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EDIFACT messages | EDIFACT vs. X12

EDIFACT is an international EDI standard used by companies worldwide. Due to the international nature of the standard, each message within the standard is very comprehensive. This has lead to a number of industry specific standards based upon EDIFACT being created. The industry specific standards tend to be subsets of the EDIFACT message. This reduces the complexity of the messages and hence eases implementation. A popular subset of EDIFACT is EANCOM, which is designed for international trade and based on the EDIFACT D96A directory. National standards bodies also create their own subset for their particular, and in some cases, unique national requirements. The UK has its own national standard Tradacoms which is meant for domestic trade, Tradacoms is distinct from EDIFACT and has a large number of differences. There is also a UK standard based on UN EDIFACT, known as UK EDIFACT which is derived from UN EDIFACT D96A.

EDIFACT and other industry specific standards have created a series of messages that can be used for specific tasks. These messages have 6 character names, for example ORDERS (Order Message), INVOIC (Invoice Message), DEBADV (Debit Advice) etc.

As time has gone by new messages have been added to the standard and the original messages have been updated. There are now over a dozen versions of a standard orders message. A full list of the defined messages and the versions can be found at http://www.unece.org/trade/untdid/welcome.htm

The EDIFACT standard (EDI For Administration Commerce and Transport) is the only EDI standard that is truly accepted world-wide. EDIFACT provides standard formats for business documents and incorporates features that meet international requirements.

Whilst EDIFACT messages are designed for business data transactions, they are complex in their structure. It is accepted that national/industry conventions will determine which parts of the total message requirements to use. As a result, the message will be reduced down to size to only contain the information required by that industry. Some different subsets of the EDIFACT format are listed below:

  • AMEDIS - Gaming machine messages
  • CEFIC - The chemical industry
  • EAN International - Retail
  • EANCOM - International Article Numbering Association (EAN International)
    • EANCOM is a standard that is available to all, but adds the use of EAN standard, unique identification numbers to the core EDIFACT messages.
  • EDIBUILD - The construction industry
  • EDICON - The construction industry
  • EDIFACT - HM Customs and Excise
    • HM Customs and Excise use EDIFACT segments etc., with their own unique message definitions.
  • EDIFACT - Inland Revenue
    • Inland Revenue use EDIFACT segments etc., with their own unique message definitions.
  • EDIFICAS - Legal and accountancy
  • EDIFICE - The computing, electronics and telecommunications industry
  • EDIPAP - The paper industry EDITEX The textile industry
  • EDIWHITE - The white goods industry (appliances)
  • EMEDI - European Medical EDI Association
  • ETIS - Telecommunications
  • Eurostat - Statistics
    • The EDI message development group within Eurostat generate an EDIFACT subset for integrating EDI into the process of collecting and circulating statistical information.
  • IATA - International Air Transport Association EDI Standards
    • A series of UN/EDIFACT based EDI messages covering both cargo (CARGO-FACT) and passenger, published as the IATA EDIFACT Database
  • SPEC 2000M - Association Europeenne des Constructeurs de Materiel Aerospatial
    • Interchange of messages between organisations in the European aerospace and defence industries.
  • SWIFT - Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications EDI Standards
    • A set of standard messages for international payments, statements, and other transactions related to international finance between banks. They also support UN/EDIFACT messages, but this is not strictly based on them.
  • UIC 912 - Union Internationale de Chemins de Fer 912 Protocol
    • A set of standard messages for international exchange of information between railways. They are also supporting the use of UN/EDIFACT messages with the EDIFER subset.
  • UNICORN - Travel Technology Initiative
    • EDI messages for electronic booking in travel, tourism and leisure.
Subpages (1): EDIFACT Message List