IoL entities can be “linked” or “connected” to each other using associations. There are two types of associations in IoL:
- Hard associations are maintained automatically by the IoL Core platform and are only available with certain IoL entity types designed to work as a pair.
- Soft associations can be created between any two IoL entities in a one-to-one or one-to-many model using the Associations API. Use soft associations when external application logic shall create or delete associations dynamically based on business logic needs.
Examples of hard associations are TransportInstructions with associated TransportStatus updates, and Assets with associated AssetEvents. Hard associations are maintained automatically by the system and cannot be managed by the Associations API.
Examples of soft associations are:
- A TradeUnit and a TransportInstruction are associated (because the product is being sent with the shipment)
- A TradeUnit and an Asset are associated (because the product is stored on a smart pallet or loaded onto a connected vehicle)
- A Location and a TradeUnit are associated (because the product is stored there)
- An Asset and a TransportInstruction are associated (because the shipment uses a specific asset, like a vehicle)