EDI Glossary

Please find here an alphabetical list of EDI terms, which will help you in your EDI projects.

PDF EDI Glossary
  • A
  • Accredited Standards Committee X12:

    The group authorized by the American National Standards Institute to develop and maintain the EDI Standards used primarily in the United States.

    Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN):

    An electronic version of a printed packing slip that tells a buyer that goods have been shipped, how they have been packed items and the estimated arrival time. Also referred to as a Delivery Notice or Dispatch Advice.

    ANSI - American National Standards Institute:

    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. Business documents in the U.S are often referred to by their ANSI code such as 850 (PO), 810 (Invoice) and 856 (ASN).

    APERAK - Application error and acknowledgement message:

    The function of this APERAK 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.

    API - Application Program Interface:

    Acronym for Application Program Interface, which is middleware provided by a software publisher that enables software created by other software publishers to integrate with their application.

    AS1 - Applicability Statement 1:

    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 “trading partner" names before any transfers can take place.

    AS2 - Applicability Statement 2:

    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. The US company Walmart was one of the first companies to help drive the adoption of AS2 across the retail sector.

    AS3 - Applicability Statement 3:

    Applicability Statement (AS) 3 was developed by the IETF to implement secure and reliable messaging over FTP. AS3 is based upon the secure version of the FTP protocol, rather than HTTP. AS3 transport is S/MIME over FTP and operates a client/server model like FTP, as opposed to the peer-to-peer approach used by AS2. AS3 also uses MDN’s (receipt notifications) like AS2. AS3 is a push/pull protocol and the client side AS3 does not require a listener to be always aware of inbound traffic (whereas AS2 always requires a persistent connection for the listener).  AS3 may be especially well suited for banking and other industries where there are heavy investments in FTP scripting, applications and security.

    AS4 - Applicability Statement 4:

    Applicability Statement (AS) 4 offers secure B2B document exchange using web services and was developed by the sub-committee of the OASIS ebXML messaging services technical committee. The AS4 profile provides the market place with an entry level solution that allows companies to begin utilising their internal SOA based platforms for external B2B messaging while at the same time taking on some of the more complicated aspects of web services. The European Aerospace industry is proposing to use AS4 as its communication standard for sending ebXML related B2B documents between trading partners.


    See Advanced Ship Notice.

  • B
  • Bar Code (or Barcode):

    An array of rectangular marks and spaces in a predetermined pattern. Usually used for automatic product or shipment identification. Barcodes can be read by optical scanners called barcode readers.

    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.

    BOM - Bill of materials:

    Bill of materials (BOM) is the term used to describe the "parts list" of components needed to complete an end-item for sale.

    Business Document:

    A set of information components that are interchanged as part of a business activity.

    Business Partner:

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

    Business Process:

    A set of related activities that, when correctly performed, will satisfy an explicit business goal.

    Business to Business (B2B):

    The practice of buying and selling between companies through the use of electronic transactions.

    Business to Business (B2B) Integration:

    The secured coordination of business information among companies and their information.

  • C

    Also known as UN/CEFACT. The United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business.

    Composite Data Element:

    Two or more related data items separated by a delimiter character, grouped together to form a unit or piece of information as defined in the data dictionary of a system of EDI Standards, and contained in an EDI message.

    Conditional (C):

    A data element requirement designator that indicates that the presence of a specified data element is dependent on the value or presence of other data elements in the segment. The condition must be stated and must be able to be computer-processed.


    The ability to make and maintain a connection between two or more points in a telecommunications system. The typical mechanism for establishing connectivity in an EDI system is a Value Added Netowrk (VAN).

    Consumer Packaged Goods:

    Consumer packaged goods (or fast moving consumer goods) are consumable goods such as food, beverages, footwear, and apparel, tobacco, and cleaning products.

    Continuous Replenishment Program:

    The concept of continuous supply of goods between supplier and business partner based on automated exchange of current demand, inventory, and stock management information, within the framework of an agreed supply policy. The aim of continuous replenishment is to achieve a responsive and precise flow of product to the store with minimum stock holding and handling.


    A message which is the EDIFACT equivalent of the Functional Acknowledgement (FA).

    Control Segment:

    A control segment that has the same structure as a data segment but is used for transferring control information for grouping data segments.

    CSV file - Comma-Separated Values file:

    The comma-separated values (CSV) file format is a file type that stores tabular data using the comma symbol to distinguish between different values.

  • D
  • Data Element:

    One or more data items, forming a unit or piece of information as defined in the data dictionary of a system of EDI Standards, and contained in an EDI message or transaction set. The term “data element” is often abbreviated as “DE” followed immediately by the data element number (i.e., data element 128 would be abbreviated as DE128) in some texts.

    Data Element, Composite:

    Two or more related data items separated by a delimiter character, grouped together to form a unit or piece of information as defined in the data dictionary of a system of EDI Standards, and contained in an EDI message or transaction set.

    DELFOR - Delivery Schedule (Forecast) Message:

    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.

    DELJIT - Delivery just in time message:

    DELJIT is 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).

    DESADV - Despatch advice message:

    DESADV is 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'.

    Digital Signature:

    An electronic signature that can be used to authenticate the identity of the sender of a message and via the encrypted document digest, to ensure that the original content of the data that has been sent is unchanged.

    DSL - Digital subscriber line:

    A technology for bringing high-bandwidth information to homes and small businesses over ordinary copper telephone lines.

    DUNS number:

    A nine-digit number assigned and maintained by Dun & Bradstreet to identify unique business establishments. DUNS numbers are assigned worldwide and include US, Canadian and international organizations.

  • E
  • EAI:

    Enterprise Application Integration. A term used to describe software tools that support integrating applications across a company or enterprise.


    International Article Numbering Association.


    The EANCOM 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.

    EBMS - ebXML Messaging Service:

    ebXML  Messaging Service offers a secure and reliable SOAP/Web Services based  packaging, routing and transport protocol as defined by the ebXML specifications. The ebMS is an open standard and as such is communication protocol neutral although the most common underlying protocols are HTTP and SMTP. ebMS essentially offers a way to exchange ebXML based B2B documents between different business applications using SOAP/Web services.


    See Electronic Data Interchange.

    EDI Translator:

    Computer software used to perform the conversion of application data to and from a standard. Usually licensed rather than developed in-house. May have subsystems for mapping, auditing, and document management.


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


    B2B industry group in high tech and electronics industries in Europe. Also EDIFACT EDI standard subset for those industries.

    EDIINT (EDI over the INTernet):

    The ability to send EDI data directly over the Internet without the use of a VAN.

    EFT - Electronic funds transfer:

    Electronic payment in which funds are transferred between bank accounts at different financial institutions.

    Electronic Data Interchange (EDI):

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

    Enterprise Resource Planning:

    Packaged software systems using database technology and a single interface to control all the information related to a company’s business, including customer, product, employee, and financial data.


    The combination of header, trailer, and sometimes other control segments, that define the start and end of an individual EDI message.

  • F
  • FA - Functional Acknowledgement:

    A Functional Acknowledgement (also referred to as a 997 transaction in ANSI X.12) confirms that an EDI transaction has been received by a trading partner and indicates the time and date of receipt.


    A security system for protecting a server and local area network. A firewall monitors and manages traffic in and out of a network while limiting access to authorized users and programs.

    Fixed Length:

    Term that describes a data field with an established number of characters.

    Flat File:

    Alphanumeric and/or numeric files with no control characters used for transferring data.

    FTP - File Transfer Protocol:

    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 utilises 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.

    Full Duplex:

    A method of transmitting information over a communication channel, in which signals may be sent in both directions simultaneously.

  • G
  • 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.


    Global Trade Item Number. A unique identifier for each product.

  • H
  • Header:

    The specific segment that, in simplest terms, tells the receiving computer where an individual EDI message starts.

    Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act - HIPAA:

    The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) 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.


    A standard for the healthcare industry.

    HTTP - HyperText Transfer Protocol:

    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.

    HTTPS - HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure:

    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.


    EDI term for a company that initiates a B2B program with its business partners, usually a buyer. See also Spoke.

  • I
  • IDoc:

    Stands for intermediate document, is a standard data structure for electronic data interchange between application programs written for the popular SAP business system or between an SAP application and an external program. IDOCs serve as the vehicle for data transfer in SAP’s Application Link Enabling (ALE) system.

    Implementation Guide:

    A publication listing EDI messages that are in use in a particular industry or application. It indicates 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 will be expected in the application of that particular message.


    The exchange of information from one company to another. A group of transaction sets sent from one sender to one receiver at one time.

    Interchange Control Header:

    The data segment that indicates and identifies the beginning of an interchange.

    Interchange Control Trailer:

    The data segment that indicates the end of an interchange.

    Interchange Envelope:

    Specific data transmission information in the header and trailer segments, representing an exchange between a single sender/receiver combination, ISA/IEA-approved.

    Interchange Format:

    A specific data layout that defines a structured business document. The interchange format specifies the sequence, representation, and grouping of granular data elements, and may describe each element in terms of data type, options, cardinality, size, and valid values.


    Two VAN’s who 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.

    Internet Protocol (IP) address:

    The Internet Protocol address is a unique number which is used to represent every single computer in a Network. All the computers on the Internet have a unique IP address.


    A web site that is only accessable to employees with a password. Password security usually limits an employee to only seeing information relevant to his or her role.

    INVOIC - Invoice message:

    INVOIC is a message claiming payment for goods or services supplied under conditions agreed between the seller and the buyer. The United Nations Standard Invoice Message, with correct data qualification, serves also as the specification for Debit Note and Credit Note messages. Throughout this document, the reference to 'Invoice' may be interpreted as conveying the wider meaning of 'Invoice/Credit Note/Debit Note'.

    IP - Internet Protocol:

    The Network layer protocol on which the Internet is based. IP allows a single connectionless packet exchange. Other protocols, including TCP and UDP use IP to perform their connection-oriented or guaranteed delivery services.

    ISDN – Integrated Services Digital Network:

    A set of communication standards for simultaneous digital transmission of voice, video, data, and other network services.


    International Standards Organization. An international organization, working with the United Nations, that maintains the standards for all applications of technology and mechanics for global industry.

  • J
  • JIT - Just In Time:

    A technique of managing inventory pioneered in Japan, under which materials are delivered by suppliers to a manufacturer as they are needed for production, rather than for storage or inventory.

  • K
  • KNX:

    The IP-based network for the Korean automotive industry.

  • L
  • Logistics provider (third party) - 3PL:

    A 3rd Party Logistics provider (3PL) 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.

  • M
  • Mailbox:

    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.


    Attribute that indicates that the data element must contain data.


    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.

    MDN - Message Disposition Notification:

    Message Disposition Notifications (MDN) are confirmations signed by the recipient, thus serving as proof for the sender that the EDI message has been received. MDN's are used with AS2 for example.


    A block of information in EDI making up a business transaction, or part of a business transaction.

    Message Diagram:

    The graphic display of the layout of a message.

    Message Header:

    The service segment starting and uniquely identifying a message.

    Message Trailer:

    The service segment ending a message.

    Message Type:

    An identified and structured set of data elements covering the requirements for a specified type of transaction, e.g. ORDERS, INVOIC etc.


    Abbreviated form of Modulator/Demodulator. The electronic device that connects the computer to a telephone line to allow communications.

  • N
  • Network:

    An electronic communications system that links computers together to allow EDI to take place.

    Network Service Provider:

    A company that maintains a network and offers its services and capabilities to others for a fee.

  • O
  • OASIS:

    Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards. A not-for-profit global consortium that drives the development, convergence and adoption of e-business standards.


    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. ODETTE is the equivalent of the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) in North America.

    OFTP - Odette File Transfer Protocol:

    Odette File Transfer Protocol was developed to offer a standard communication platform for the European automotive industry and has been in use since the mid-1980s. OFTP has also seen adoption across the retail, white goods, manufacturing, government, transport, insurance and banking industries to name but a few. The OFTP protocol is very simple to use, consisting of only fourteen commands. The protocol is extremely efficient, allowing large transmission windows to be utilised whilst incorporating file restart, data compression and security. OFTP has been designed to allow companies to communicate easily via point to point connections.

    OFTP2 - Odette File Transfer Protocol version 2.0:

    Odette File Transfer Protocol version 2.0 is the latest version of the OFTP standard and has been designed from the outset to be used across the internet. OFTP2 offers a number of benefits over OFTP including data compression, exchange of digital certificates (to improve security of transmissions) between trading partners, it allows the handling of very large files (over 500Gb) and offers support for additional character sets such as Chinese and Japanese. To date, OFTP has mainly been used in Europe however as OFTP2 has been designed to operate across the internet it can help trading partners connect to one another all over the world. Many automotive manufacturers in Europe have been running OFTP2 pilot projects since 2008.

    ORDCHG - Purchase order change request message:

    ORDCHG is a message from the buyer to the seller, specifying details of the buyer's request to change a purchase order.

    ORDERS - Purchase order message:

    ORDERS is a message specifying details for goods or services ordered under conditions agreed between the seller and the buyer.

    ORDRSP - Purchase order response message:

    ORDRSP is a message from the seller to the buyer, responding to a purchase order message or a purchase order change request message.


    Open Systems Interconnect. Structure based on seven-layer model developed by ISO, which will allow different computer manufacturers’ machines to communicate with one another.

  • P
  • PIP:

    Partner Interface Processes. RosettaNet PIPs define business processes between business partners via XML-based dialogs.


    Refers to a type of communication whereby messages are sent directly from one business partner to another without the use of a VAN.

    PRICAT - Price/sales catalogue message:

    PRICAT is a message to enable the transmission of information regarding pricing and catalogue details for goods and services offered by a seller to a buyer. The message can also be sent by a buyer to a seller. This may be a response (acceptance or rejection) to a previously received price/sales catalogue message, or a notification of negotiated prices.

    Proprietary Standard:

    An industry/company-specific data format developed by a company for transmission of data to and from its business partners. Proprietary formats do not comply with the defined EDIFACT message types.


    Communication standards that determine message content and format, enabling uniformity of transmissions.

    Purchase Order (PO):

    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. A purchase order can be transmitted via EDIFACT with a message type ORDERS.

  • Q
  • QR - Quick Response:

    A supply chain management philosophy in which a business responds quickly to customer orders. Analogous to just-in-time manufacturing; a business practice in the retail industry of which an important part is the strategic deployment of XML, EDI and bar coding. Produces improved inventory turns, avoidance of out-of-stocks and reduction of excess inventory. XML and EDI are used to deliver market data gathered at the point-of-sale (POS) terminals and delivered to suppliers much more quickly than using manual systems.


    A data element can be qualified by another data element, the value of which is expressed as a code that gives specific meaning to the data. The data value of a qualifier is a code taken from an agreed set of code values. Example: "102" is the qualifier to indicate the format of the date "CCYYMMDD" in a DTM segment.

  • R
  • RECADV - Receiving Advice:

    This EDIFACT message type is to address the business needs related to the goods receipt. RECADV is used to report the physical receipt of goods. The message allows for the reporting of discrepancies in products, quantities, terms, packages, etc.


    The party to whom the EDI message or transaction set is transmitted.

    REMADV - Remittance advice message:

    The REMADV message 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.

    Repetition Field:

    Entry in a segment table which states how many times a particular segment may repeat.


    Radio Frequency Identification. 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.


    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. 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.

  • S
  • SCM - Supply Chain Management:

    SCM refers to the effective integration of the processes related to the forecasting of the product's market demand, the acquisition of the raw materials to make the product, its manufacturing, the inventorying of the product, its transportation to market, its eventual sale (or the fulfillment of demand), and the measurement of the satisfaction of the customer who purchased it. Combines the power of the Internet with the latest technology, enabling participating suppliers to access up-to-date company information and enabling companies to better manage and track supply and demand.


    A part of an EDI message or transaction set, made up of a number of related data elements separated by a delimiter, conveying a part of the business transaction being made. Example: UNH is always the first segment in an EDIFACT message.

    Segment Tag:

    A three character alphanumeric code that identifies the segment. See also Tag.

    Segment Terminator:

    Character at the end of a segment that indicates no more data follows.


    The party in a business transaction who sells goods or services to a buyer for good and valuable consideration.


    The party who transmits the EDI messages.

    Service Segment:

    Service Segments are Envelopes (UNB-UNZ, UNG-UNE, UNH-UNT), Delimiter String Advice (UNA), and Section Separators (UNS).

    SFTP - Secure File Transfer Protocol:

    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.

    Simple Data Element:

    A data element that contains one piece of information.

    SMTP - Simple Mail Transfer Protocol:

    The protocol that is most commonly used for transferring email between servers over the internet.

    SOAP - Simple Object Access Protocol:

    A lightweight XML based protocol for exchanging structured information in a de-centralized, distributed environment, defined by the W3C.

    Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication - SWIFT:

    The Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication was formed in 1973 and is headquartered in Brussels. SWIFT operates a worldwide financial messaging network which exchanges messages between banks and financial institutions. SWIFT also markets software and services to financial institutions, much of it for use on the SWIFTNet Network. SWIFTNet is the infrastructure used to exchange these documents and FIN, InterAct and FileAct are used to encode the SWIFT documents for transmission. The majority of interbank messages use the SWIFT network. As of November 2008, SWIFT linked 8740 financial institutions across 209 countries. The SWIFT document standard is split into four areas, Payments, Trade Services, Securities and Trading.


    EDI term that refers to a business partner, usually a supplier to a buyer company (known as a Hub).

    Store and Forward:

    A type of messaging service that allows an EDI transmission to be forwarded when convenient to the sender and transmitted immediately to the recipient.


    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.

  • T
  • Tag:

    The unique identifier used with segment and data elements.

    TCP/IP - Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol:

    The basic communication language or protocol of the Internet. It can also be used as a communications protocol in intranets and extranets.


    A party other than the sender or receiver, such as an EDI Network Services Provider that provides goods or services – in this case in support of the exchange of EDI data.


    Tradacoms is an early standard for EDI primarily used in the UK retail sector. It was 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 (ANA, now called GS1 UK). Tradacoms is more or less obsolescent since the development of it effectively ceased in 1995 in favour 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:

    A trading partner is another company with whom you conduct business, such as a vendor or customer.


    The specific segment that indicates where an EDI message ends.

    Transaction Set:

    A block of information in EDI, making up a business transaction or part of a business transaction. Outside North America, this is normally called a message.


    The process of converting information to and from EDI standard formats.


    A program used to convert information from an inhouse format to an EDI format or vice versa.

  • U
  • 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.

    UCS - Uniform Communication Standard:

    It is used by the grocery and retail-oriented industries for electronic transactions. It is a subset of the ANSI X12 national standard consisting of some 300-plus general-purpose EDI messages. Within that large base set, many verticals are built on a small subset with narrow focus. Similar to EANCOM as a subset of EDIFACT.


    The United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business. It supports activities dedicated to improving the ability of business, trade and administrative organizations to exchange products and services effectively.

    UN/ECE - United Nations Economic Commission for Europe :

    The Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE) is a trade and economic body/forum in Europe which the countries of North America, western, central and eastern Europe and central Asia come together to forge the tools of their economic cooperation. This organization is the working backbone that administers EDIFACT and plays a leading role in developing EDI.

    UPC - Universal Product Code:

    Universal Product Code (UPC) is the most common barcode format used in North America.

    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.

  • V
  • VAN - Value-Added Network:

    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.

    Variable Length Data Element:

    Data element whose length changes depending on the number of characters in the actual data. Minimum and maximum size of the element is given in the element table.

    VDA - Verband der deutschen Automobilindustrie:

    German EDI data standard in the automotive industry. VDA as an organiztion develops standards and best practices to serve the needs of companies within the German automotive industry. The VDA has developed over thirty messages to meet the need of automotive companies.


    Identifies the publication of the standard being used for the generation or the interpretation of data in the EDIFACT standard format. Example: EDIFACT D.01B is a release from 2001.

    VICS - Voluntary Inter-industry Commerce Standard:

    The Voluntary Inter-industry Commerce Standard is used by the general merchandise retail industry across North America.  It is a subset of the ANSI ASC  X12 national standard.  VICS EDI is being utilised by thousands of companies, department and speciality retail stores, mass merchandisers and their respective suppliers. In 1988 GS1 US became the management and administrative body for VICS EDI. GS1 US also manages the ASC X12 derived Uniform Communication Standard (UCS) for the grocery industry and Industrial/Commercial Standard (I/C) for the industrial sector.

    VMI - Vendor Managed Inventory:

    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.


    Virtual Private Network.

  • W
  • W3C:

    World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

    Web Services:

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


    A generic term for the transmitting of structured business messages over the internet. This may include solutions such as a log on to a portal and inputting commercial transactional information into a form on a website using an internet browser. This method requires an element of manual intervention.


    Warehouse Management System.

    World Wide Web Consortium:

    Consortium that defines standards (such as HTTP) for the internet.


    Web Services description language.

  • X
  • X.25:

    Network protocol.


    Early email system popular in Europe.


    Directory services standard of the CCITT.


      Abbreviation for Extensible Markup Language – an open standard for describing data defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).


    This is a simple file transfer protocol developed as a quick hack by Ward Christensen for use in his 1977 MODEM.ASM terminal program. It allowed users to transmit files between their computers when both sides used MODEM. Keith Petersen made a minor update to always turn on "quiet mode", and called the result XMODEM.

  • Y

    This is a file transfer protocol used between microcomputers connected together using modems. YMODEM was developed by Chuck Forsberg as the successor to XMODEM and MODEM7, and was first implemented in his CP/M YAM program. It was formally given the name "YMODEM" in 1985 by Ward Christensen.

  • Z

    This is a file transfer protocol developed by Chuck Forsberg in 1986, in a project funded by Telenet in order to improve file transfers on their X.25 network. In addition to dramatically improved performance compared to older protocols, ZMODEM also offered restartable transfers, auto-start by the sender, an expanded 32-bit CRC, and control character quoting, allowing it to be used on networks that might "eat" control characters. ZMODEM became extremely popular on bulletin board systems (BBS) in the early 1990s, displacing earlier protocols such as XMODEM and YMODEM.

    ZVEI - Zentralverband Elektrotechnik- und Elektronikindustrie e. V.:

    Develops own format (ZVEI format) for transmitting article master data between the electro industry and electrical equipment wholesale trade.