Electronic Data Interchange is a need that every business should begin to acknowledge and, upon realization, benefit from error-free and efficient documented business transactions. Before you start exploring options in the market flooded with EDI service providers, knowledge about the working of an EDI system. Towards this goal, in this article we about the all-you-need-to-know details of some common EDI file formats that EDI messages are composed in. It’s important to note that these are only the formats, and all use the .edi extension.
The ASC X12 (Accredited Standards Committee) is the most general of the EDI formats, and also the most widely used. ANSI specifies a wide list of document types, covering fields such as tax services, warehousing, finance, manufacturing, and logistics.
Probably the most significant of formats, the Electronic Data Interchange For Administration, Commerce and Transport was designed under the United Nations. The format has provisions that facilitate multi-country and multi-industry exchange, making it relevant in global transactions.
IDOC (or Intermediate Document) was designed by SAP to contain the data to be exchanged between two EDI systems. This format is commonly used in SAP ERP systems.
This format, specified in the GS1 system for information transactions, describes document types that are most common in retail sector, especially the UK retail industry. The message types in the TRADACOMS specification range from “buy/sell orders” to “supply details”.
EANCOM is another specification design by GS1 that has more detailed message designs for various document types including “credit advice”, “sales report”, and “inventory report”.
Open Applications Group Integration Specification is a standard developed by the Open Applications Group(OAGi). It is designed around the idea of interoperability of data formats between different companies. It implements XML in order to detailing business messages.
This format is used by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (or Verband der Automobilindustrie). The format specifies the EDI standard for various types of documents that are commonly shared amongst automobile manufacturers, parts manufacturers, and suppliers. Most businesses are unlikely to use the format unless they wish to transact with a member of the German automotive industry.
As you may infer, some formats are pretty general, like CSV or XML, while others are industry-specific, like the VDA for example, and only allow transmission of the specified message types.
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