Your browser is out of date.

You are currently using Internet Explorer 7/8/9, which is not supported by our site. For the best experience, please use one of the latest browsers.

EDI Glossary

EDI Glossary & Common Terms

Accredited Standards Committee X12: Appointed committee authorized by the American National Standards Institute to develop and maintain the EDI Standards used primarily in the United States.

Acknowledgment: This is an Extensible Markup Language response to a command returned to the originator in the global data synchronization process. Every command needs an acknowledgment. Acknowledgment messages are standardized and may contain the following information: confirmation of message receipt, success/failure of processing for syntax and content, or reason code for each type of failure.

ACH: Automated Clearing House.

Advance Ship Notice (ASN): An electronic version of a printed packing slip that tells a buyer that the goods have shipped, how the items have been packed, and the estimated arrival time. They are also referred to as a Delivery Notice or Dispatch Advice.

AES: Advanced Encryption Standard. One of several standards for securing data during transmission by encrypting it.

ANSI: The American National Standards Institute is a national standards body for the United States. Through its accredited standards committees, ANSI keeps the standards for all applications of technology and mechanics for the US Industry. Business documents in the US are often referred to by their ANSI code, such as 810 (Invoice) or 850 (PO).

ANA: Article Number Association, an association of businesses set up to facilitate standardization across the supply chain.

ANSI ASC X12: American National Standards Institute, Accredited Standards Committee X12, comprises government and industry members who create EDI standards for submission to ANSI for approval and dissemination.

ANX: The IP-based network for the US automotive industry.

AANX: The IP-based network for the Australian automotive industry.

Application Acknowledgment: A transaction set whose purpose is to return a response to a transaction set received and processed in an application program. For example, the Purchase Order Acknowledgment transaction is used to respond to the Purchase Order transaction with whether the receiver can fulfill the order and if it can be completed on time.

Application Advice:  A transaction set that accepts, rejects, or identifies errors in the content of any transaction set beyond standard syntax checks.

Application Interface Software:  An app that imports and exports data between in-house applications and EDI translation software.

Batch Control Totals:  Ensures that batch processing has been performed correctly by comparing the output to currency or quantity totals, record or document counts, or hash totals.

Batch Processing:  Computer information processing after accumulated in one group or batch.

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

Business Document: A set of information components interchanged as business activity. See EDI transaction.

Business Partner: The entity with which EDI business documents are exchanged, either the sender or the receiver of information in EDI.

Business Partner Agreement: In ED Connect, Business Partner Agreements contain the general contract terms and conditions, participant roles, communication and security protocols, and business processes. Extensible Markup Language-based Business Partner Agreement documents capture the essential information that business partners must agree to communicate their applications and business processes.

Business to Business (B2B): Transactions between companies such as wholesalers or manufacturers that buy or sell through the use of electronic transactions.

Business to Business (B2B) Integration: The secured coordination of business information among companies and their information utilizing an EDI Software or application an integrates with a company's ERP or CRM system.

CPFR: Collaborative Planning, Forecasting, and Replenishment. An industry initiative focused on improving the partnership between manufacturers and distributors/retailers through shared information.

Classifier: A term used to describe how products are grouped.

Clearing House:  A third party used to centralize the sending and receiving of electronic messages or documents between business partners. The third-party holds messages/documents until the receiver is available to receive them.

Communication Software: Programs that allow computers to communicate through modems. Some are capable of automatic communications, such as auto-dial and auto-answer.

Compliance Checking: The checking process ensures that a transmission complies with ANSI X12 syntax rules (US).

Confirmation:  A notification that the intended receiver has received the transmission. [See also Functional Acknowledgment].

Control Envelope: Used to validate the receipt of correct and complete data.

Control Number: Also known as a reference number. An identification number distinguishes a standard data element (data element identifier) or a standard segment (segment identifier).

Control Segment: A control segment with the same structure as a data segment but is used to transfer control information for grouping data segments.

Control Structure: The beginning and end (header and trailer) segments for entities in EDI.

Control Validation: Confirmation that information within the control segments is correct.

Data Element: One or more data items form a unit or piece of information 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 Segment: A segment consists of information in a defined set of functionally related data elements identified by sequential position within the collection.

Data Synchronization: Data synchronization is the electronic transfer of standardized product and location information between business partners and the continuous synchronization of that data over time.

Data pool: A data pool is a GDSN-compliant mechanism for business partners to share and synchronize data. As well as storing product data, a data pool provides the necessary functions and workflow to communicate with the global registry and other data pools.

Decryption: The translation of scrambled or secretly coded data at the receiving end of encrypted transmission.

Digital Certificate: A computer-based record or electronic message issued by an entity that (1) identifies the entity issuing it; (2) names or identifies a certificate holder; (3) contains the public key of the certificate holder; (4) identifies the certificate's validity period and (5) is digitally signed by the entity issuing it.

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

Download: The process of receiving data from another computer at a remote site onto the computer under the operator's control.

DSD: Direct Store Delivery. The practice of delivering product directly to store and notifying the store of the delivery electronically rather than by paper.

DES: Data Encryption Standard. One of many standards for securing data during transmission by encrypting it.

Communications: The means of electronically linking two computers to exchange information.

EDI, Electronic Data Interchange: The computer-to-computer transfer of business transaction information using standard, industry-accepted message formats.

EDI Translation: The conversion of application data to and from a standard format.

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.

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

EDI over the Internet: A protocol for exchanging information in a decentralized, distributed environment designed by the Internet Engineering Task Force, originally developed to transmit Electronic Data Interchange via email over the Internet.

EFT, Electronic funds transfer: Electronic payment transfers funds between bank accounts at different financial institutions.

Encryption: The process of transforming clear text (data in its original form) into ciphertext (the output of a cryptographic algorithm) for security or privacy.

Enterprise Application Integration: The use of middleware to integrate the application programs, databases, and legacy systems involved in an organization's critical business processes.

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.

Event-Driven EDI: Applications and translators exchange message sets when created or received.

File: A collection of related records treated as a primary storage unit in a computer system.

File Structure: The format into which the computer arranges a file to retrieve the information it contains on-demand.

FTP: File Transfer Protocol. A standard method of transmitting files from one computer to another over the Internet.

Functional Acknowledgement: A transaction set transmitted from one party to another, indicating a message's receipt and syntactical acceptability. It does not provide acknowledgment of the content of the message, just that the message has been successfully received and interpreted. Often abbreviated and referred to as "FA."

Gateway: The interconnection between public or private networks, enabling the transmission of documents in EDI format across multiple networks.

GCI, Global Commerce Initiative: A global industry user group that identifies issues hindering supply chain performance and suggests potential global solutions for data, messages, processes, and associated requirements, which it can offer to standards bodies such as GS1 for adoption.

GDD, Global Data Dictionary: a GS1 standard that allows all the potential attributes of an item to be defined. These attributes may include size, brand information, logistical information, etc.

GDS: Global Data Synchronization.

GDSN: Global Data Synchronization Network. Provides a framework that allows all data pools to interoperate and share data seamlessly.

GLN: A Global Location Number (GLN) is a unique number assigned to locations to enable them to be identified uniquely worldwide. These global location numbers can identify legal, physical, and functional areas. International 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 sites 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. GLNs can also use bar codes to identify a physical location or provide relevant information for delivery invoicing purposes.

GLOBAL Registry: A central service that holds pointers to data stored in local data pools, provides an index for companies looking for product data held in local data pools, and ensures data pools are fully compliant with GS1 standards.

GPC, Global Product Classification: A standard way of categorizing products that provides a way to link different company classification systems and offers a common language for collaborative business processes.

GS1: A worldwide network of standards bodies and service providers which develops global supply chain standards and solutions used by over one million companies for barcoding, electronic business messaging, data synchronization, and through the EPCglobal Network, radio frequency identification.

GRN, Goods Received Note: A document is raised by a customer receiving goods to confirm received so that invoices may be approved for payment.

GTIN, Global Trade Item Number:  A unique identifier for each product.

HIPPA:  Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, established by the US Congress in 1996

HL7: A standard for the healthcare industry.

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

Implementation Guide: A publication listing EDI messages 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.

Industry Specific: Data related to only one particular group of companies grouped by a common area of endeavor. In EDI, it refers to the ability of an EDI Standard to be used by only one industry.

Interactive EDI: Two applications exchanging EDI directly within a pre-programmed context.

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

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 aspect in terms of data type, options, cardinality, size, and valid values.

Interchange Control Header: The data segment indicates and identifies the beginning of an interchange.

Interchange Control Trailer: The data segment 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.

Interconnect: 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 enables these objects to collect and exchange data.

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

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

Manifest: A document from the vendor shipping goods to a customer that describes where the goods will arrive. Multiple destinations may be included.

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

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

Message Type: An identified and structured set of data elements covering the requirements for a specified type of transaction, e.g., an invoice.

Message Standards: The syntax system, data elements, segments, and messages (transaction sets) with which EDI will be conducted.

Object: Any entity about which we store data and the operations to manipulate that data.

Open Network: A network with which outside parties can communicate.

Payment Terms: Also called Terms of Sale. Refers to the payment agreement of invoice between supply-side business partner and demand-side business partner, e.g., Net 30 indicates that the invoice is to be paid within 30 days.

Platform: The type of computer system being used.

Point-to-Point: Refers to a type of communication whereby messages are sent directly from one business partner to another without using a VAN.

Proprietary Standard: An industry/company-specific data format developed by a company to transmit data to and from its business partners. Proprietary formats do not comply with the ASC X12 series of standards.

Proprietary Ordering System:  An industry company-specific system allowing a supplier to provide order entry capabilities to its customers.

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

Protocol Conversion: The process of enabling two systems with different protocols to communicate.

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

Qualifier: Part of an EDI address.

Ramp: A program of activity to electronically enable a group of business partners to send and receive documents in agreed formats.

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

Receiving Advice Transaction: A transaction set that includes the quantity, description, and condition of the product received.

Registry: A mechanism whereby relevant repository items, and metadata about them, can be registered so that a pointer to their location, and all their metadata, can be retrieved as a result of a query.

Repository: A location or set of distributed locations that hold the data (such as that associated with a product), pointed at by a registry, and retrieved from the data.

Segment: A part of an EDI message or transaction set, made up of several related data elements separated by a delimiter, conveying a part of the business transaction is made.

Segment Code: A code that uniquely identifies each segment as specified in a segment directory.

Segment Diagram: The schematic that depicts the format and composition of a segment.

Segment Directory: A listing of the segments unique to the specific system of EDI Standards being used and usually part of the data dictionary.

Segment Hierarchy: The order of occurrence of segments within a transaction set.

Segment Identifier:  A predefined code that identifies the segment.

Segment Name: A name that identifies the segment.

Segment Qualifier: A data element that gives the segment a specific meaning.

Segment Specifications: Distinct attributes of a segment, including structure and content.

Segment Tag: A composite data element, in which the first component data element contains a code that uniquely identifies a segment as specified in the relevant segment directory. Additional component data elements can be conditionally used to indicate the hierarchical level and nesting relationship and the incidence of a segment's repetition [EDIFACT].

Segment Terminator: A unique character that indicates the end of a segment

Self-billing: Customers can generate the invoice themselves and remit payment electronically via EDI.

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

Sender: The party who transmits the EDI messages.

Sequence Table: A portion of a standard that indicates the possible segments, their sequence, and their attributes for each area of a transaction set.

Shipment Notification: An EDI transaction sent by the shipper of material to the receiver advising that the shipment has been sent and providing details such as manifest, PO number, estimated arrival time, carrier, etc.

Software: Programs residing on disk, tape, or other storage media used by the computer to accomplish its tasks.

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

Standards: Something established for use as a rule or basis of comparison. In the context of EDI, this usually refers to the system of message standards that are in use between business partners.

Standards Body: A committee, usually made up of representatives of the users of a given Standard, and either accepted by industry or charged by a government to maintain the Standards in question.

Standards, Proprietary: Those systems of EDI messages that are developed by the business partners themselves for a specific application, and do not fit in any of the systems of Standards developed by any of the accepted Standards Bodies around the world.

Standards, Public: Those systems of EDI messages that are prepared and published by or through the accepted Standards Bodies around the world.

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.

Store and Retrieve: Usually used in conjunction with a mailbox system, and it provides for the storage of a message transmission until the intended receiver accesses the system and retrieves the message.

Supply Chain: A sequence of events, including conversion, movement, or placement, which adds value to goods, products, or services.

Syntax: 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.

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

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

Transaction Level Acknowledgment: Acknowledgment of receipt and totality of data transmission of a functional group or individual transaction set.

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

Transaction set ID: An identifier that uniquely identifies the transaction set. This identifier is the first data element of the transaction set header segment.

Transaction Set Diagram: A graphic presentation in a valid transaction that specifies the sequence of segment order.

Transaction Set Header Area: Contains segment information pertinent to the total transaction set.

Transaction Set Header Segment: Signifies the beginning of a transaction set.

Transaction Set Level: The processing of a transaction set, including sending and receiving.

Transaction Set Line Item Area: Encompasses the actual business transaction set and includes information, such as quantities, descriptions, and prices.

Transaction Set Standards: The system of syntax, data elements, segments, and transaction sets (messages) with which EDI will be conducted.

Transaction Set Summary Area: Contains control information and other data related to the total transaction.

Transaction Set Trailer Segment: Signifies the end of a transaction set.

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

Translator: A program used to convert information from flat file to EDI format or from EDI format to flat file.

Transmission Acknowledgment: The acknowledgment that a total transmission was received with no error detected.

Transmission Group: A collection of functional groups, also known as an Interchange.

UN/CEFACT: 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.

User: An entity, whether an individual or a company, who utilizes a computer or system of standards for a specific purpose like EDI.

User Group: An group 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.

Validation:  The process of determining that compliance standards have been met by a particular document in an EDI transmission.

VAN, Value-Added Network: Often abbreviated as VAN and today called an EDI Network Services Provider. This third-party entity handles the electronic exchange of information between subscribers to its services. VANs include electronic mail boxing of EDI transmissions, protocol and speed conversion, and EDI record keeping for audit tracking.

VMI, Vendor Managed Inventory: A inventory replenishment system in which the vendor accepts responsibility for maintaining the 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 replenishment flow as possible.

Version/Release: Identifies the publication of the standard used for the generation or the interpretation of data in the X12 standard format.

VPN: Virtual Private Network.

Web-EDI: A generic term for transmitting structured business messages over the Internet. This may include solutions such as logging 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.

Web Services: A standard means of interoperating different software applications, running on various platforms or frameworks, over the Internet.

WINS: Warehouse Information Network Standards. A set of EDI standards for warehousing and distribution. WINS is a subset of the ANSI X12 national standard

Contact Us

company icon Our Company resourcesicon_resources.png icon Resources