This glossary describes key Chain.io concepts, terminology, and products. It's a good place to get started learning how to use Chain.io.
To see how these terms are connected, check out or Hierarchy.
A company represents any entity that manages transactions in the Chain.io portal. This might be a freight forwarder, shipper, carrier, etc. You might be inviting to join multiple companies, especially if you are a service provider or software provider who has multiple customers utilizing the platform.
A connection represents one of your trading partner's systems and the instructions on how Chain.io should communicate. You setup a connection for each system that you want to exchange data with, and inside the connection you provide communications details like the protocol (SFTP, API, etc) and other relevant technical details. If you're not sure about all of these details let us know and we can help you configure the right settings.
For example, if you receive a booking from a customer, that would be a single flow execution. One flow execution can also contain many records. For example, if a customer sends you a file with 1,000 new product records, all 1,000 would be processed in a single flow execution.
Your host system is the main system that manages your logistics or supply chain activities. It's often your Transportation, Freight, or Warehouse Management system (TMS, FMS, WMS). It might also be your Enterprise Resource Planning system (ERP). Most companies have one host system configured, though you may have two or more depending on the complexity of your business. Most Chain.io integrations move between a host system and a trading partner connection.
For example, if you are a freight forwarder and you process your shipments in a fictional system called CargoSuper3000, then you'd configure that as your host system. You'd then create trading partner connections for things like your accounting software or your customers' order management systems.
Integrations are the heart of the Chain.io system. Within your trading partner, integrations are how you link up your host system with a connection to accomplish a specific business tasks. Integrations are categorized by their business purpose and cover things like "Receive a Purchase Order" or "Send an Invoice".
In our integrations, words like "Send" and "Receive" are always from the perspective of your host system, so if you see "Send" that means the data will start in your host system and go out to your trading partner.
Inside each integration you'll choose the appropriate data formats for both your host system and your trading partner and any business specific options. For example, if you are sending an invoice, you may configure the integration to change your charge codes into the codes your customer's payables department expects.
A trading partner represents someone (or something) that you'd like to exchange data with. It could be another company like a carrier, agent, or customer. It could also be another department or area of your company like accounting or your business intelligence team.
A user is an individual who has an email address registered with Chain.io and can log into our portal. Anyone can create a Chain.io user account. In order for your user account to be useful, you need to create or be invited to a company.