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Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is the computer-to-computer exchange of routine business data between trading partners in standard data formats. Click to read more.

X12 is the cross industry standard designed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to support any business function in any industry. It provides a single standard with a single architecture, producing a common, uniform language for electronic communications; however, that creates a lot of extra baggage for any given business use.  For example, the data that you need to buy an aircraft carrier is much different than the data that is needed to buy a shirt. X12 has to support this wide range of capabilities.

X12 was designed primarily as the standard for EDI transactions in North America. In 1997, a global EDI standard emerged out of X12, called EDIFACT.

Today, over 300 X12 transactions sets are used to handle most facets of business-to- business communications in many different industries including retail, government, transportation, and automotive. Common transactions include purchase orders, advanced ship notices, and invoices. X12 standards are developed, maintained and published by the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC).

Electronic Product Catalogs are very similar to paper catalogs; however, they do not have to go through a slow, expensive printing process, which allows them to be updated frequently. These catalogs are used by buying organizations and are sometimes mandated for suppliers.Catalog service providers act as a central repository for multiple vendors’ catalogs. These repositories support customer-specific pricing and a broad range of product information. This enables buyers to access the catalog to request information from specific suppliers or search for specific product information.

Usually, Electronic Product Catalogs can be populated several different ways including:

  • EDI Transaction Set- 832
  • Spreadsheet
  • Proprietary web-based applications for direct entry and updating

Many types of barcodes exist to identify products; however the following are the most commonly used:

  • GTIN- A Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is a 14-digit number that identifies your merchandise.  The GTIN is quickly replacing the UPC.  This number is an umbrella UCC identification number for other UCC numbers (UPC, EAN-13, and EAN-8) and can be achieved by padding the number with left justified zeros until reaching 14 total digits.  In other words, if you have UPC numbers and need GTINs, add 2 zeros to the front of the UPC number.
  • UPC- The Universal Product Code (UPC) is a standardized way for your Trading Partner to identify your products.  The majority of Trading Partners require you, their suppliers, to have UPCs.  The UPC is a 12 digit number, which is usually made up of a 6 digit block ID (UCC Manufacturer’s ID), 5-digits that identifies your product, and the last digit is a check digit.  The check digit is a calculation based on the previous 11 digits.
  • EAN- The European Article Number (EAN) is the European version of the consumer bar code.
  • EPC- The Electronic Product Code (EPC) is the electronic bar code embedded into RFID chips.
EDI Services

EDI Sourcing Inc is an EDI service provider that offers a comprehensive set of fully outsourced EDI services that helps companies to take full advantage of their EDI investment. With our EDI services, companies are able to optimize the efficiency, reliability, and reach of their electronic supply chain while reducing costs, infrastructure and overhead.

For thousands of companies, their EDI-based supply chain is the most important aspect of their business as it has a direct impact on profitability. But with an ever-changing business environment and technological advances, staying up-to-date and optimized can be difficult and problematic.

Companies already enabled with Electronic Data Interchange are facing many challenges related to the management of their EDI application. Companies are experiencing:

  • Limited solution options
  • Inability to trade with their entire business community or meet compliance requirements
  • Low quality of services and high costs
  • Limited or poor customer service

In addition, companies looking to implement an EDI program often find that their options are limited:

  • Expensive solutions that are not cost-effective for their situation
  • Technology requirements beyond their capabilities
  • Limited support or implementation
  • Inability to meet trading partner needs

EDI Sourcing's broad portfolio of EDI services and solutions answers all of these challenges. Whether you are a large EDI hub with mission-critical applications, or a small supplier with no EDI capabilities, our solution portfolio can be tailored to your company’s requirements.

EDI Sourcing Inc provides several cornerstone EDI Services:

  • EDI VAN - enables secure, reliable, and efficient communications with trading partners around the globe. It includes our hosted solution, that allows you to convert data into any format, EDIINT Services for processing AS2 data, and the ability to process any type of data format with any trading partner regardless of their technology.
  • Web EDI - allows EDI enabled companies to trade with non-EDI companies who have access to a web browser. This allows for the efficient processing of transactions bi-directionally so that all parties can process data in their preferred format.
  • EDI Managed Services - provides outsourced EDI services tailored to fit your budget, technical sophistication, and trading partner requirements. You conduct your business and EDI Sourcing manages your EDI services.
  • EDI Service Bureau - EDIS integrates with large EDI Service Bureaus in the world supporting the retail trading community helping to bridge technology gaps between large retail hubs and their non-EDI suppliers.

Using any combination of these EDI services provides you with a world of opportunity to strengthen your existing business relationships, add new partners and vendors at will, obtain higher levels of efficiency, and improve your overall ability to gain control of your EDI application.

Electronic Data Interchange - What is it ?

Electronic Data Interchange is the computer-to-computer exchange of routine business data between trading partners in standard data formats. This definition contains 3 key concepts about EDI:

  1. Computer-to-computer: EDI in its most efficient form flows directly out of a sender’s computer system directly into a receiver’s computer system without any human intervention; however, it is not always possible for EDI to flow in this most efficient manner.
  2. Routing business data:  EDI is used for routine business documents like Purchase Orders and Invoices.  It is not used for non-routine business documents like complicated contracts or information meant for humans to read and analyze. 
  3. Standard data formats:  A standard definition of the location and structure of the data is provided.  Unstructured text is not EDI.

The conventional process requires someone to handle a printed computer generated form and mail it. Then, the recipient re-keys the data back into another computer for their internal processing. (It is estimated that 80% of the data that is keyed into computers is output from other computers!) The EDI process is a computer transmitting the information directly to another computer, eliminating the paperwork and human intervention.

Benefits of EDI
  • Speed – Data can move directly out of one computer system and into another with little to no delay.
  • Accuracy – Errors are reduced because data is not being re-keyed.  Error rates from entering data are between .5 – 3%.  On large volumes of transactions, the possibility for the introduction of errors is enormous.
  • Simplicity – EDI standards specify how data will be formatted and where it can be found.
  • Security – Much less likely to lose information transmitted through EDI than information sent via mail.  EDI can be accessed only by authorized users, and then there are audit trails and archives of data.  EDI data cannot be easily changed by unauthorized users.  It is also not subject to viruses.

    These 4 benefits produce the following results:

    • Faster buy-sell cycle time
    • Faster cash flow
    • Reduced order lead time
    • Reduced inventories
    • Ability to conduct just-in-time manufacturing
    • Improved trading partner relationships


    The retailer will initiate the process with an electronic transmission of an electronic Purchase Order (850). The supplier will receive the order, case it and print UCC-128 labels. Then, the order is packed and the UCC-128 labels are placed on the cartons. The cartons are then shipped to the retailer and the supplier electronically transmits an Advanced Ship Notice (856). After the shipment has been sent, the supplier transmits an electronic Invoice (810) for the goods. These electronic documents are sent in a standard Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) format.


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