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EDI Standards Support

Thursday, July 19, 2012, 8:00 AM
EDI has reached its current success through adhering to certain standards. Before choosing a translation software for frequent use in an industry, users should ensure it supports the necessary public standards and is EDI compliant. This is especially important when standards are needed for a particular type of business as the user must ensure that the software will meet all of the companys needs. All public standards must be supported by the translation software. By supporting X12 and UN/EDIFACT, the users ensure that they are able to work with trading partners who may use either type. While some packages allow the user to define proprietary standards, it is up to the user to decide whether this feature would be beneficial. These standards are strongly recommended against for use in EDI and so are likely to be found to be worthless. The second group standards to take into consideration are the subsets of public EDI standards, chosen in regard to the business industry in which the user works. The X12 subsets include the CIDX for the chemical trade, the PIDX for the petroleum industry and VICS for retail business. On its own, the regular X12 standard may not provide all that is needed for a particular industry. One final inspection should be to the EDI compliance of the package. When the software checks for errors, this should comply with the specified standards for an individual document and trading partner. For example, it may be necessary to set the sequence of data fields differently from what is normally determined by the standards. Translation software that uses appropriate compliance techniques should always reject documents that show any errors and transmit a translate error. After this, the software should continue to let legitimate documents proceed in processing. This compliance surveillance is an essential feature for any translation software. When trying to operate without compliance monitoring, delays may occur from processing non-standard information. Anyone looking for more information relating to X12 and UN/EDIFACT standards can contact the X12 secretariat, DISA. Further details relating to particular industries can be found through firsthand contact with the industry groups who develop these standards.

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