The definitions represent the meanings understood and shared by the majority of the EDI and E-invoicing community. Explore the different sections with detailed terminology explanations:

Message Types

Electronic data interchange (EDI) exchanges between trading partners are often referred to as EDI messages. Each message contains a structured set of data relative to the information that is contained within the specific message, for example, an invoice.

There are overarching terms, like invoices and purchase orders, that are message types in and of themselves. However, various terms may represent the same EDI message type when EDI standards are involved, each of which provide their own terminology and structured data requirements for a particular message. For instance, an invoice is referred to as an EDI 810 according to the ANSI X12 standard, but it is referred to as INVOIC according to the UN/EDIFACT standard. The data contained within the invoice is structured differently as well. 

Here you will find common EDI message types—general terminology and message types that are specific to popular EDI standards. 
 

  • Acknowledgment: Electronic data exchanges via EDI often require confirmation on certain messages to show that the message has been delivered, its status, and any changes that may require human action. An electronic acknowledgment message is used, for example, to confirm receipt of a purchase order. 

    There are many types of electronic acknowledgment messages, but one of the most common is the EDI 855 Purchase Order Acknowledgment. When using the ANSI X12 standard for electronic document interchange (EDI), a buyer (sender) transmits an EDI 850 Purchase Order to their supplier (receiver) and the supplier then confirms receipt of the purchase order by sending an EDI 855 in response. 
     
  • ACH: (Automated Clearing House) An ACH payment is a type of EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) that is used to transfer funds from one bank account to another via the ACH network as opposed to sending money from one banking card to another. It can only be used to transfer payments within the United States. 
     
  • APERAK: (Application Error and Acknowledgement Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, the APERAK is the six-character name for an electronic application error and acknowledgement message.

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of APERAK is as follows: The function of this message is: a) to inform a message issuer that his message has been received by the addressee's application and has been rejected due to errors encountered during its processing in the application. b) to acknowledge to a message issuer the receipt of his message by the addressee's application. You can read the extended definition of the APERAK message on the UN/EDIFACT website here
     
  • ASN: The ASN (Advanced Shipping Notice/Advance Ship Notice) is one of the most important EDI communication protocols—especially for retailers—when it comes to assuring that an order will be delivered as promised. 

    In North America, it’s often referred to as the EDI 856 Ship Notice/Manifest in accordance with the American National Standards Institute’s X12 standard (ANSI X12). In Europe, it’s most often referred to as the DESADV in accordance with the United Nation’s EDIFACT standard. And sometimes it’s just referred to as a delivery notice. 

    The ASN contains the following information: 
    - Order(s) shipped
    - Individual line item shipped quantity,
    - Product descriptions
    - Carrier information and tracking number
    - Estimated delivery date and time
    - Packaging description
    - Barcode labels for receiving (if applicable)
    - Pallet codes (if applicable)
     
  • BALANC: (Balance Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, BALANC is the six-character name for an electronic balance message. The BALANC message is used for the transmission of finance-related data within an enterprise organization and/or other financial stakeholders. 

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of BALANC is as follows: A message used to exchange enterprise related balances between the enterprise and whoever may use them for the purpose of accounting, auditing, cost accounting, consolidation, financial analysis, etc. You can read the extended definition of the BALANC message on the UN/EDIFACT website here
     
  • BANSTA: (Banking Status Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, BANSTA is the six-character name for an electronic banking status message. 

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of BANSTA is as follows: A BANSTA message is sent by a financial institution to its customer and/or vice versa and among financial institutions. It is used for all kind of enquiries, answers and status information at application level.
     
  • Bill of Lading: A bill of lading is a document necessary in the shipment of commercial goods. It contains information on the seller and necessary freight details for the carrier, for example, if freight charges are required upon delivery. The bill of lading also serves as an official transfer of ownership from seller to buyer and is used to verify that the shipment has been received. A signature may be required. 
     
  • DELFOR: (Delivery Schedule Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, DELFOR is the six-character name for an electronic delivery schedule message. 

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of DELFOR is as follows: DELFOR is a message which is sent from a party who is planning the use or consumption of products to a party who has to plan for the supply of the products. The message gives the requirements regarding details for short term delivery and/or medium to long scheduling for products. The scheduling can be used to authorize manufacturing and or the provision of materials.

    This is based on the terms and conditions defined in a purchase order or contract. The message may also be sent in response by a party which has received a DELFOR message to indicate to the party which has issued the message, the acceptance of, rejection of, or to propose amendments to the previous message. You can read the extended definition of the DELFOR message on the UN/EDIFACT website here
     
  • DELJIT: (Delivery Just In Time Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, DELJIT is the six-character name for an electronic delivery just in time message. The DELJIT message is often used to support just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing practices. It is sent from the customer, who is most likely a manufacturer, to a supplier (most likely of raw materials) to define necessary scheduling requirements that will enable a successful JIT approach. 

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of DELJIT is as follows: A message provides the ability for a customer to convey precise delivery sequence and Just In Time schedule requirements to a supplier, and is intended to supplement the Delivery Schedule Message (DELFOR). You can read the extended definition of the DELJIT message on the UN/EDIFACT website here
     
  • DESADV: (Despatch Advice Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, the DESADV is the six-character name for an electronic dispatch advice, or shipping notice. It’s one of the most commonly used EDI messages, especially among retailers. The DESADV is more commonly referred to in North America as the ASN (Advanced Shipping Notice) or EDI 856 in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard for electronic document exchange.

    The DESADV contains the following information: 
    - Order(s) shipped
    - Individual line item shipped quantity,
    - Product descriptions
    - Carrier information and tracking number
    - Estimated delivery date and time
    - Packaging description
    - Barcode labels for receiving (if applicable)
    - Pallet codes (if applicable)

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of DESADV is as follows: A message specifying details for goods despatched or ready for despatch under agreed conditions. The United Nations Despatch Advice Message serves both as a specification for Delivery Despatch Advice and also as a Returns Despatch Advice message. Throughout this document, the reference to 'Despatch Advice' may be interpreted as conveying the wider meaning of 'Delivery Despatch Advice/Returns Despatch Advice'. You can read the extended definition of DESADV on the UN/EDIFACT website here
     
  • DESTIM: (Equipment Damage and Repair Estimate Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, the DESTIM is the six-character name for an electronic equipment damage and repair estimate message.

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of DESTIM is as follows: A message for use by the container repair, shipping and leasing industry. It may be used by a container equipment repair depot to send an owner or user a description of damages to the equipment, as an estimate of the repair actions and costs needed to rectify such damages. A recipient owner may forward the estimate to a lessee. The message may also be used by an owner or lessee as an authorization message to the repair depot to perform the repairs indicated in the estimate, and as an acknowledgment of his willingness to pay for those repairs indicated in the estimate for his account. You can read the extended definition of the DESTIM message on the UN/EDIFACT website here
     
  • EDI 810: (Invoice) An EDI 810 is an electronic invoice in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard, one of the most commonly used EDI standards in North America. In a typical business scenario, a supplier sends an invoice to a customer (buyer) following the fulfillment of a purchase order (PO), or EDI 850 in ANSI X12 terms. 

    An invoice contains, but is not limited to, the following information:
    - Business information (address, phone number, etc.) for both buyer and supplier
    - Line items that clearly list the charged goods and/or services 
    - Date of issue
    - Payment terms (e.g., must be paid within 30 days)
    - Total amount owed
    - Tax or VAT (if applicable)

    The official ANSI X12 definition is as follows: The EDI 810 Invoice Transaction Set can be used to provide for customary and established business and industry practice relative to the billing for goods and services provided.
     
  • EDI 846: (Inventory Inquiry/Advice) An EDI 846 is an electronic inventory inquiry/advice in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard, one of the most commonly used EDI standards in North America. An EDI 846 is often used in the manufacturing industry, and it works two ways; it can be sent by the supplier or it can be sent by the buyer. 

    A supplier can send an EDI 846 to a customer to inform them on inventory levels that may be relevant according to their buying patterns. On the other hand, a customer can send an EDI 846 as a self-led check-up on supplier inventory levels. It helps to facilitate realistic planning on both ends, as it sets expectations and provides a reference point for stock-level inquiries.

    Many ask the difference between EDI 846 vs. EDI 852. EDI 846 is an inquiry into true inventory status while EDI 852 is more focused on accurate inventory calculations, planning, and forecasting.

    The official ANSI X12 definition is as follows: The EDI 846 Inventory Inquiry/Advice Transaction Set can be used in the following ways: (1) for a seller of goods and services to provide inventory information to a prospective purchaser, with no obligation to the purchaser to acquire these goods or services; (2) for a representative of a seller of goods and services to supply inventory information to that seller; (3) for one location to supply another location with inventory information; and (4) for an inquiry as to the availability of inventory with no obligation on the seller of goods and services to reserve that inventory.
     
  • EDI 850: (Purchase Order) An EDI 850 is an electronic purchase order (PO) in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard, one of the most commonly used EDI standards in North America. It’s one of the most commonly exchanged EDI documents across all industries. In a typical business scenario, a buyer—retailer or other—sends an EDI 850 to a supplier to order goods and/or services after which the supplier sends an invoice (EDI 810).

    An EDI 850 contains, but is not limited to, the following information:
    - Description of goods and/or services requested presented as individual line items
    - Quantity of goods/and or services requested
    - Delivery terms (i.e., must be delivered within 10 days)
    - Total amount to be invoiced 

    The official ANSI X12 definition is as follows: The EDI X12 850 Purchase Order Transaction Set can be used to provide for customary and established business and industry practice relative to the placement of purchase orders for goods and services. This transaction set should not be used to convey purchase order changes or purchase order acknowledgment information.

    It is important to emphasize the point above. The EDI 850 Purchase Order (commonly referred to as EDI 850 PO, or simply PO) is meant for EDI orders only. In a traditional EDI 850 layout, each individual product is listed as a line item and the order total to be invoiced is calculated at the bottom. The layout also includes typical sender and receiver information, such as company name and contact information, for example.
     
  • EDI 852: (Product Activity Data) An EDI 852 is an electronic message regarding product activity data and is in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard, one of the most commonly used EDI standards in North America. It’s often used in the automotive and pharmaceutical industries as a means of maintaining healthy inventory levels.

    Many ask the difference between EDI 852 vs. 846. EDI 852 is more focused on accurate inventory calculations, planning, and forecasting, while EDI 846 is an inquiry into true inventory status.

    Furthermore, the data contained within the EDI 852 transaction set is often compared with that of an EDI 867 Product Transfer and Resale Report, which provides information on product movement between locations and how that relates back to the end customer. EDI 852 and 867 are often viewed together for a more detailed overview.

    The official ANSI X12 definition is as follows: The EDI 852 Product Activity Data Transaction Set can be used to advise a trading partner of inventory, sales, and other product activity information. Product activity data enables a trading partner to plan and ship, or propose inventory replenishment quantities, for distribution centers, warehouses or retail outlets.

    The receiver of the transaction set will maintain some type of inventory/product movement records for its trading partners to enable replenishment calculations based on data provided by the distributor, warehouse or retailer.
     
  • EDI 855: (Purchase Order Acknowledgment) An EDI 855 is a purchase order acknowledgment in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard, one of the most commonly used EDI standards in North America. It is used across all industries. In a typical business scenario, a supplier receives a purchase order (EDI 850) from a customer and then confirms receipt of that order by sending an EDI 855 in response. 

    The EDI 855 also contains information on whether or not the purchase order has been accepted, rejected, or accepted with changes. This information is presented as an EDI 855 rejection code and is contained within the EDI document.

    The official ANSI X12 definition is as follows: The EDI 855 Purchase Order Acknowledgment Transaction Set can be used to provide for customary and established business and industry practice relative to a seller's acknowledgment of a buyer's purchase order, hence the name Purchase Order Acknowledgment. The EDI 855 transaction set can also be used as notification of a vendor generated order. This usage advises a buyer that a vendor has or will ship merchandise as prearranged in their partnership.
     
  • EDI 856: (Ship Notice/Manifest) An EDI 856 is an electronic ship notice/manifest in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard, one of the most commonly used EDI standards in North America. In North America, the EDI 856 is also commonly referred to as an ASN (Advanced Shipping Notice). In Europe, it is often referred to as the DESADV (dispatch advice) in accordance with the EDIFACT standard. 

    The EDI 856 contains the following information: 
    - Order(s) shipped
    - Individual line item shipped quantity,
    - Product descriptions
    - Carrier information and tracking number
    - Estimated delivery date and time
    - Packaging description
    - Barcode labels for receiving (if applicable)
    - Pallet codes (if applicable)

    The official ANSI X12 definition is as follows: The EDI 856 Ship Notice/Manifest Transaction Set can be used to list the contents of a shipment of goods as well as additional information relating to the shipment, such as order information, product description, physical characteristics, type of packaging, marking, carrier information, and configuration of goods within the transportation equipment. The transaction set enables the sender to describe the contents and configuration of a shipment in various levels of detail and provides an ordered flexibility to convey information.

    The sender of this transaction is the organization responsible for detailing and communicating the contents of a shipment, or shipments, to one or more receivers of the transaction set. The receiver of this transaction set can be any organization having an interest in the contents of a shipment or information about the contents of a shipment.
     
  • EDI 860: (Purchase Order Change Request – Buyer Initiated) An EDI 860 is a buyer initiated purchase order change request in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard, one of the most commonly used EDI standards in North America. The EDI 860 can be used for a buyer to request a change to a purchase order (EDI 850) that they have already submitted, or to accept a modification to the purchase order made by the supplier via an EDI 855 Purchase Order Acknowledgement. 

    The official ANSI X12 definition is as follows: The EDI 860 Purchase Order Change Request - Buyer Initiated Transaction Set can be used to provide the information required for the customary and established business and industry practice relative to a purchase order change. This transaction can be used: (1) by a buyer to request a change to a previously submitted purchase order or (2) by a buyer to confirm acceptance of a purchase order change initiated by the seller or by mutual agreement of the two parties.
     
  • EDI 940: (Warehouse Shipping Order) An EDI 940 is an electronic warehouse shipping order in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard, one of the most commonly used EDI standards in North America. In a typical business scenario, a manufacturer uses an EDI 940 to communicate with one of their warehouses regarding shipment information. 

    An EDI 940 is also commonly used in drop-ship scenarios, as many manufacturing companies choose to outsource drop shipping to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider. This can be a huge cost saving opportunity for manufacturers, so it’s good to know the ins-and-outs of drop shipping to make the best decision.

    The official ANSI X12 definition is as follows: The EDI 940 Warehouse Shipping Order Transaction Set can be used to enable the depositor or other business party to advise a warehouse to make a shipment, confirm a shipment, or modify or cancel a previously transmitted shipping order.
     
  • EDI 943: (Warehouse Stock Transfer Shipment Advice) An EDI 943 is an electronic warehouse stock transfer shipment advice in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard, one of the most commonly used EDI standards in North America. In a typical business scenario, a manufacturer uses an EDI 943 to inform one warehouse that they need to ship certain items to an alternative warehouse location. 

    The official ANSI X12 definition is as follows: The EDI 943 Warehouse Stock Transfer Shipment Advice Transaction Set can be used by a depositor or an agent of the depositor or other business party to advise the recipient that a transfer shipment has been made. This transaction set provides a receiving location with detail information concerning product being shipped to that location.
     
  • EDI 944: (Warehouse Stock Transfer Receipt Advice) An EDI 944 is an electronic warehouse stock transfer receipt advice in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard, one of the most commonly used EDI standards in North America. In a typical business scenario, a manufacturer sends an EDI 943 to one warehouse informing them that certain goods need to be shipped to an alternative warehouse location. The alternative warehouse location sends an EDI 944 to the manufacturer to inform them that the intended goods have been received. 

    The official ANSI X12 definition is as follows: The EDI 944 Warehouse Stock Transfer Receipt Advice Transaction Set can be used by a receiving location to advise a depositor or an agent of the depositor or other business party that a transfer shipment has been received. This transaction set provides the depositor or the depositor's agent with detail information concerning product that has been received.
     
  • EDI 945: (Warehouse Shipping Advice) An EDI 945 is an electronic warehouse shipping advice in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard, one of the most commonly used EDI standards in North America. Similar to an advanced shipping notice (EDI 856), an EDI 945 is the warehouse’s way of letting the manufacturer know that their warehouse shipping order (EDI 940) has been fulfilled. 

    Put simply, an EDI 945 lets manufacturers know that their order has shipped from the warehouse and is off to its intended destination, regardless of whether the order is going to a customer or direct to consumer via a drop-ship scenario. 

    The official ANSI X12 definition is as follows: The EDI 945 Warehouse Shipping Advice Transaction Set can be used by the warehouse to advise the depositor or other business party that shipment was made. The 945 EDI document is used to reconcile order quantities with shipment quantities.
     
  • EDI 997: (Functional Acknowledgment) An EDI 997 is an electronic functional acknowledgment (FA) in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard, one of the most commonly used EDI standards in North America. Put simply, the EDI 997 can be used by any and all trading partners and is used to confirm the delivery of electronic information; it’s a technical confirmation that certain EDI data has been delivered to its intended recipient(s). An EDI 997 provides a detailed report on the transmitted data and informs the sender if any further action is necessary.

    The official ANSI X12 definition is as follows: The EDI 997 Functional Acknowledgment Transaction Set can be used to define the control structures for a set of acknowledgments to indicate the results of the syntactical analysis of the electronically encoded documents. The encoded documents are the transaction sets, which are grouped in functional groups, used in defining transactions for business data interchange. This standard does not cover the semantic meaning of the information encoded in the transaction sets.
     
  • EFT: (Electronic Funds Transfer) An EFT is an overarching term that can be used to denote any type of electronic payment in which funds are transferred from one bank account to another within the same financial institution or at different financial institutions.

    For personal use, the most common EFT is moving personal funds from one banking account to another (i.e., moving funds from a checking account at one bank to a savings account at another). In business, wire transfers are a common practice, which also fall under the EFT category. The same goes for ACH (Automated Clearing House) transfers in the U.S. 
     
  • FINCAN: (Financial Cancellation Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, FINCAN is the six-character name for an electronic financial cancellation message.  

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of FINCAN is as follows: A Financial Cancellation Message is sent by the Ordering Customer (or Payor or Agent on behalf of the Ordering Customer) or by a third party having authority on the Ordering Customer's payments to the Ordered Bank to request cancellation of a given financial message or transaction. You can read the extended definition of the FINCAN message on the UN/EDIFACT website here
     
  • FINPAY: (Multiple Interbank Funds Transfer Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, FINPAY is the six-character name for an electronic multiple interbank funds transfer message. 

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of FINPAY is as follows: A multiple interbank funds transfer message is sent between financial institutions to request the transfer of funds in settlement of the referenced business transaction(s). The FINPAY message may be exchanged directly between financial institutions or through a clearing system.

    Depending on the account relationship between the financial institutions, the FINPAY may be used as a payment order and/or as a credit advice. The FINPAY may also be used for collections, documentary credits, direct debits and other financial institution related transfers. You can read the extended definition of the FINCAN message on the UN/EDIFACT website here
     
  • FINSTA: (Financial Statement of an Account Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, FINSTA is the six-character name for an electronic financial statement of an account message. 

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of FINSTA is as follows:   This message can be used to cater for various communication functions between financial institutions and their customers. The most frequent function is to provide a statement of booked items entries on a customer's account. The message type may contain several accounts (quoted in the B-level). You can read the extended definition of the FINSTA message on the UN/EDIFACT website here
     
  • Functional Acknowledgement (FA): Commonly referred to as an EDI 997 in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard, a functional acknowledgment can be used by any and all trading partners to confirm the delivery of electronic information; it’s a technical confirmation that certain EDI data has been delivered to its intended recipient(s). A functional acknowledgment (EDI 997) provides a detailed report on the transmitted data and informs the sender if any further action is necessary.

    The official ANSI X12 definition is as follows: The EDI 997 Functional Acknowledgment Transaction Set can be used to define the control structures for a set of acknowledgments to indicate the results of the syntactical analysis of the electronically encoded documents. The encoded documents are the transaction sets, which are grouped in functional groups, used in defining transactions for business data interchange. This standard does not cover the semantic meaning of the information encoded in the transaction sets.
     
  • GENRAL: (General Purpose Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, GENRAL is the six-character name for an electronic general purpose message. 

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of GENRAL is as follows:  A message to enable the transmission of textual information. You can read the extended definition of the GENRAL message on the UN/EDIFACT website here
     
  • HANMOV: (Cargo/Goods Handling and Movement Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, HANMOV is the six-character name for an electronic cargo/goods handling and movement message. 

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of HANMOV is as follows: This message includes two functionalities: 1.) A message from a party to a warehouse/distribution centre identifying the handling services and where required the movement of specified goods. 2.) A message from a logistic service provider (i.e. warehouse, logistic center, distribution center) to an ordering party reporting the handling services status and where required the movement of specified goods.

    Both are limited to warehouses within the jurisdiction of the distribution centre. You can read the extended definition of the HANMOV message on the UN/EDIFACT website here
     
  • IFTMAN: (Arrival Notice Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, IFTMAN is the six-character name for an electronic arrival notice message.

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of IFTMAN is as follows:   A message from the party providing forwarding and/or transport services to the party such as has been indicated in the contract, giving notice and details of the arrival of the consignment. You can read the extended definition of the IFTMAN message on the UN/EDIFACT website here
     
  • IFTMIN: (Instruction Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, IFTMIN is the six-character name for an electronic instruction message.

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of IFTMIN is as follows:  A message from the party issuing an instruction regarding forwarding/transport services for a consignment under conditions agreed, to the party arranging the forwarding and/or transport services. You can read the extended definition of the IFTMIN message on the UN/EDIFACT website here
     
  • INSDES: (Instruction to Dispatch Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, INSDES is the six-character name for an electronic instruction to dispatch message.

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of INSDES is as follows:   A message from a party to another party who has control over ordered goods, providing instructions to put on hold or to despatch a consignment according to conditions specified in the message. You can read the extended definition of the INSDES message on the UN/EDIFACT website here
     
  • INSRPT: (Inspection Report Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, INSRPT is the six-character name for an electronic inspection report message.

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of INSRPT is as follows: A message sent by a customer's inspection service, or his agent, informing a supplier and other interested parties of the results of  the inspection carried out on items due for despatch to a customer. You can read the extended definition of the INSRPT message on the UN/EDIFACT website here
     
  • INVOIC: (Invoice Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, INVOIC is the six-character name for an electronic invoice. It’s one of the most commonly used EDI messages across industries. In North America, it’s commonly referred to as an EDI 810 in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard. In a typical business scenario, a supplier sends the INVOIC message to a customer (buyer) following the fulfillment of a purchase order (PO), or ORDERS message.  

    The INVOIC message contains, but is not limited to, the following information:
    - Business information (address, phone number, etc.) for both buyer and supplier
    - Line items that clearly list the charged goods and/or services 
    - Date of issue
    - Payment terms (e.g., must be paid within 30 days)
    - Total amount owed
    - Tax or VAT (if applicable)

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition is as follows: A message claiming payment for goods or services supplied under conditions agreed between the seller and the buyer. This specification provides the definition of the Invoice message (INVOIC) to be used in Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) between trading partners involved in administration, commerce and transport. Click here to read the extended definition of INVOIC on the UN/EDIFACT website. 
     
  • INVRPT: (Inventory Report Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, INVRPT is the six-character name for an electronic inventory report. The INVRPT message is often used in the manufacturing industry and serves the purpose of providing information on inventory levels. It works two ways and can be sent by the buyer or by the supplier. In North America, it’s often referred to as an EDI 846 in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard. 

    A supplier can send an INVRPT message to a customer to inform them on inventory levels that may be relevant according to their buying patterns. On the other hand, a customer can send an INVRPT as a self-led check-up on supplier inventory levels. It helps to facilitate realistic planning on both ends, as it sets expectations and provides a reference point for stock-level inquiries.

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition is as follows: A message specifying information relating to held inventories. The Inventory report message is intended to be used in either direction between trading partners. Click here to read the extended definition of INVRPT on the UN/EDIFACT website. 
     
  • ORDCHG: (Purchase Order Change Request Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, ORDCHG is the six-character name for an electronic purchase order change request. The ORDCHG message is buyer initiated and is used to request a change to a purchase order (ORDERS) that the buyer has previously submitted, or to accept modifications to the purchase order made by the supplier. It is commonly referred to as an EDI 860 in North American in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard. 

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition is as follows: A message from the buyer to the seller, specifying details of the buyer's request to change a purchase order. Click here to read the extended definition on the UN/EDIFACT website. 
     
  • ORDERS: (Purchase Order Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, ORDERS is the six-character name for an electronic purchase order (PO). It’s one of the most commonly exchanged EDI documents across all industries. In a typical business scenario, a buyer—retailer or other—sends an ORDERS message to a supplier to order goods and/or services after which the supplier sends an invoice (INVOIC). This message is commonly referred to as an EDI 850 in North American in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard. 

    An ORDERS message contains, but is not limited to, the following information:
    - Description of goods and/or services requested presented as individual line items
    - Quantity of goods/and or services requested
    - Delivery terms (i.e., must be delivered within 10 days)
    - Total amount to be invoiced 

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition is as follows: A message specifying details for goods or services ordered under conditions agreed between the seller and the buyer. Click here to read the extended definition on the UN/EDIFACT website.
     
  • ORDRSP: (Purchase Order Response Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, ORDRSP is the six-character name for an electronic purchase order response. It is used across all industries. In a typical business scenario, a supplier receives a purchase order (ORDERS) from a customer and then confirms receipt of that order by sending an ORDRSP message in response. 

    The ORDRSP message also contains information on whether or not the purchase order has been accepted, rejected, or accepted with changes, and this data is contained within the EDI document.

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition is as follows: A message from the seller to the buyer, responding to a purchase order message or a purchase order change request message. Click here to read the extended definition on the UN/EDIFACT website. 
     
  • OSTENQ: (Delivery Just In Time Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, OSTENQ is the six-character name for an electronic order status enquiry message.

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of OSTENQ is as follows:   A message between a buyer or buyer's agent and a seller or seller's agent for information on the current status of a previously sent order(s). You can read the extended definition of the OSTENQ message on the UN/EDIFACT website here
     
  • OSTRPT: (Order Status Report Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, OSTRPT is the six-character name for an electronic order status report message.

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of OSTRPT is as follows: A message between a buyer or buyer's agent and a seller or seller's agent reporting status information on the current status of a previously sent order(s). This may be a reply to an order status or a report as agreed between the partners. You can read the extended definition of the FINSTA message on the UN/EDIFACT website here
     
  • PRICAT: (Price/Sales Catalogue Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, PRICAT is the six-character name for an electronic price/sales catalogue message.

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of PRICAT is as follows:   This message can be used to cater for various communication functions between financial institutions and their customers. The most frequent function is to provide a statement of booked items entries on a customer's account. The message type may contain several accounts (quoted in the B-level). You can read the extended definition of the PRICAT message on the UN/EDIFACT website here
     
  • PRIHIS: (Pricing History Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, PRIHIS is the six-character name for an electronic pricing history message.

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of PRIHIS is as follows: A message furnishing the Pricing History and related information of previously ordered under conditions agreed to between a seller and a buyer. You can read the extended definition of the FINSTA message on the UN/EDIFACT website here
     
  • PRODAT: (Product Data Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, PRODAT is the six-character name for an electronic product data message.

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of PRODAT is as follows:   A message to submit master data - a set of data that is rarely changed - to identify and describe products a supplier offers to his (potential) customer or buyer. This information of long validity includes technical and functional product description but not commercial terms and conditions. This message can be used as well to update the information on a previously sent PRODAT message. You can read the extended definition of the FINSTA message on the UN/EDIFACT website here
     
  • Purchase Order (PO): A purchase order (PO) is one of the most commonly exchanged business documents across all industries. In a typical business scenario, a buyer—retailer or other—sends a purchase order to a supplier to order goods and/or services after which the supplier sends an invoice. 

    Purchase orders may be sent electronically. In North America, the electronic version of a purchase order is commonly referred to as an EDI 850 in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard. In Europe, electronic purchase orders are commonly referred to as ORDERS messages according to the UN/EDIFACT standard.

    A purchase order contains, but is not limited to, the following information:
    - Description of goods and/or services requested presented as individual line items
    - Quantity of goods/and or services requested
    - Delivery terms (i.e., must be delivered within 10 days)
    - Total amount to be invoiced 
     
  • Purchase Order Acknowledgment: In a typical business scenario, a supplier receives a purchase order from a customer and then confirms receipt of that order by sending a purchase order acknowledgment in response. A purchase order acknowledgment also contains information on whether or not the purchase order has been accepted, rejected, or accepted with changes. 

    Purchase order acknowledgments may be sent electronically. In North America, the electronic version of a purchase order acknowledgment is commonly referred to as an EDI 855 in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard. In Europe, electronic purchase order acknowledgments are commonly referred to as ORDRSP messages according to the UN/EDIFACT standard.
     
  • RECADV: (Receiving Advice Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, RECADV is the six-character name for an electronic receiving advice message. This RECADV message is sent from the receiver to the shipper to inform them that the order has arrived at its intended destination. The RECADV message also informs the shipper if the contents received differ from the contents listed on other documents in the same transaction, such as the purchase order (ORDERS). In North America, the RECAVD message is commonly referred to as an EDI 861 Receiving Advice/Acceptance certificate in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard. 

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition is as follows: This message is to address the business needs related to the goods receipt. This message is used to report the physical receipt of goods. The message allows for the reporting of discrepancies in products, quantities, terms, packages, etc. 

    The message may contain only the information that the received consignment is completely in line with the consignment information given in the Despatch advice message. In case there is no detail to be provided.

    The message may inform about the discrepancies:
    - Between the received consignment and consignment information given in the Despatch advice message (DESADV)
    - Between the received goods and the ordered goods in the ORDERS, DELFOR or DELJIT information
     
  • REMADV: (Remittance Advice Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, REMADV is the six-character name for an electronic remittance advice message. 

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of REMADV is as follows:   The Remittance Advice is a communication between trading partners, e.g. seller, buyer, financial institutions, which provides a detailed accounting relative to a payment, or other form of financial settlement, for the provision of goods and/or services as detailed in the advice. You can read the extended definition of the REMADV message on the UN/EDIFACT website here
     
  • Sales Order (SO): When companies exchange data electronically, the terms purchase order (PO) and sales order (SO) often come up in the ordering process. In principle, they are the same because the information contained within the document is identical. Furthermore, when an EDI standard is used, both records are designated with the same abbreviation according to the EDIFACT or ANSI X12 standard: ORDERS or EDI 850 respectively. 

    The use of purchase order vs. sales order is determined by the view of the market participant. While purchase order refers to an outgoing order for the purchase of goods or services, the term sales order is used in the instance that the order is received on the sales side (incoming). Sales order (SO) is therefore used to denote orders received by the supplier from the customer.

    A sales order contains, but is not limited to, the following information:
    - Description of goods and/or services requested presented as individual line items
    - Quantity of goods/and or services requested
    - Delivery terms (i.e., must be delivered within 10 days)
    - Total amount to be invoiced 
     
  • SLSFCT: (Sales Forecast Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, SLSFCT is the six-character name for an electronic sales forecast message.

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of SLSFCT is as follows: A message to enable the transmission of forecast data related to products or services, such as corresponding location, period, product identification, pricing, monetary amount, quantity, market sector information, sales parties. It enables the recipient to process the information automatically and use it for production, planning, marketing, statistical purposes, etc. You can read the extended definition of the SLSFCT message on the UN/EDIFACT website here. SLSRPT: (Sales Data Report Message) According to the EDIFACT standard, SLSRPT is the six-character name for an electronic sales data report message.

    The official UN/EDIFACT definition of SLSRPT is as follows:   A message to enable the conveyance of product activity related to sale of products or services, such as the activity location, date, time or period, quantity, pricing, monetary amount, market, involved parties and other data enabling various sales processes. Such activity information allows the recipient to perform statistical and quantitative analysis in support of production, planning, marketing, replenishment, and other processes. You can read the extended definition of the SLSRPT message on the UN/EDIFACT website here

Communication Protocols

The EDI standard or e-invoicing standard sets the terms for the specific format in which data must be sent between trading partners, or which EDI message types must be used.  But in addition to this, there are also communication protocols that dictate how the EDI messages must be sent, for example, via AS2 connection. Communication protocols are sometimes referred to as file transfer methods, and it is important to choose one that provides a secure exchange route so that EDI messages are passed from Point A to Point B without interference.

  • Allegro: A type of value-added network (VAN)
     
  • API: API stands for Application Programming Interface. The simplest explanation of an API is that it enables real-time data exchange between two or more systems. In other words, an API provides a door into a third-party system. In doing so, the information contained within one system can be accessed, incorporated, and used by another system. 

    In respect to EDI, there are three main differences: 1.) APIs can replace traditional document exchange methods, but unlike EDI, that’s not their sole purpose. 2.) Unlike EDI, APIs do not have set standards and protocols (yet), like EDIFACT or North America’s ANSI X12. 3.) APIs require lifecycle management and API versioning in particular, which requires continuous monitoring, updates, and maintenance. 

    However, APIs are used in nearly every major integration project, for example, to connect a cloud-based EDI solution to a back-end ERP (e.g., SAP). 
     
  • AS1: (Applicability Statement 1) – A communications method that uses S/MIME (Secure Multi-Purpose Internet Mail Extensions) and uses Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) to exchange EDI transactions over the Internet.
     
  • AS2: (Applicability Statement 2) AS2 is a communication protocol designed to transmit business data securely from one system to another over the internet. EDI via AS2 was introduced for the first time in 2002 as a direct extension of its predecessor AS1 (Applicability Statement 1), which was created in the early 1990s. 

    The main difference between AS2 and AS1 lies in the transportation methods they use. While AS1 transfers data via email using the Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP), AS2 uses HTTP/S (Hypertext Transport Protocol Secure), enabling real-time communication.

    AS2 gained popularity in the retail industry in the early 2000s, and quickly gained popularity in all other industries due to the fact that it combines the best components of all other communication protocols. Some unique features of the AS2 communication protocol are encryption, digital signatures, and non-repudiation. 
     
  • AS3: (Applicability Statement 3) – A communications method that uses FTP/S to send EDI transactions over the Internet.
     
  • AS4: (Applicability Statement 4): AS4 is communication protocol designed to transmit business data securely from one system to another over the internet. In short, AS4 is an improved version of its predecessors, AS1, AS2, and AS3. Some characteristics of AS4 include file compression, encryption, and non-repudiation, all of which are also characteristics of AS2. However, AS4 is based on web services and, unlike AS2, it doesn’t always require online status. Instead, AS4 has the ability to pull messages by the recipient even if their system if offline because it is always active.

    Despite AS4 being the latest communication protocol in the Applicability Statement family, AS2 is still the most common protocol used to transmit EDI data out of the four. That’s because many suppliers don’t have another choice. For example, Walmart requires all suppliers to transmit EDI messages via AS2 protocol. 
     
  • Email: This is a common communication protocol that is officially referred to as SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). Many organizations send invoices and other business documents as PDF attachments via email, but with supply chain attacks on the rise, email is no longer a recommended communication protocol. By default, email lacks aspects of encryption and authentication. In general, that means all messages sent via email are relatively exposed and open to hackers.
     
  • ENX: The ENX network is a joint solution from the European automotive industry for the secure exchange of critical development, purchasing, and production control data used by more than 1,000 companies in over 40 countries.
     
  • eXite: A type of value-added network (VAN).
     
  • FTP: (File Transfer Protocol) – FTP is a communication protocol used to transfer data from one system to another over the Internet. FTP is often used by businesses to transfer files from one system to another. Transferring data in this way requires an FTP client, which is included by default in most web browsers. An example of an FTP file transfer is downloading files from a server to a local device. 
     
  • FTP SSL: (File Transfer Protocol over Secure Sockets Layer) FTP SSL allows sessions to be encrypted between an FTP client and server.
     
  • GXS: A type of value-added network (VAN).
     
  • HTTP: (HyperText Transfer Protocol) HTTP is a communication protocol used to call for and transmit files over the Internet. HTTP is mainly used to display web pages over the Internet and can be seen in the website’s URL. HTTP has been largely replaced by HTTPS. 
     
  • HTTPS: (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) is a secure version of the HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) communication protocol. HTTPS has largely replaced HTTP due to its SSL/TLS enhancement, which provides encryption and secure server identification. HTTPS is most commonly used to call for and display web pages over the Internet and can be identified in most website URLs.
     
  • OFTP: (ODETTE File Transfer Protocol Version 1.0). OFTP and OFTP2 are the main EDI communication protocols for the European automotive industry. Both were developed by ODETTE, a European, non-profit collaboration that looks at what is needed within the automotive industry to bring maximum efficiency to the supply chain. 

    OFTP Version 1.0 is tailored to the specific communication requirements of the automotive industry and has been implemented at most major automotive companies, including Audi, BMW, Ford, Hyundai, Opel, Volkswagen, Skoda, Volvo and more. 

    Although this protocol was initially developed for the automotive industry, it is also used in manufacturing, retail, banking, and government, among others.
     
  • OFTP2: (ODETTE File Transfer Protocol Version 2.0) OFTP and OFTP2 are the main EDI communication protocols for the European automotive industry. Both were developed by ODETTE, a European, non-profit collaboration that looks at what is needed within the automotive industry to bring maximum efficiency to the supply chain. 

    OFTP2, or OFTP Version 2, is an updated version of the OFTP Version 1.0 protocol. It includes data compression, digital certificates, and the ability to send large files over the Internet. 
     
  • POP3: (Post Office Protocol 3) POP3 is a communication protocol for EDI/XML to retrieve e-mail from a mail server. 
     
  • SSL/TLS: (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security) The SSL/TLS protocol encrypts internet traffic of all types, making secure internet communication (and therefore internet commerce) possible.
     
  • Secure FTP: See definition for SFTP. 
     
  • SFTP: (Simple File Transfer Protocol) A network protocol that provides file transfer and manipulation functionality over any reliable data stream. It is typically used with the SSH-2 protocol to provide secure file transfer (see also SSH).
     
  • SMTP: (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) SMTP is a communication protocol that is more commonly referred to as email. Many organizations send invoices and other business documents as PDF attachments via email (SMTP), but with supply chain attacks on the rise, SMTP is no longer a recommended communication protocol. By default, SMTP lacks aspects of encryption and authentication. In general, that means all messages sent via SMTP are relatively exposed and open to hackers.
     
  • SOAP: (Simple Object Access Protocol) A messaging protocol specification for exchanging structured information in the implementation of web services in computer networks. It uses the XML information set for its message format, and it relies on application layer protocols, most often Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), although some legacy systems communicate over Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), for message negotiation and transmission.
     
  • TLS: (Transport Layer Security) TLS is an updated, more secure version of SSL.
     
  • X25: A communication protocol for EDI/XML document exchange. 
     
  • X.400: A communication protocol for EDI/XML document exchange. X.400 is a suite of protocols defining standards for email messaging systems. It was defined by the ITU-TS (International Telecommunications Union—Telecommunications Sector) in 1984 and again in 1988. X.400 is more widely used in Europe and Canada than in the U.S..
     
  • X.400 P7: See definition for X.400.

Communication Networks

For businesses that transfer files based on common EDI and/or e-invoicing standards or, alternatively, fall under a certain industry category, the communication method often relies on a specific network connection. In any instance, all files must be sent in the correct format and via the appropriate network in order to be accepted.

In this section you will find common EDI and e-invoicing communication networks.  

  • AXN: (American Network eXchange) The AXN is a large, private extranet that connects automotive suppliers to automotive manufacturers.
     
  • Chorus Pro: Chorus Pro became the official electronic invoicing platform for the French government in 2017. Chorus Pro is the digital platform in which suppliers to the French government are required to submit their invoices. The platform is connected to the financial information system of the French state, Chorus.

    Chorus Pro has been proven to do the following: 1.) Improve on-time payments by speeding up the shipping process of invoices, 2.) reduce printing and shipping costs, and 3.) increase trust in public providers by ensuring greater transparency by monitoring users' oversight of the payment process in real time.

    IMPORTANT: Starting in January 2023, it is likely that e-invoicing via the Chorus Pro platform will be mandatory for companies involved in business-to-business (B2B) transactions in France.
     
  • COMPTIA: (Computing Technology Industry Association) COMPTIA is an American non-profit trade association that issues professional certifications for the information technology (IT) industry. 
     
  • Digipoort: In sum, Digipoort is a VAN for e-invoicing in the Netherlands. It doubles as a communication network. Digipoort is the IT center where message flows for the government are processed. Digipoort works like an electronic post office. Digipoort receives the message, checks the message for a number of requirements, and then confirms, if desired on behalf of the organization, receipt of the message. Definition by Logius.
     
  • EDIFICE: EDIFICE is the Global Network for B2B Integration in High Tech industries drives and enables Global standardized B2B adoption through best practice and information sharing and influencing of standards development. EDIFICE is a not-for-profit organisation, registered in Belgium. Definition by EDIFICE.
     
  • ENX: (European Network eXchange) The ENX network is a joint solution from the European automotive industry for the secure exchange of critical development, purchasing, and production control data used by more than 1,000 companies in over 40 countries.
     
  • FACe Network: Farmhouse and Artisan Cheese & Dairy Producers European Network.
     
  • FatturaPA: FatturaPA is an electronic invoice (decree provided for by Italian Law number 633, 1972, article 21, subsection 1) and is the only type of invoice that will be accepted by public administrations in Italy which, according to the law, are obliged to make use of the exchange system (AKA communication network).
     
  • GALIA: This is a French automotive industry body and communication network. GALIA was created in 1984 to answer an urgent need to improve exchanges between business partners within the automotive industry. At that time, there was neither Internet nor EDI and EDTi (Exchange of Technical Data) was at its very beginning. Initially, GALIA covered the logistics field, defining label standards, packaging and pallets, plastic boxes, small metallic containers, and EDI messages. Nowadays GALIA also deals with exchanges in engineering and B2B/invoicing domains and processes to improve the supply chain performance.
     
  • GDSN: (Global Data Synchronization Network) The GDSN provides a framework that allows all data pools to interoperate and share data seamlessly.
     
  • JNX: (Japanese Network Exchange) The JNX is an IP-based network for the Japanese automotive industry.
     
  • KNX: The IP-based network for the Korean automotive industry.
     
  • KOBAK: A real-time VAT declaration is required for invoices with a tax burden of 100,000 HUF/320 EUR or more per invoice since 1 July 2018. The National Tax and Customs Administration of Hungary, AKA NAV (Nemzeti Adoes Vamhivatai), offers the so-called KOBAK system for these notifications.
     
  • Mercurius: Mercurius is the software platform that Belgian government agencies use to receive and process e-invoices and other documents in UBL format. Just like the Billit invoicing platform, it is connected to a certified PEPPOL access point.
     
  • PECOS P2P: (Professional Electronic Commerce Online System) PECOS P2P is the Scottish government’s online purchase-to-pay (P2P) system and communication network. 
     
  • PEPPOL Network: PEPPOL stands for Pan-European Public Procurement OnLine. It was established in 2008 for the purpose of creating a common technical standard for electronic document exchange (eProcurement) for national and international trade in Europe. From the beginning, the main reason for introducing a primary standard for eProcurement was to build a community centered around secure data exchange between trading partners without imposing on the right of any business to choose their own service provider (in other words, an EDI or e-invoicing provider).

    To elaborate, any business can join the international community by connecting to a digital infrastructure known as the PEPPOL network via PEPPOL Access Points—but not without proper verification. The PEPPOL network is governed by a non-profit organization called OpenPEPPOL, which is, simply put, responsible for the success and integrity of the network. To stay on track, the organization has four major ambitions which all point to a Digital Single Market for both business-to-government (B2G) and business-to-business (B2B) eProcurement in Europe.
     
  • Simplerinvoicing: The Simplerinvoicing Foundation is the former Dutch PEPPOL authority (NPa). Simplerinvoicing no longer exists as of 31 December 2020. It has been replaced by the Dutch Ministry of the Interior.
     
  • VPN: Virtual Private Network.

Data Formats

Data formats are the various ways in which structured data can be organized. When trading partners exchange data electronically, they must agree on the specific data format beforehand so that their back-end systems are able to read and process the information, or, in other words, speak the same language. The agreed upon format is often accompanied by or related to the applicable EDI and/or e-invoicing standard, unless the files are sent via email, in which case the data format is likely based on personal preference or is unstructured. 

In this section you will find the definitions for the most commonly used data formats, both structured and unstructured.  

  • CSV: (Comma Separated Values) CSV is a plain text file that contains data in lines, separated by commas. It’s used to exchange data between different applications. You can also transform a CSV file to an Excel file to create a more organized view of the data.

    The data contained within a CSV file looks something like this:
    Name,Email,Phone Number
    Tom Jones,tjones@TIEKinetix.com,1234567890
    Dina Smith,dsmith@TIEKinetix.com,0123456789
     
  • Delimited Flat File: A delimited flat file contains one or more records set off from each other by a specified delimiter, or separator. For example, each record may be terminated by the operating system's line separator and each field within a record may be separated by a comma.

    The data contained within a delimited flat file looks something like this:
    Name, Email 
    Tom Jones, tjones@TIEKinetix.com \n
    Dina Smith, dsmith@TIEKinetix.com \n
     
  • eXtensible Markup Language: AKA, XML. Extensible Markup Language is designed to improve the functionality of the web by providing more flexible and adaptable information identification. It’s called extensible because it’s not a fixed format like Hypertext Markup Language (a single, predefined markup language). 

    Instead, Extensible Markup Language is actually a metalanguage (a language for describing other languages) that allows individuals to customize markup languages for limitless document types. Extensible Markup Language can do this because it’s written in Standard Generalized Markup Language, the international standard metalanguage for text markup systems.
     
  • IDoc: (Intermediate Document) IDoc is the document format of SAP used for data transfers involved in business transactions.
     
  • In-House Format: A document or file format created by the organization itself.
     
  • JSON: (JavaScript Object Notation) JSON is the standardized data interchange format and is based on a subset of the JavaScript Programming Language Standard. It’s a text-based format which is easy to read and write for humans and easy for computers to process and generate. It’s one of the most popular, most-used standard formats to exchange and store data.
     
  • PDF: (Portable Document Format) A PDF is an open standard maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). PDF documents can contain links, buttons, form fields, audio, video, business logic, and they can be electronically signed. Definition by Adobe.
     
  • Positional Flat File: A positional flat file has fields that have a fixed maximum length and records that have a common end-of-record terminator.

    The data contained within a positional flat file looks something like this:
    Name        Email                \n
    Tom Jones        tjones@TIEKinetix.com        \n
    Dina Smith        dsmith@TIEKinetix.com     \n
     
  • UBL: UBL stands for Universal Business Language. It is an XML standard developed specifically for electronic business operations, such as invoices and packing slips, and is widely used in e-invoicing. A UBL file is basically a series of agreements on the digital data structure in an XML file.

    UBL is a universal file format for exchanging the data of an invoice from one accounting system to another accounting system. The fact that information can be exchanged and processed by different (types of) systems provides many advantages.
     
  • UBL 2.1: UBL 2.1 stands for Universal Business Language version 2.1. It’s the 2.1 version of the XML standard.
     
  • XML: (Extensible Markup Language) is a flexible way to create common information formats and share both the format and the data on the World Wide Web. XML can be used by any individual or group of individuals or companies that wants to share information in a consistent way.
     
  • XLSX (Excel): XLSX (.xlsx) is the file extension for Microsoft Excel Open XML Spreadsheet (XLSX). In other words, it will be at the end of every Excel spreadsheet file name. 
     
  • ZIP: A ZIP file is a format that can be used to compress one or multiple files into one location. It reduces the file size which makes it easier to store and send. When you want to access the file after zipping it, you can unzip the file and extract the original files back to their original state.

Standards/Standards Bodies

Every industry (and region) has different needs and therefore communicates in a different way when exchanging documents electronically. This is why EDI and e-invoicing standards have been developed, and it’s one of the main reasons service providers like TIE Kinetix exist. EDI and e-invoicing standards are mutually defined and are often specific to certain regions and/or industries. With EDI and e-invoicing standards, the structure and exact order of the data is defined, ensuring uniformity and consistency.

In this section you will find the definitions for the most commonly used EDI and e-invoicing standards and governing bodies (the organizations that oversee any given standard).

  • ANSI X12: (American National Standards Institute X12) ANSI X12 is the North American counterpart to the EDIFACT standard. In 1979, the ANSI subsidiary Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) developed this standard for electronic data interchange in North America.

    ANSI X12 is very comprehensive; almost every business transaction has a corresponding EDI message, and it is suitable for use in every industry. As with the UN/EDIFACT standard, ANSI X12 consists of many subsets. For example, the UCS subset is used by supermarkets, the VICS subset is used by fashion retailers, and the AIAG subset is used by the automotive industry. 

    ANSI X12 messages are often referred to as “transaction sets” or “EDI codes.” Some common ANSI X12 transaction sets are as follows: 
    - EDI 810 – Invoice
    - EDI 850 – Purchase Order
    - EDI 855 – Purchase Order Acknowledgment 
    - EDI 856 – Ship Notice/Manifest
     
  • CARGO-IMP: Cargo-IMP is the official message source for specifications concerning space allocation, air waybill, flight manifest, accounting, status, discrepancy, embargo, customs, CASS billing, dangerous goods, allotments and surface transportation. The Cargo-IMP also includes encoding and decoding lists of all approved codes and abbreviations.
     
  • CEFACT: Also known as UN/CEFACT. The United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business.
     
  • Chorus Pro: Chorus Pro became the official electronic invoicing platform for the French government in 2017. Chorus Pro is the digital platform in which suppliers to the French government are required to submit their invoices. The platform is connected to the financial information system of the French state, Chorus.

    The accepted standards for e-invoicing in France are as follows: XML (INVOICE UBL V2 and UN/CEFACT CII (CCTS/NDR v3.0)), PEPPOL BIS v.3, and Factur-X. Factur-X is an e-invoicing format specific to France that provides companies and government agencies with fast, secure, and simple invoice communication. It is the same format as the German ZUGFeRD 2.1 invoice, and consists of both a PDF file and an embedded XML file.

    After submitting the invoice to Chorus Pro in accordance with one of the standards listed above, the e-invoice can then be sent to a SIRET number for direct debit. The SIRET number is a unique identification number that stands for a specific government agency (government, ministry, or municipality) or company. It provides quick and secure payment.

    IMPORTANT: Starting in January 2023, it is likely that e-invoicing via the Chorus Pro platform will be mandatory for companies involved in business-to-business (B2B) transactions in France. 
     
  • DES: (Data Encryption Standard) DES is one of a number of standards for securing data during transmission by encrypting it.
     
  • Digipoort: Digipoort is an ICT center where message traffic for the Dutch government is handled. Governments can use Digipoort to automate business and supply chain processes. With Digipoort, you automate important steps in the processing of large quantities of declarations, reports or notifications.
     
  • DISA: (Data Interchange Standards Association) DISA serves as the secretariat for ASC X12 and their X12 EDI and XML standards development process.
     
  • EANCOM: EANCOM is a subset of the UN/EDIFACT standard for electronic document interchange. It was developed by GS1, an organization that develops supply chain standards. 

    The standard was initially intended for the retail (consumer goods) industry, but it is now also popular among other industries, such as the healthcare sector. The three most commonly used EANCOM messages are ORDERS (purchase order), INVOIC (invoice), and DESADV (advance shipping notice). EANCOM is a widely used standard and is used by nearly 120,000 companies in 43 countries.

    You can see the full list of EANCOM EDI codes here.
     
  • ebMS: (ebXML Messaging Services) ebMS is a secure, reliable method of transmitting electronic data as defined by ebXML specifications. ebMS can use a variety of low-level transmission protocols, including HTTP and SMTP.
     
  • ebXML: A standard for an e-business framework that enables enterprises of any size, and in any location, to conduct business electronically. ebXML was developed under OASIS and UN/CEFACT.
     
  • EDIFACT: Formerly known as UN/EDIFACT and informally referred to as simply EDIFACT, UN/EDIFACT stands for United Nations/Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport. In short, it’s an international standard format developed by the United Nations (UN) for electronic data exchange between trading partners via EDI (Electronic Data Interchange).

    The UN/EDIFACT standard was initially developed for trade and transport management, but over the years, its use has been expanded to include accounting, customs control, pensions, health care, social insurance, jurisprudence, employment, statistics, construction, finance, insurance, production, tourism, trade, freight, and container transport.

    The EDIFACT standard and overall message structure can be used for many document types (invoices, purchase orders, packing slips, etc.). The data is broken down into elements and segments, both of which consist of commonly understood country- and industry-specific EDIFACT specifications that are further broken down into EDIFACT subsets (e.g., EANCOM). UN/EDIFACT syntax rules set the standards for structuring data elements into segments, segments into messages, and messages into an exchange.
     
  • EIAJ: Japanese EDI standard.
     
  • eSlog: Slovenian e-invoice standard.
     
  • Facturae: Facturae is the software platform that Spanish government agencies use to receive and process e-invoices and other documents.
     
  • FatturaPA: FatturaPA is an electronic invoice (decree provided for by Italian Law number 633, 1972, article 21, subsection 1) and is the only type of invoice that will be accepted by public administrations in Italy which, according to the law, are obliged to make use of the exchange system and communication network. 
     
  • GENCOD: French GS1 document standard. 
     
  • GS1: A worldwide network of standards bodies and service providers that develop global supply chain standards and solutions used by over one million companies for bar coding, electronic business messaging, data synchronization, and, through the EPCglobal Network, radio frequency identification.
     
  • ISO: (International Organization for Standardization) ISO is an international organization that consists of representatives from various standards bodies around the world with the goal of developing and publishing global technical, industrial, and commercial standards. The organization is responsible for a set of internationally agreed upon standards, directories, and guidelines for the electronic exchange of structured data between independent automated information systems.

    Popular ISO standards include:
    - ISO 27001/IEC 27001 – Information Security Management Standards (EDI and e-invoicing providers often earn this certification, and it is becoming increasingly important to maintain to ensure compliance with PEPPOL)
    - ISO 9000 – Quality Management (the world’s best-known quality management standard for companies and organizations of all sizes)
    - ISO 20022 – A single, international standardization approach—methodology, process, repository—to be used by all financial standards initiatives (defines the message structure and content to enable a common global “language” for messaging in payments, cash management reporting, securities, cards, foreign exchange and trade services)
     
  • Mercurius: Mercurius is the software platform that Belgian government agencies use to receive and process e-invoices and other documents in UBL format. Just like the Billit invoicing platform, it is connected to a certified PEPPOL Access Point.
     
  • ODETTE: ODETTE is a European, non-profit collaboration that looks at what is needed within the automotive industry to bring maximum efficiency to the supply chain. Like EANCOM, ODETTE is a subset of the EDIFACT standard. Direct members of ODETTE are the main companies producing cars in Europe, and they represent the automotive industry. 
     
  • PEPPOL BIS / PEPPOL BIS 3.0: The PEPPOL BIS provides a set of specifications for implementing a PEPPOL business process.
     
  • Proprietary Standards: Those systems of EDI messages that are developed by the business partners themselves for a specific application and do not fit in any of the systems of established standards developed by any of the accepted and officially recognized standards bodies around the world.
     
  • RosettaNet: A non-profit consortium dedicated to the collaborative development and rapid deployment of open business process standards that align processes within the global trading network. More than 700 multinational and regional companies in the high technology, logistics, and adjacent industries, as well as solution providers, participate in RosettaNet’s strategic standards and services development. Fortune 1000 companies worldwide have implemented RosettaNet business process standards as well.

    RosettaNet is a subsidiary of GS1 US. To date, the consortium has established several regional affiliate organizations—in Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand—giving a voice to various business economies seeking to adopt and influence RosettaNet’s global standards. RosettaNet is also represented locally in Europe.
     
  • Simplerinvoicing: The Simplerinvoicing Foundation is the former Dutch PEPPOL authority (NPa). Simplerinvoicing no longer exists as of 31 December 2020. It has been replaced by the Dutch Ministry of the Interior.
     
  • TDCC: (Transportation Data Coordinating Committee) This is the original EDI organization for the United States. Through its efforts, the first EDI standards were developed, published, and maintained. It is now EDIA and has become the national EDI user group for the United States.
     
  • TRADACOMS: (Trading Data Communications Standard) TRADACOMS is one of the very first EDI standards. TRADACOMS is a subset of the UN/GTDI standard, a predecessor of the UN/EDIFACT standard. The original version was introduced in 1982 and was widely used by retailers and wholesalers in the United Kingdom (UK).

    In 1995, development of this standard was discontinued. As of July 1, 2017, GS1 UK is also no longer offering support for users of this standard. It is continuously becoming less and less workable and more expensive to maintain. Therefore, the recommendation is to move to the EANCOM subset of the UN/EDIFACT standard. However, TRADACOMS is still regularly used in the retail sector in the UK. 
     
  • UBL-TR: Turkish e-invoicing standard.
     
  • UCC: (Uniform Code Council) The organization that oversees the standards for product identification and related electronic communications. The UCC oversaw the Universal Product Code (UPC) in the United States—now superseded by GTINs—as well as Uniform Communication Standards (UCS) for EDI in the grocery industry and Warehouse Information Network Standards (WINS) in the warehousing and transportation industry.
     
  • UCS: A subset of the ANSI X12 EDI standard.
     
  • UN/CEFACT: (The United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business) UN/CEFACT supports activities dedicated to improving the ability of business, trade, and administrative organizations to exchange products and services effectively.
     
  • VDA / VDA 4938: The VDA (Verband der Deutschen Automobilindustrie) has developed many standards over the years, all tailored to the German automotive industry. The most recent VDA standard for electronic invoices (e-invoices) is the VDA 4938. The VDA 4938 standard meets the latest legal and fiscal requirements for the German automotive industry.

    Even though the VDA published its own standards prior to the existence of EDIFACT, the VDA 4938 is based on the EDIFACT invoice (INVOIC) and is, therefore, an EDIFACT subset. 
     
  • XRechnung: As of April 18th, 2020, all government agencies in Germany have to be able to receive and process e-invoices according to a standard in line with EU requirements. The e-invoicing regulations of the German federal government stipulated that XRechnung is the preferred standard for B2G e-invoices in Germany. 

    The XRechnung standard was developed by the German Coordination Office for IT Standards (KoSIT) and is an invoice format based on XML. The current XRechnung standard allows two XML formats for electronic invoicing: UBL or UN/CEFACT Cross Industry Invoice (CII).
     
  • ZUGFeRD: As of April 18th, 2020, all government agencies in Germany have to be able to receive and process e-invoices according to a standard in line with EU requirements. Although the e-invoicing regulations of the German federal government stipulated that XRechnung is the preferred standard for B2G e-invoices, ZUGFeRD can also be used.

    ZUGFeRD consists of two components: a PDF file and an embedded XML file. ZUGFeRD is based on the UN/CEFACT CII standard and the ISO standard PDF/A3.

Industry Terminology

We could write a lengthy novel filled with supply chain jargon, but we’ve decided to give you the definitions for the most commonly used words instead. 

In this section you will find the definitions for words that you’ll find across the TIE Kinetix website and within the industry as a whole. 

  • 3PL: (Third-Party Logistics Provider) A 3PL company is typically a public warehouse or logistics service provider that can help with warehouse management, packing and shipping, returns handling, and more. In most cases the end consumer doesn’t even know that there is a third party involved in logistics—all packaging and consumer-facing communication consistently reflect the seller’s brand throughout the entire shopping experience. As a result, suppliers and retailers save on warehouse and fulfillment costs while significantly accelerating their operations.
     
  • 3-Way Match: A three-way match, or 3-way match, refers to the process of cross-referencing three documents to ensure the accurate payment of an invoice: purchase order (PO), receipt of goods (e.g., Advance Ship Notice (ASN)), and finally, the invoice itself.

    3-way matching is a common accounts payable (AP) practice, and it can be done manually by pulling the relevant documents from various locations and performing a self-check. Preferably, however, the 3-way match process is automated via integrated EDI. In either case, the three-way match compares what has been ordered with what has been received, and, ultimately, what is included on the invoice.  
     
  • AI (Artificial Intelligence): Artificial intelligence (AI) is a technology that is, quite simply, intelligent. By intelligent, we mean that it can learn, reason, plan, and correct, in an almost human way.

    There are two primary categories of AI: General (Strong) AI and Narrow (Weak) AI. General AI is closest to human intelligence. This type of AI can learn and make decisions without human action. Narrow AI, in contrast, is especially good at performing one task and is not comparable to human intelligence. This type of AI, in general, is the most widely used. It’s also the type of AI used to enhance the capabilities of EDI.
     
  • ANA: (Article Number Association) ANA is an association of businesses that has been set up to facilitate standardization across the supply chain.
     
  • Application Interface Software: Software that imports and exports data between in-house applications and the translation software.
     
  • Asynchronous: A communication technique by which each character is sent bit-serially and is surrounded by start-and-stop bits used to indicate character borders.
     
  • Audit Trail: A computerized or manual record of transactions.
     
  • Authentication: A mechanism that allows the receiver of an electronic transmission to verify the sender and the integrity of the content of the transmission through the use of an electronic “key” or algorithm shared by the business partners. The algorithm is sometimes referred to as an electronic or digital signature.
     
  • B2B: (Business-to-Business) B2B is an industry term that refers to trade between two private sector organizations.
     
  • B2G: (Business-to-Government) B2G is an industry term that refers to trade between a public sector institution (government or other) and a private sector organization. A typical B2G scenario is that a supplier has to send an invoice to a municipality, for example. 
     
  • Batch Processing: The processing of computer information after it has accumulated in one group or batch.
     
  • Classifier: A term used to describe how items such as products are grouped.
     
  • Cloud-Based: The term “cloud-based” is often used to describe software solutions. The most basic explanation is that a cloud-based solution is a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) solution.

    So what does SaaS mean in cloud infrastructure terms? SaaS means that everything is included, and you don’t have to worry about it. It’s a hands-free deployment model in which the SaaS service provider is responsible for providing you with all the necessary cloud computing systems required for hosting your data in the cloud (most likely public). It also means that all software updates, improvements, and maintenance is taken care of.
     
  • Compliance: For EDI and e-invoicing, compliance is a term that is most often used to refer to one trading partner’s ability to meet the document exchange requirements that have been imposed by the other trading partner. 

    In a typical business scenario, the buyer (often a large retailer) requires that all suppliers exchange documents electronically in a specific data format, according to a specific EDI or e-invoicing standard and communication protocol, and sometimes through a specific network (e.g., the PEPPOL network). When the supplier meets all of these requirements, they are considered to be compliant, or in compliance, with trading partner obligations. 

    Here’s an example: In order for a manufacturer to do business with a major retailer, they must be able to send all invoices electronically in the 1.) XML format, 2.) in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard for electronic document interchange, 3.) and via AS2 communication protocol. 
     
  • CRM: (Customer Relationship Management) A CRM system is used to keep track of all interactions with existing and potential customers. This is most often used by sales to prospect new accounts and organize all related communication. CRM System Examples: Salesforce, HubSpot CRM, Pipedrive
     
  • Data Synchronization: Data synchronization refers to the sharing of data between two or more systems so that all systems contain the same information. Data synchronization can occur in specified time increments (e.g., every night at midnight) or in real time, meaning all systems will contain the same information at any given time.  
     
  • Data Pool: Data pools are often used in business-to-business scenarios in which one organization (often a retailer) has many trading partners, each of whom need to provide the retailer with product-related data that the retailer can use to properly market and sell their products. A data pool streamlines the process of submitting this data and creates a single well-organized location in which all trading partner data can be accessed and used. 
     
  • Decryption: The translation of scrambled or secretly coded data at the receiving end of an encrypted transmission (see also Encryption).
     
  • Dedicated Line: A point-to-point line in a data communication system between two computer devices that is always connected.
     
  • Digital Certificate: A computer-based record or electronic message issued by an entity that (1) identifies the entity issuing it; (2) names or identifies a certificate holder; (3) contains the public key of the certificate holder; (4) identifies the certificate’s validity period and (5) is digitally signed by the entity issuing it.
     
  • Digitalization: Digitalization is an industry term most often used when referring to the act of replacing traditional, manual processes within an organization with digital alternatives. This often implies that new digital technologies are adopted and deployed within an organization and that the organization must undergo digital transformation to some extent. 

    TIE Kinetix helps organizations to achieve 100% supply chain digitalization with EDI and e-invoicing that replace paper-based business exchanges.
     
  • Digital Signature: A digital signature is an electronic signature that can be used to authenticate the identity of the sender of a message. It then enables the encrypted document to be cross checked to ensure that the original content of the data that has been sent is unchanged.
     
  • Drop Shipping: Drop shipping is a fulfillment method in which the supplier, aka manufacturer, ships the order directly to the consumer on behalf of the retailer. It is also called direct-to-consumer fulfillment.

    The best part about drop shipping is that end consumers still have the impression that the order came from the retailer. Take Amazon, for example. Would you be able to tell which packages were fulfilled directly by a supplier versus Amazon itself?
     
  • DSO (Day Sales Outstanding): DSO stands for Days Sales Outstanding, and it’s an important KPI for AR professionals. Simply put, it’s the average number of days that it takes to collect outstanding payments from customers. That is, the time between when an invoice is sent and when the payment is received. DSO is often calculated on a monthly quarterly, or annual basis.
     
  • EAI: (Enterprise Application Integration) EAI refers to an information system architecture that allows several software applications (ERP, CRM, WMS, and so on) to communicate with one another by exchanging data. Enterprise Application Integration, or EAI, refers to an information system architecture that allows several software applications (ERP, CRM, WMS, and so on) to communicate with one another by exchanging data.

    Despite the fact that it is often necessary for systems to share data and adopt certain business rules, it’s normal that different types of systems cannot communicate with each other natively. This lack of inter-application communication leads to inefficiencies. For example, if and when identical data is stored in several places, it is highly prone to inconsistencies. Another downside is that simple processes cannot be automated.

    EAI software links applications within an organization to simplify and automate business processes as much as possible, all while avoiding the need to make radical changes to existing applications or data structures.
     
  • EAN: International Article Numbering Association.
     
  • E-Commerce: E-commerce may seem like a straightforward term, but it’s actually quite broad. E-commerce is most often associated with the sale of a consumer product through an online store, but it’s much more than that. E-commerce refers to all electronic trade and includes both goods (products) and services. E-commerce is typically grouped into three categories:

    1. Business-to-Consumer (B2C): For example, a consumer purchases a laptop from BestBuy’s website or rents a moving truck from U-Haul. Marketplaces (e.g., Amazon) also fall under the B2C category.

    2. Business-to-Business (B2B): For example, a company purchases office supplies from a wholesaler or purchases web-EDI from a service provider.

    3. Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C): For example, a consumer purchases a used car from a private seller on Craigslist or a handmade mug from Etsy. This is sometimes referred to as P2P (person-to-person).
     
  • EDI Codes: EDI document codes—also referred to as EDI transaction sets, EDI transaction codes, or, in general, EDI documents—are typically used to describe a specific document format within a certain standard, like ANSI X12. Basically, EDI codes define a set of rules on how data should be organized within the document in question. For example, ANSI X12 EDI transaction codes are identified by a numeric identifier. For instance, a purchase order is referred to as an EDI 850 in the X12 standard. In Europe, however, the EDI 850 equivalent is ORDER according to the UN/EDIFACT standard. 
     
  • EDI Standards/E-Invoicing Standards: Every industry (and region) has different needs and therefore communicates in a different way when exchanging documents electronically. This is why EDI and e-invoicing standards have been developed, and it’s one of the main reasons service providers like TIE Kinetix exist. 

    EDI and e-invoicing standards are mutually defined and are often specific to certain regions and/or industries. For example, the UN/EDIFACT standard is mainly used in Europe and ANSI X12 is primarily used in North America. With these standards, the format of specific EDI messages and e-invoices are standardized to ensure that all trading partner systems can understand each other’s electronic messages. In other words, EDI and e-invoicing standards ensure that all trading partners are speaking the same language.

    With EDI and e-invoicing standards, the structure and exact order of the data is defined, ensuring uniformity and consistency. In using one or more EDI or e-invoicing standards, your back-end system can be programmed to understand all business exchanges and process them automatically—no more manual entry! EDI and e-invoicing standards also make it easier and less time consuming to connect with new trading partners because they eliminate the need for developers to spend time creating custom maps. This also saves a lot of money.
     
  • E-Invoice (Electronic Invoice): It’s not a matter of if you will switch to e-invoicing but when you will switch to e-invoicing. An electronic invoice, or e-invoice for short, is an electronic version of a paper invoice. It contains all of the same information as a traditional invoice, but it’s pure data and entirely paperless. It is often sent from a supplier to a buyer in order to request payment for goods and/or services. 

    E-invoicing is environmentally friendly and enables organizations to digitalize and automate otherwise time-consuming manual processes. It is also more secure than sending paper invoices or PDF invoices via email. When mandated, e-invoicing also provides large-scale economic benefits. Due to the vast advantages of e-invoicing, it is used in both business-to-government (B2G) and business-to-business (B2B) transactions and is the increasingly preferred (and often enforced) exchange method.
     
  • E-Archiving: (Electronic Archiving) In most countries, both public and private sector organizations are required by law to store all of their transactional data (e.g., invoices) for a certain amount of time (e.g., seven years). E-archiving is mainly used when transactional data is electronic in its original form. 
     
  • Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): EDI stands for electronic data exchange, and it’s defined as the computer to computer exchange of business documents in a standardized format. These business documents (purchase orders, invoices, advance ship notices, etc.) are called transaction sets. Organizations that exchange EDI transaction sets are called trading partners.

    Electronic data interchange is necessary for most B2B transactions in today’s business environment. That's mainly because it has the potential to dramatically improve supply chain efficiency, as well as reduce costs and much more. The ability for trading to partners to exchange documents electronically means that they are EDI capable, or EDI-enabled. 
     
  • Electronic Envelope: An electronic envelope contains electronic information that binds together a set of transmitted documents that have been sent from one sender to one receiver. There are three types of electronic envelopes, the ISA/IEA (transmission envelope), the GS/GE envelope, and the ST/SE envelope.
     
  • End-User: In software terms, end-user refers to the person that ultimately uses the finished software product or service. For example, if you have an iPhone, you are an end-user of Apple products and services. If you have FLOW Partner Automation, TIE Kinetix’s software platform for EDI and e-invoicing, you are an end-user of TIE Kinetix.
     
  • Enterprise Application Integration: Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) refers to an information system architecture that allows several software applications (ERP, CRM, WMS, and so on) to communicate with one another by exchanging data. Enterprise Application Integration, or EAI, refers to an information system architecture that allows several software applications (ERP, CRM, WMS, and so on) to communicate with one another by exchanging data.

    Despite the fact that it is often necessary for systems to share data and adopt certain business rules, it’s normal that different types of systems cannot communicate with each other natively. This lack of inter-application communication leads to inefficiencies. For example, if and when identical data is stored in several places, it is highly prone to inconsistencies. Another downside is that simple processes cannot be automated.

    EAI software links applications within an organization to simplify and automate business processes as much as possible, all while avoiding the need to make radical changes to existing applications or data structures.
     
  • ERP: (Enterprise Resource Planning) The main purpose of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is to aggregate all core business data into a single location. It consists of various applications, or modules, each of which typically meet a particular business need. This may include specific applications for HR, finance, logistics, retail, sales, or virtually any other business area that requires visibility. ERP System Examples: Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Oracle, SAP, Sage X3, Exact
     
  • ETL: (Extract, Transform, Load) ETL is a computer procedure that consists of copying data from one or more sources to a destination system that will reproduce the data differently, or in a different context from the source(s). One of the benefits is that this allows for information synchronization between one data source and another on a massive scale.

    The ETL procedure is based on three key processes. First, an extraction of data from a source. Second, data transformation, which involves validation and conversion to the appropriate storage format. Third, data loading to the final, target database. An ETL solution therefore relies on connectors to export and import data into applications, as well as transformers to manipulate the data and convert it to the required format.

    The most common use for an ETL solution is to collect data from multiple sources, restructure it, and then transfer it to a data warehouse. An ETL is often used in batch mode to transfer data in bulk.
     
  • File Transfer: File transfers basically run the business world. No matter if the file is a simple Word document attached to an email, an electronic invoice sent via VAN, or a 20 GB video, file transfers get our information from point A to point B. File transfers can contain either structured data or unstructured data: 

    Structured data is data that is organized in a very specific, commonly understood way. Although it may not be easily interpreted by humans, this type of data is easily understood by computers and is often used in system-to-system exchanges. Structured data sets the stage for electronic document exchange, and it can take many forms.

    Unstructured Data
    Unstructured data is data that is arranged freely and in no particular order. By nature, it cannot be immediately understood by a computer, but it can most likely be understood by a human. Endless types of files can consist of unstructured data, such as emails, invoices, videos, images, and much, much more.
     
  • G2B (Government-to-Business): The term G2B is most often used when referring to trade between a government organization and a private sector organization. In a typical business scenario, a private sector organization purchases services from a public sector institution and must issue a payment for those services. Although G2B transactions do occur, business-to-government transactions are most common. 
     
  • Gateway: A gateway is the interconnection between public or private networks, enabling the transmission of documents in EDI format across multiple networks.
     
  • GDS: Global Data Synchronization.
     
  • GLN: (Global Location Number) A GLN is a unique number that is assigned to locations to enable them to be identified uniquely worldwide. These global location numbers can be used to identify any legal, physical, and functional location. GLNs are reference keys to computer files where information about the company or location can be found. 

    GLNs replace the names and addresses of locations and are particularly useful when automating processes; they allow computers to route information to the correct destination with no manual involvement. GLNs must be used when identifying locations and business partners for EDI exchanges and data pools. They can also be used in bar codes to identify a physical location or to provide relevant information for delivery or invoicing purposes.
     
  • GLOBAL Registry: Within the GS1 standard, the GLOBAL registry is a central service which holds pointers to data held in local data pools, provides an index for companies looking for product data held in local data pools, and ensures data pools are fully compliant with GS1 standards.
     
  • Global Company Identifier: This is a RosettaNet-branded term for the Data Universal Numbering System. The Global Company Identifier is the RosettaNet object and Data Universal Numbering System is the specified solution.
     
  • GTIN: (Global Trade Item Number) GTIN is a unique identifier for every product that is sold.
     
  • Hardware: Hardware refers to the physical components of a computer system, for example, servers. A big reason many organizations are opting for SaaS solutions for EDI and e-invoicing over on-premise solutions is to avoid unpredictable hardware costs (e.g., maintenance) and instead benefit from predictable pricing month after month. 
     
  • Header: The specific segment that, in the simplest terms, tells the receiving computer where an individual EDI message starts.
     
  • Hub: According to the hub-and-spoke model, a hub is a large organization in either the public or private sector that has many suppliers, which are referred to as spokes. Suppliers are often required to adjust their business practices in order to enter a business relationship with a hub. For example, a hub may require all of its spokes to send their invoices electronically according to a certain standard. 
     
  • IaaS (Integration as a Service): IaaS is cloud computing at its core. It is, like all XaaS solutions, a subscription-based offering that provides basic cloud computing infrastructure for both public and private clouds. Cloud services and infrastructure go hand in hand. So when it comes to cloud and infrastructure services, there’s not really a separation between the two. Cloud services always have an infrastructure component; it’s the very premise of cloud existence. Think: physical data center, servers, networking, storage.
     
  • Implementation Guide: Implementation guides are publications that list the EDI messages that are in used in a particular industry or application. These guides indicate how the information in those messages should be presented on a segment-by-segment and data-element-by-data-element basis, including which segments and data elements are needed, which are not, and what code values are expected in the application of that particular message.
     
  • Integration: From an internal perspective, integration is a process that aims to connect all systems, applications, software, and other solutions in use across an organization to provide data transparency. In the supply chain, integration is used to connect trading partners and facilitate trade by enabling real-time data exchange and insights. 

    Today, businesses are continually adding to their technology stacks. But every business has to begin somewhere, and that starting point is typically the foundation that dictates all major IT initiatives—or integration scenarios—moving forward. In other words, every business has a core (or multiple cores), which is more often than not an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.  But as a standalone investment, a core system will never support all business-critical activities out-of-the-box. Instead, it has to be enriched with both internal and external applications and additional (often third-party) software. This creates a whole web of disparate systems and scattered data. Integration solves this problem. 
     
  • Interconnect: Two value-added networks (VANs) that link to one another’s address.
     
  • Internet of Things (IoT): A network of physical devices embedded with electronics, software, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.
     
  • iPaaS: (Integration Platform as a Service) Gartner defines iPaaS as “a suite of cloud services enabling development, execution and governance of integration flows connecting any combination of on premises and cloud-based processes, services, applications and data within individual or across multiple organizations.”

    Traditional iPaaS is sometimes specified under the Enterprise Integration Platform as a Service (Enterprise iPaaS) category. Gartner’s iPaaS definition above also applies here but becomes specific to enterprise integration scenarios.
     
  • ISA/IEA: (Interchange Control Segments) ISA/IEA is the outer envelope in an EDI exchange and is known as the Interchange Envelope. It contains information on the number of transaction sets included, identifies the sender and receiver, and provides date and time of the transmission.
     
  • JIT: (Just In Time) The essence of the JIT methodology is to produce only what is needed, when it is needed, and in the exact amount that is needed. In other words, JIT allows for just enough stock to fulfill an order, helping manufacturers to reduce inventory costs and waste while increasing supply chain efficiency.

    The JIT manufacturing concept was first introduced by Toyota in post-World War II Japan. It was then referred to as the “Toyota Production System” (TPS), and its origins can be traced back to three main reasons: Japan’s lack of cash to invest in bulk inventory, a lack of space to build big factories and warehouses, and a lack of natural resources, which forced manufacturers to minimize consumption and inventory costs to remain competitive.
     
  • Machine Learning: Machine Learning (ML) is a subset of AI that focuses on teaching computers how to learn without the need to be programmed for specific tasks. It combines large amounts of data and processes it with smart algorithms so that the software automatically learns the patterns and properties of the data, as well as specific human interactions. Basically, the software gets smarter and smarter as it is exposed to more data and human interventions. In other words, it learns and improves itself automatically by gaining experience.

    Because of the patterns ML pick up on, the software can also make predictions based on historical data. This allows AI to create interesting and, better yet, useful predictive analytics that can be used in making strategic decisions.
     
  • Mailbox: A mailbox is a file storage area within a computer, usually one used by a Network Service Provider, where information is placed until it can be retrieved by the intended receiver.
     
  • Mapping: EDI mapping is a process in which EDI data is translated from its original format into a format that can be read by the ERP or other back-end system of your trading partner.  

    Imagine that two trading partners speak two different languages. To communicate successfully, they would either need to speak a common language or use a translator. EDI mapping software is the translator that converts data from a proprietary file (CSV, iDoc, flat file, or another ERP-specific format) to the required EDI standard format (ANSI X12, EDIFACT, etc.) and vice versa.
     
  • Message Type: Electronic data interchange (EDI) exchanges between trading partners are often referred to as EDI messages. Each message contains a structured set of data relative to the information that is contained within the specific message, for example, an invoice. 

    There are overarching terms, like invoices and purchase orders, that are message types in and of themselves. However, various terms may represent the same EDI message type when EDI standards are involved, each of which provide their own terminology and structured data requirements for a particular message. For instance, an invoice is referred to as an EDI 810 according to the ANSI X12 standard, but it is referred to as INVOIC according to the UN/EDIFACT standard. The data contained within the invoice is structured differently as well.
     
  • Migration: Migration refers to the act of moving all data from one system to another. Today, migration is mainly used to describe an internal business process in which an organization has decided to move their core business operations to the cloud. In that case, they would be migrating from an on-premise solution to a cloud-based solution.
     
  • Network: For businesses that exchange data electronically based on common EDI and/or e-invoicing standards or, alternatively, fall under a certain industry category, successful transmission of the exchanges often relies on a specific network connection. Meaning, all electronic messages must be sent in the correct format and via the appropriate network in order to be accepted. Some common networks include PEPPOL, GDSN, and EDIFICE. 
     
  • Network Service Provider: A company that maintains a network and offers its services and capabilities to others for a fee. 
     
  • ODBC: (Open Database Connectivity) ODBC provides a standard software API (application programming interface) method for using database management systems, independent of programming languages, database systems, and operating systems.
     
  • OLE DB: (Object Linking and Embedding, Database) OLE DB is an AP interface designed by Microsoft for accessing different types of data stores in a uniform manner. It separates the data store from the application that needs access to it through a set of abstractions that include the data source, session, command, and row sets.
     
  • Omnichannel: As opposed to single-channel or multi-channel, an omnichannel retail strategy omnichannel strategy will offer a unified buying experience throughout all the channels that a customer uses to interact with a product. For example, a company might offer identical in-store and online promotions, or they might take an integrated inventory approach to show product availability regardless of the channel used to make the purchase. The increasingly popular buy online pick up in store (BOPIS) model is another example of an omnichannel approach to retail. 
     
  • Onboarding: Onboarding refers to the process of enabling electronic document exchange between two trading partners. A typical onboarding scenario is that a non-EDI-enabled supplier enters into a new relationship with a large retailer and must connect to the retailer’s supplier portal in order to submit their invoices. 

    Onboarding may also refer to the process of connecting to trading partners of which both are capable of sending documents electronically. In this case, onboarding is the process of connecting both trading partner systems to enable a seamless flow of electronic data. This requires EDI mapping. 
     
  • Open Network: A network with which outside parties can communicate.
     
  • Order-to-Cash: A sales process from the perspective of the supplier or vendor: Incoming sales orders subsequently lead to a (hopefully healthy) cashflow.
     
  • P2P (Purchase-to-Pay): Purchase-to-pay (P2P), also called procure-to-pay, is the purchasing process of goods and services. From the order to the payment to the supplier. The entire purchase-to-pay process consists of a large number of individual processes that occur across different parts of the organization, involving multiple employees.
     
  • PEPPOL Access Point (AP): An organization (typically a service provider) can serve as a PEPPOL Access Point to connect other organizations (typically trading partners) to the PEPPOL network after undergoing a rigorous certification process. TIE Kinetix is a certified PEPPOL Access Point. 
     
  • Point-to-Point: Refers to a type of communication whereby messages are sent directly from one business partner to another without the use of a VAN. In other words, a direct connection which involves custom map creation to connect the two systems. 
     
  • Private Sector: Refers to organizations outside of the public sector. In other words, private sector organizations are not publicly funded. 
     
  • Procurement: Procurement is often executed on the buyer side (e.g., a retailer). It refers to the act of obtaining goods and/or services from one or more suppliers. 
     
  • Procure-to-Pay: Procure-to-pay, also called purchase-to-pay (P2P), is the purchasing process of goods and services. From the order to the payment to the supplier. The entire purchase-to-pay process consists of a large number of individual processes that occur across different parts of the organization, involving multiple employees.
     
  • Public Sector: The public sector is the collective term for all governmental and semi-governmental organizations. 
     
  • Qualifier: Part of an EDI address.
     
  • Receiver: The party to whom the EDI message or transaction set is transmitted.
     
  • Repository: A location or set of distributed locations which hold the data (such as that associated with a product), pointed at by a registry, and from where the data can be retrieved.
     
  • RFID: (Radio Frequency Identification) RFID is a technology that allows data held on a microchip to be broadcast using a wireless transmitter. Data from the RFID chip can be read even when the chip is not in line of sight.
     
  • RFP: (Request for Proposal) A request for proposal (RFP) is an invitation for suppliers, through a bidding process, to submit a proposal on a specific commodity or service.
     
  • SaaS: (Software as a Service) SaaS is type of service model that is cloud-based and requires that customers pay a monthly fee. It’s a hands-free deployment model in which the SaaS service provider is responsible for providing you with all the necessary cloud computing systems required for hosting your data in the cloud (most likely public). It also means that all software updates, improvements, and maintenance is taken care of. SaaS has largely replaced on-premise infrastructure in leading organizations. 
     
  • SCM: (Supply Chain Management) SCM is a broad term, but it can be narrowed down to two very different approaches: reactive and strategic.

    Reactive supply chain management is, as the name suggests, a business’s attempt to fix something in the supply chain after something has gone wrong.

    On the other hand, strategic supply chain management is an ongoing, planned approach. It doesn’t occur in response to disruption but rather recognizes that disruption can happen at any time. With this approach, the goal is full supply chain transparency from start to finish. In other words, a business aims to be aware of everything that is happening with anything or anyone that could possibly affect the final product reaching the end customer as planned. 
     
  • Self-billing: Customers can generate the invoice themselves and remit payment electronically via EDI.
     
  • Seller: The party in a business transaction who sells goods or services to a buyer.
     
  • Sender: The party that transmits EDI messages.
     
  • Shipment Notification: An EDI transaction sent by the shipper of material to the receiver advising that the shipment has been sent, and providing details such as manifest, PO number, estimated time of arrival, carrier, etc. 
     
  • Software: The programs residing on disk, tape, or other storage media used by the computer to accomplish its tasks.
     
  • Sourcing: Sourcing is the process of selecting suppliers to provide the goods and services you need to run your business.
     
  • Spoke: EDI term that refers to a business partner, usually a supplier to a buyer company (known as a hub).
     
  • SRM: (Supplier Relationship Management) SRM is when a buying organization maintains close collaboration with suppliers and integrates sourcing processes with applications throughout the enterprise to enhance transparency and lower costs.
     
  • Structured Data: Structured data is data that is organized in a very specific, commonly understood way. Although it may not be easily interpreted by humans, this type of data is easily understood by computers and is often used in system-to-system exchanges. Structured data sets the stage for electronic document exchange, and it can take many forms.
     
  • Supply Chain: A sequence of events, which may include conversion, movement or placement, which adds value to goods, products, or services.
     
  • SSCC: (Serial Shipping Container Code) SSCC is the GS1 identification key for an item established for transport and/or storage which needs to be managed through the supply chain. The SSCC is assigned for the lifetime of the transport item and is a mandatory element on the UCC-128 Shipping Label.
     
  • Syntax: The system for arranging data elements and segments within an EDI message or transaction set, as dictated by the message or transaction set standards being used.
     
  • Third-party: A party other than the sender or receiver, such as an EDI service provider or software developer, that provides goods or services—in this case in support of the exchange of EDI data.
     
  • Translation: The process of converting information from one EDI standard format to another. In other words, the conversion of business application data to and from another data format, such as a standard (ASC X12 for example) using translation software and maps.
     
  • Translator: A program used to convert information from flat file to EDI format, or from EDI format to flat file.
     
  • Trading Partner: A person or organization that has agreed to exchange EDI business documents electronically. In other words, a trading partner is the sending or receiving party involved in the exchange of EDI transmissions.
     
  • Transaction Sets: X12 standards identify a series of basic electronic documents called transaction sets. These cover common business documents such as purchase orders, invoices, and manifests but also specialized single-industry documents such as those for government or health care use (see also ANSI X12 definition).
     
  • UCC-128 Shipping Label: A label containing information such as the SSCC (Serial Shipping Container Code), barcodes, the origin and destination of the package, and its contents. The label is used on both pallet shipments and individual cartons of products. It is often used in conjunction with ASNs (EDI 856 transaction sets).
     
  • Unstructured Data: Unstructured data is data that is arranged freely and in no particular order. By nature, it cannot be immediately understood by a computer, but it can most likely be understood by a human. Endless types of files can consist of unstructured data, such as emails, invoices, videos, images, and much, much more.
     
  • User: An entity, either an individual or a company, who utilizes a computer or system of standards for a specific purpose like EDI.
     
  • User Group: An organization of individuals and/or companies who come together to deal with the needs of those who wish to employ a technique or technology in a unified manner. User groups are discussion organizations.
     
  • Validation: The process of determining that compliance standards have been met by a particular document in an EDI transmission.
     
  • Value-Added Network: A Value-Added Network (VAN) is a private network for electronic data interchanges. In other words, it is hosted service that provides a secure way to exchange EDI documents between companies. Serving as a collaboration network, EDI VANs help to facilitate EDI communications among business partners. It does so by reducing the number of entities each company needs to connect to.   
     
  • VAN: See Value-Added Network.
     
  • Vendor Managed Inventory: (VMI) A system of inventory replenishment in which the vendor accepts responsibility for maintaining customer’s inventory levels of the vendor’s products by monitoring POS and inventory information sent by the customer. This is usually automated through EDI to achieve as smooth a flow of replenishment as possible.
     
  • Version/Release: Identifies the publication of the standard being used for the generation or the interpretation of data in the X12 standard format.
     
  • VPN: Virtual Private Network.
     
  • Web-EDI: A generic term for the transmitting of structured business messages over the Internet. This may include solutions such as a portal that requires a login and inputting commercial transactional information into a form on a website using an Internet browser. This method requires an element of manual intervention and can not be automated entirely in the case of EDI transactions. 
     
  • Web Services: A standard means of interoperating between different software applications, running on a variety of platforms and/or frameworks, over the Internet.