EDI Definitions & Glossary

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EDI Definitions & Glossary


A 3rd Party Logistics provider is a firm that provides service to its customers of outsourced (or “third party”) logistics services for part, or all of their supply chain management functions. Third party logistics providers typically specialize in integrated operation, warehousing and transportation services that can be scaled and customized to customers’ needs based on market conditions and the demands and delivery service requirements for their products and materials.

Advance Ship Notice (ASN)

Also known as the Advance Ship Notice (ASN). A notification of an order in the process of being shipped. Contains information on the specific order including the product data and shipping information


In 1979, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) chartered the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12 to develop uniform standards for inter-industry electronic exchange of business transactions, namely electronic data interchange. ANSI X12 was originally conceived to support companies across different industry sectors in North America however today there are more than 300,000 companies worldwide using X12 EDI standards in daily business transactions. ASC X12 also contributes to UN/EDIFACT messages that are used widely outside of the United States.


Applicability Statement (AS) 1 was developed by the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) to implement secure and reliable messaging over SMTP and S/MIME. It was the first AS protocol to be developed and uses signing, encryption and MDN conventions. (MDN refers to Message Disposition Notifications or the ability to provide “Return Receipts”). As with any AS file transfer, AS1 file transfers typically require both sides of the exchange to trade SSL certificates and specific business partner names before any transfers can take place.


Applicability Statement (AS) 2 uses the same signing, encryption, and MDN conventions used in the original AS1 protocol. AS2 messages are usually sent across the internet using the HTTP or HTTPS protocol. AS2 has been widely deployed as a point-to-point connectivity method. AS2 offers many advantages over standard HTTP, including increased verification, and security achieved through the use of receipts and digital signatures. AS2 transactions and acknowledgements also occur in real-time, increasing the efficiency of document exchanges. Walmart was one of the first companies to help drive the adoption of AS2 across the retail sector.

Bar Code

An array of’ rectangular marks and spaces in a predetermined pattern. Usually used for automatic product or shipment identification.

Batch Processing

The processing of computer information after it has accumulated in one group or batch.

Bill of Lading

A document that is used by a vendor and a freight carrier that describes the freight classification of the goods being shipped by the vendor.

Direct Store Delivery (DSD)

The practice of delivering product directly to store and notifying the store of the delivery electronically rather than by paper

DUNS Number

Dun & Bradstreet identification number often used in EDI transmissions


A subset of EDIFACT messages, developed by GS1, to allow business partners to exchange commercial documents in a simple, accurate and cost effective manner.

This standard was originally conceived in 1987 by the EAN General Assembly and was to be developed on the then emerging international UN/EDIFACT standard. The EANCOM messages, maintained by GS1, are more detailed in nature compared to the TRADACOMS message set. EANCOM was originally developed for the retail sector and has subsequently grown to become the most widely used UN/EDIFACT subset and is now found in a variety of other industry sectors such as healthcare, construction and publishing.

EDI 850 Document

A Purchase Order (PO) the basic document that contains the electronic information for an order from one system to another.

EDI 855 Document

A purchase order acknowledgement. A document that is sometimes required stating that a specific order has been received and if there are any changes with the order. Ex. A specific item is backordered.

EDI 856 Document

Also known as the Advanced Ship Notice (ASN). A notification of an order in the process of being shipped. Contains information on the specific order including the product data and shipping information.

EDI Compliant

A client is capable of transmitting data electronic via an EDI provider and meets the standards and requirements for doing so.

EDI Mapping

Converting the electronic documents being sent by one system into the format required by the other system. The internal programming that changes the files and allows them to process through systems automatically.

EDI Service Provider

“Electronic Data Interchange” provider. (Example B2BGateway.Net) A company that specializes in the transfer of electronic documents from one system to another.

EDI Solutions

The upgrade to the electronic exchange of documents normally being sent by other means


A standard format in EDI transmission designed to keep the files transmitted as small as possible but is not as widely used as XML.


Electronic Data Interchange For Administration, Commerce and Transport. The international EDI Standard as developed through the United Nations.

United Nations/Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport is the international standard that was developed by the United Nations. The work of maintenance and further development of this standard is done through the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) under the UN Economic Commission for Europe. The EDIFACT standard provides a set of syntax rules to structure, an interactive exchange protocol and provides a set of standard messages which allow multi-country and multi-industry exchange of electronic business documents. EDIFACT is widely used across Europe, mainly due to the fact that many companies adopted it very early on. EDIFACT has seen some adoption in the ASPAC region, however, there are currently more XML-based standards being used in this particular region today.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

The computer-to-computer transfer of business transaction information using standard, industry-accepted message formats.


File Transfer Protocol is a standard network protocol used to exchange and manipulate files over a TCP/IP based network such as the internet. FTP is built on a client-server architecture and utilizes separate control and data connections between the client and server applications. FTP is also often used as an application component to automatically transfer files for internal functions within programs. FTP can be used with user-based password authentication or with anonymous user access.


File Transfer Secure Protocol is an extension of FTP which adds support for the Transport Layer Security (TLS) and the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) cryptographic protocols. FTPS should not be confused with SFTP, an incompatible secure file transfer subsystem for the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol. It is also different from Secure FTP, the practice of tunneling FTP through an SSH connection.

Fully-Integrated EDI

A setup in which the EDI provider works directly with a client’s system without the use of a go between applications.

Functional Acknowledgement (997 - FA)

A transaction set transmitted by the receiver of an EDI transmission to the sender, indicating the receipt and syntactical acceptability of a message. It does not provide acknowledgement of the content of the message, just that the message has been successfully received and interpreted.Often abbreviated and referred to as “FA”.

Global Location Number (GLN)

A Global Location Number (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 locations. Global locations numbers are reference keys to computer files where information about the company or location can be found. The 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 within Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) business messages and data pools, and they can also be used in bar codes to identify a physical location or to provide relevant information for delivery or invoicing purposes.


A worldwide network of standards bodies and service providers which develops 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.


Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, established by the U.S Congress in 1996.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was enacted by the U.S congress in 1996. A key component of HIPAA is the establishment of national standards for electronic health care transactions and national identifiers for providers, health insurance plans and employers. The standards are meant to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the North American health care system by encouraging the widespread use of EDI in the U.S health care system. The HIPAA EDI transaction sets are based on X12.


HyperText Transfer Protocol is used to request and transmit files, especially web pages and web page components, over the internet or other computer networks. In HTTP, web browsers typically act as clients, while an application running on the computer hosting the web site acts as a server. HTTP is typically implemented across TCP/IP however it can be implemented on top of any other protocol on the internet, or on other networks.


HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure is a combination of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol with the SSL/TLS protocol to provide encryption and secure identification of the server. HTTPS connections are often used for payment type transactions across the internet and for the exchange of sensitive information between corporate business systems.


A request for payment that communicates to a buyer the specific items, price, and quantities delivered that must be paid for by the buyer. Payment terms will usually accompany the billing information.


The act of determining what pieces of information in the company’s database should be placed into each data element of an EDI message or transaction set, or in reverse, what data elements of an EDI message or transaction set should be placed into the company’s database.


An integrated web-based business software suite


Organization for Data Exchange Through Teletransmission in Europe. Refers to both the European automotive industry body and the EDIFACT EDI standard subset for that industry.

The Organization for Data Exchange by Tele Transmission in Europe is a group that represents the interests of the automotive industry in Europe. They are the equivalent of the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) in North America. The organization develops tools and recommendations that improve the flow of goods, services product data and business information across the whole automotive value chain. ODETTE has been responsible for developing communications standards such as OFTP and OFTP2.0, constant improvement processes such as Materials Management Operations Guideline / Logistics Evaluation (MMOG/LE) and automotive-specific document standards.


ODETTE File Transfer Protocol. The messaging protocol for the European automotive industry.


Peachtree is the former name for Sage 50 U.S. Edition. It is an accounting software solution for small to medium sized organizations.

Pick Tickets

Similar to a packing slip it contains information on the order. Such as product information, shipping information, and specific order data.

Purchase Order

A document issued by a buyer to a seller that details the terms of sale under which the buyer will purchase the seller’s goods.

Purchase Order Acknowledgement

Confirmation to the buyer that the supplier will be filling the purchase order as requested.


A small business financial software package.

Secure Socket

Is a protocol for the security of a data transmission over the internet. This protocol uses an encryption system to securely transport the data.


Secure File Transfer Protocol is a network protocol that provides file access, file transfer and file management functionality over any reliable data stream. It was designed as an extension to the Secure Shell protocol (SSH) version 2.0 to provide secure file transfer capability, but it is also intended to be usable with other protocols as well. SFTP can be used in a number of different applications such as secure transfer over Transport Layer Security (TLS) and transfer of management information within VPN applications. This protocol assumes that it is run over a secure channel, such as SSH, that the server has already authenticated the client and that the identity of the client user is available to the protocol.

SMTP (E-mail)

Simple way of transmitting EDI files over the internet via email.

Third Party Logistics

A Third Party Logistics provider is a firm that provides service to its customers of outsourced (or “third party”) logistics services for part, or all of their supply chain management functions. Third party logistics providers typically specialize in integrated operation, warehousing and transportation services that can be scaled and customized to customers’ needs based on market conditions and the demands and delivery service requirements for their products and materials.


This is an early standard for EDI and was primarily used in the UK retail sector. It was originally introduced in 1982 as an implementation of the UN/GTDI syntax, one of the precursors of EDIFACT, and was maintained and extended by the UK Article Numbering Association, now called GS1 UK. The standard is more or less obsolescent since the development of it effectively ceased in 1995 in favor of the EDIFACT EANCOM subsets. Despite this it has proved durable and the majority of the retail EDI traffic in the UK still uses it today.

Trading Partner

The entity with which EDI business documents are exchanged. This may be either the sender or the receiver of information in EDI.

UCC-128 Barcode Labels

A standard way of labeling packages that includes a scan able bar code label that contains the shipping information for the order and is placed on the box.

Uniform Code Council (UCC)

The 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.

Value Aded Network (VAN)

Often abbreviated as VAN and today called an EDI Network Services Provider, a third-party entity which handles the electronic exchange of information between subscribers to its services. Services provided by VANs include electronic mailboxing of EDI transmissions, protocol and speed conversion, and EDI record keeping for audit tracking.

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.

Web EDI Solution

An option allowing a user to use a web based solution (usually a website) to fulfill the EDI needs without the full integration of an accounting package.

Web Services

A standard means of inter-operating between different software applications, running on a variety of platforms and/or frameworks, over the Internet.


A data format that is both human and machine readable. It is one of the most common formats for EDI transmission. The usual abbreviation for Extensible Markup Language , an open standard for describing data defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

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