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EDI Glossary

This is a list of terms commonly used in the world of EDI for your reference.

ANSI – The American National Standards Institute.  This non-profit organization oversees standardization within the United States.  It developed ASC X12, the EDI standard used in North America, in 1979.

ASC X12 – The EDI standard used in North America.  It was developed by the ANSI in 1979.  ASC stands for Accredited Standards Committee.

AS1 – Applicability Statement 1.  A specification for the secure and reliable transfer of data via the internet using Simple Mail Transfer Protocol.  SMPT is typically used for exchanging emails.

AS2 – Applicability Statement 2.  A specification for the secure and reliable transfer of data via the internet using Hypertext Transfer Protocol.

AS3 – Applicability Statement 3.  A specification for the secure and reliable transfer of data via the internet using File Transfer Protocol.

ASN – Advanced Ship Notice.  The ASN is sent from the seller to the customer to notify them that the product is being shipped and details about the shipment. In North America, it’s categorized as an 856 transaction.

B2B – Business-to-Business.  Refers to document exchange of both informal documents such as emails and structured EDI.

Barcode – A representation of information to be read by a machine.  They can be arranged in a variety of patterns and can be read by optical scanners.

BOM – Bill of Materials.  It describes a list of parts or component needed to complete an item for sale.

Connectivity – Being able to establish and maintain a connection between two points in a telecommunications system.  In EDI, a Value Added Network (VAN) is used to establish connectivity.

CSV File – Comma-Separated Values file format.  It uses commas to separate different values in tabular data.

Customer Testing – A cycle of end-to-end testing with a customer or end user such as the customer service manager.

Data Element – In an EDI transaction set, this is the smallest information unit. When combined, data elements create data segments.

Data Format – Typically, there are two file formats: 1) the format exchanged with the customer (normally the X12 format) and 2) the intermediate file ERP system (normally a positional record).

Data Segment EDI – A line of information in an EDI message.

Data Transmission – The method of connecting and testing to a single trading partner.  Examples include VAN, AS2, FTP and VPN.  Each connection point (unique sender/receiver ID combination) is considered a separate connectivity event.

DUNS Number – A nine-digit number established by Dun & Bradsheet which identifies businesses.  The numbers are assigned around the world.

EAN – European Article Number.  A barcoding standard which is a superset of North America’s 12 digit UPC system.

EDI – Electronic Data Interchange.  The computer-to-computer exchange of routine business documents such as Purchase Orders, Shipment Notices, Invoices, and Remittance Advices without human intervention.  Data moves from your customer’s computer system – through the Internet securely – to your computer system.

EDIFACT – The most widely used EDI standard outside of North America.  It was developed by the United Nations in 1987.  It stands for Electronic Data Interchange For Administration, Commerce, and Transport.

EDI Map – An EDI re-formatting program for a specific business document and trading partner that is exchanged.  The mapper is the tool provided by the EDI system that creates the map.  An example is a Wal-Mart purchase order for delivery to a distribution center that is cross-docked.

EDI System – Provides document reformatting, import/export working with the ERP system, data transmission to the Trading Partner securely through the Internet, and administration (process control, error reporting, data storage/archive, and more).

ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning. ERP uses a suite of integrated applications to allow a business to better store, collect, manage, and interpret data from a variety of business applications.

FTP – File transfer protocol.  A typical way of moving files between computers via the internet.  Some public files can be accessed through anonymous FTP, without a username or password.

Functional Acknowledgement – A confirmation that a trading partner has received an EDI transaction, including the time and date of receipt.  In North America, it’s categorized as a 997 transaction.

Integration – The automated exchange of information between two distinct applications with little to no manual intervention.

Order-to-pay – For customers.  Refers to the combination of formal and informal documents.

Process Automation – The end goal.  If businesses can automate their processes, they will save time and money.

Purchase-to-pay – For vendors.  Refers to the combination of formal and informal documents

SCAC – Standard Carrier Alpha Codes.  Distinct 4-letter codes which identify transportation carriers.

SDK – Software Developers Kit.  A software publisher provides this middleware which enables other software publishers’ software to integrate with their application.

System Testing – A cycle of end-to-end testing with an ERP system or firewall until approved by the project manager.

Trading Partner – The other organization with which business documents are exchanged.  The trading partner is an independent company or organization.  Most often the trading partner is a customer.

Transaction Set – A business document exchanged with a trading partner, such as a Purchase Order.  Transaction Sets are different directionally; an inbound P.O. is from a customer, an outbound P.O. is to a vendor.  The direction is important because different modules of the ERP system are used.

Translation – Converting a business document between the EDI standard and a human readable format.

UPC – Universal Product Code.  The most widely used barcode format in North America.

VAN – Value Added Network.  A third party which ensures EDI connectivity between trading partners.