system
Pushing maintenance costs into your accounting system
How to Set Up an API, Even If You're Not a Developer
Setting up an API may sound like a bit of a technical bear, but you don't have to be a developer to make an API work for you. In fact, Fleetio's own product managers Ben Weinberg and Reagan Cline successfully set up an integration with Cloverly, a carbon offset platform, without any significant programming background.
Weinberg and Cline were headed out west on a road trip to Summit County, Colorado, from Birmingham, Alabama – a total drive of nearly 5,000 miles. With each stop they made, they entered their mileage as well as fuel quantity and cost into our mobile app, Fleetio Go.
At the end of the trip, they used a quick API script they created themselves to transfer that data to Cloverly and figure out their total carbon expenditure, allowing them to send their proceeds to remain carbon neutral to Doe Mountain, an improved forest management area in northeast Tennessee.
Documentation was key to Weinberg and Cline's API setup with Cloverly, between plotting out their own thought process and then translating that into API implementation.
"We had to think on a high level about the real things that had to happen to make [the API] work," Weinberg said. "Figuring it out in plain English was helpful, and once we had the flow in layman's terms, Fleetio's API documentation made it super easy to make a connection between each step of the API and figure exactly what we had to do to make it happen."
Fleetio offers extensive developer tools and API support so that our system can be leveraged by fleet managers as seamlessly as possible. You can also check out Weinberg and Cline's flow below to see exactly how it was done.
Want to learn more about how API use can impact your fleet? We recently launched episode 2 of our podcast The Fleet Code, where Luciano Briozzo of OTL Solutions and Dominique Luepi of Fleetio discuss how APIs work and how they can improve fleet profitability.