August 3rd, 2021

Order-X. It sounds mysterious, almost like it's something out of a James Bond movie! But Order-X isn’t a secret, and it’s certainly not from a movie.

Instead, Order-X was born out of an international collaboration. The German Forum on Electronic Invoicing (FeRD) and the French National Forum for Electronic Billing and Electronic Procurement (FNFE-MPE) have developed a standard for electronic orders (e-orders) to complement an existing standard for electronic invoicing (e-invoicing), known as ZUGFeRD in Germany and as Factur-X in France. Ideally, both standards working alongside each other will ensure a consistent procure-to-pay workflow for both man and machine.

But before we go deeper into the Order-X standard, let’s talk about e-orders.

What Is E-Ordering?

An e-order, as the name suggests, is an electronic order. E-ordering is a necessary step in automating the procurement process (e-procurement), and it is indispensable when 100% supply chain digitalization is the end goal.

As we repeatedly express, the first step in any supply chain automation plan is the implementation of e-invoicing. From there, e-procurement is the logical next step. Here are a few major benefits:

  • Cost savings (on top of the costs already saved with e-invoicing)
  • Accuracy, as the order no longer needs to be entered manually
  • Time savings from the elimination of manual entry

What Is the Order-X Standard?

The Order-X standard is based on the UN/CEFACT Supply Chain Reference Data Model (SCRDM). The SCRDM provides an international foundation for establishing data exchange structures (format) for both public and private organizations.  

Order-X is a hybrid format. Meaning, it consists of a PDF file with embedded XML code. This hybrid format makes Order-X documents readable by both humans and computers, making it very suitable for SMEs. In fact, its main advantage is that it can replace the traditional exchange of PDF (or paper) orders with PDF orders containing structured data that can be automatically processed by a computer. Thus, Order-X provides the best of both worlds: In any case, it is a PDF that can be read by a human (no special technology required), and it’s an electronic document that can be processed automatically when the receiver’s system is properly configured.

Order-X in Practice

As the name suggests, Order-X is a standard format for electronic orders (AKA purchase orders). Because it is based on the same data model as ZUGFeRD/Factur-X, Order-X enables a seamless procure-to-pay process when both are used.  

To elaborate, Order-X supports three different order notifications, all of which are needed to support the procure-to-pay workflow:

A purchase order that is sent from the buyer to the supplier.

The order confirmation, rejection, or change that is sent from the supplier to the buyer.

A change to the order sent by the buyer to the supplier (as opposed to the other way around).

Are You Ready for the Next Step in Supply Chain Automation?

At TIE Kinetix, we help you to achieve a 100% digital supply chain and will work with you to meet your e-ordering goals, Order-X or other. And with any-to-any translation services, we’ll help you to meet your buyers’ requirements or vice versa. In addition, our advanced validation techniques will ensure that all e-invoice data is always cross checked with e-orders and other relevant documents. This allows you to streamline your digital processes to (near) perfection.