How Do EDIFACT Integrations Work?On December 23, 2022 by Shivam Rawat
EDIFACT dictates standards, specifications, and segments that organizations have mutually agreed to follow. To understand how it works, we need to understand EDI integrations and how EDIFACT directs the process under its defined terms. Let’s find out!
EDIFACT, an abbreviation for Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce, and Transport, is used widely in Europe. It became popular in the automotive, logistics, and transportation industries because it was more secure, faster than paper-based communication, and capable of handling large volumes of transactions between trading parties.
Phases of EDIFACT integrations
There are four phases of any EDIFACT integration – Connection Setup, EDI Spec Configuration, Workflow Generation, Testing & Production.
EDI connection sets up the exchange of EDI docs between trading partners through a secure and reliable network. It involves exchanging connection parameters at one other’s end. This is similar to exchanging contact details to send and receive messages. A test can be made to check the connection by exchanging sample files based on the configured connection parameters. File reception on both ends confirms the connection setup was successful.
EDI Spec Configuration
EDI specification documents list the structure, syntax, and semantic rules that the EDI file must comply with. Trading partners must understand and adhere to these while implementing EDIs. Most companies have their own EDI specification documents. Where neither of the parties has one, Zenbridge designs spec documents by understanding your business requirements. The agreed EDI spec document is configured into the Zenbridge platform, which eventually becomes the set of validations against which the EDI files (both inbound and outbound) are vetted.
A workflow represents the end-to-end flow of EDIs between two parties. It determines the sequence in which the parties will exchange documents. The parties plan this by agreeing on what EDIs are in scope and their directions(inbound or outbound), which EDI to send first, which EDI goes next, and so on. The EDI developer should reckon with these requirements and generate API docs for each EDI on Zenbridge, creating the workflow. After assembling the API docs, the developer can refer to them to generate EDI data in JSON format and push it to the API to convert it to EDIFACT.
A business relationship can have multiple workflows to exchange different groups of EDIs as per requirements.
Testing & Production
The testing phase measures the accuracy of the EDI design, its segments, syntax, and data elements. A separate testing area on Zenbridge allows users to establish a connection between ERPs and trading partners and start testing the exchange of EDI documents. In case of errors, the developer needs to correct the regions in the EDI file that are causing the problem.
Once the trading partner and ERP validate the received EDIs from both sides, both parties can sign off from testing and go live with their EDI on a mutually agreed date.
API for EDIFACT Integrations
Despite being a conventional EDI standard among B2B industries, most developers don’t have a pleasant experience dealing with EDIFACT due to its complex design. Its format is hard to read and requires EDIFACT experts to implement it into the software. As a result, businesses end up exhausting their machines, developers, time, and money.
But, there is an easier way, i.e., API integrations, to use modern languages like JSON to structure an EDI doc and convert it to an EDIFACT doc with the help of an API.
For customers who cannot perform API integrations, Zenbridge offers integration services to execute all four integration phases. In the fully-managed service by Zenbridge, the customer receives their personal account manager, who will represent the customer between trading partners, provide guidance to developers, and coordinate the connection set up for EDIs.
Leave a Reply