Things to keep in mind when onboarding large amounts of suppliers

Onboarding suppliers to EDI can be costly and time consuming. A typical onboarding process will involve these steps:

  1. Engaging suppliers
    Letting them know you’ll be onboarding them to EDI.
  2. Getting them familiar with requirements (MIGs)
    All requirements are normally shared via a message implementation guide (MIG)
  3. Schedule in testing
    Set up a time and deadline for testing of messages to start
  4. Test
    Send and receive EDI messages from your suppliers to ensure they are sending the correct data.
  5. Go live!

If you’re onboarding large amounts of suppliers it’s important to keep things efficient. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Testing is the most time-consuming process

Testing is time consuming because it requires a lot of back and forth checking and communication with your suppliers. This takes time and puts more pressure on you to keep things moving along. A more efficient solution is to use a message compliance testing tool (MCT), like Colladium.

It allows suppliers to test their EDI files, often through an online portal, without your team needing to check them. This means you don't have to wait for your EDI team to match up availability with theirs. In fact, your resources don’t need to be involved at all. This also allows the supplier to fix up any issues with their mapping or EDI file generation so that when they go live, you're not scrambling to resolve issues.

Make templates for your communications

This makes it easy for anyone in your team to communicate with suppliers consistently and accurately. The templates should include who your suppliers should contact, the expectations and requirements to onboard and their scheduled time for testing. Just be aware it is pretty normal for these templates to evolve over time as you and your suppliers learn. These templates can also be tailored to the supplier’s knowledge and readiness for EDI.

Communicate internally

It’s key that everyone within your business is on the same page when it comes to onboarding. A step by step process should be finalised and communicated to your EDI team. This process should establish the roles for each part of the process and who to contact.

Have more questions? Ask our experts by getting in touch below.

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EDI mapping explained

In most industries, there’s an EDI standard – whether it be EDIFACT, GS1 XML, ANSI X12 or something else. While standards are fantastic because they make it easier for companies to trade with each other (because they don’t need to setup different messaging standards with each trading partner), ERP software generally doesn’t export the standards out of the box, if at all. Typically, software exports an XML or CSV document. So this is where mapping comes in.

What is mapping?

A mapping translates a file from one format to another. For example, if your software exports an XML file but your customer requires an EDIFACT message, the mapping process transforms the XML to EDIFACT. The way MessageXchange work allows the mapping process to also incorporate business rules. For example, it can be used to enrich data, perform calculations and more. This is particularly helpful for those companies whose software doesn’t export all the information that a customer requires. A mapping is setup once and then it just runs. There’s no intervention needed when a new message comes in, the whole process of mapping a file is automated.

When would I use it?

As I mentioned above, mapping is typically used when software isn’t able to export the file format required by a company’s trading partners. It’s the way to mediate between your software and that of your trading partners. It can even cater for your trading partners who have different requirements – logic can be setup to use certain mappings for certain customers. Mapping cover all message types too – so if you receive an order, the purchase order can be mapped from XML to EDIFACT, but the POR, ASN and INV can be mapped from EDIFACT to XML, for example.

What are the benefits of mapping?

It allows a company to easily comply with their trading partners’ requirements

There’s no changing your software or investing in additional staff or other resources to manage this.

It automates processes

It’s ‘set and forget’. It just runs.

It’s scalable

There’s no extra work to do if your message volumes increase. Once the mapping is setup, any new messages that are exchanged automatically go through this process. If you're needing help with your mapping get in touch with our EDI experts by filling in the form below.

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The art of writing MIGs

When you onboard suppliers it’s important for them to understand what the requirements are for the messages they need. A Message Implementation Guideline (MIG) refines a generic EDI standard such as UN/EDIFACT and details how it will be used for your company. In simple terms, it tells your suppliers what messages they need to send, what information the messages contain and how they’re formatted.Here are important things you need to know…

Choosing an EDI standard

There are different EDI message standards used around the world. Once you choose a standard it will be used as the base for your MIG. Here are a few of the common ones and where they’re most used:
UN/EDIFACT Standard coined by the United Nations and the most commonly used worldwide, and heavily used in the Australian retail supply chain industry.
ANSI X.12 Commonly used in North America
EANCOM Commonly used in the European retail industry
ODETTE Commonly used in the European automotive industry
EbXML Global standard developed by United Nations body for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business Information Standards (UN/CEFACT) and Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS ).
TRADACOMS Commonly used in the UK retail industry
HIPAAhow Commonly used in the North American Healthcare industry
SWIFT Commonly used by financial institutions worldwide.
 

Choose the message types you want to use with your suppliers

This comes down to what your objectives are as a business. Here are some of the common messages and what they do:
  • Purchase order Sent from buyer to supplier to order goods or services
  • Purchase order change Sent from buyer to supplier if the original purchase order has changed
  • Purchase order acknowledgement Sent from the supplier to the buyer to acknowledge receipt of the order
  • Purchase order response Sent from the supplier to the buyer to let them know how much of the order can be fulfilled, and any discrepancies from the original order
  • Advance shipping notice (or despatch advice) Sent from the supplier to the buyer to let them know when and how the goods will be shipped
  • Invoice Sent from the buyer to the supplier for payment of the goods or services
  • Recipient created tax invoice (RCTI) Sent from the supplier to the buyer for payment of the goods or services
  • Remittance advice Sent from the buyer to the supplier to confirm payment
  • Price/sales catalogue Sent from the supplier to the buyer with up-to-date product and pricing information
  • Product activity data Sent from buyer to the supplier with the number of units sold and units on hand
  • Transport instruction Sent from a buyer to a transport supplier (and related parties) to communicate transport arrangements
  • Transport response Sent from a transport provider to confirm instructions
  • Functional acknowledgement An automated response sent from a receiver of an EDI message to confirm receipt of the message.

Find out what data your ERP system requires to process your message types

This is important because it’ll determine what fields and values you need from your partners. This includes things like:
  • character limits
  • whether only integers are allowed
  • if it needs to be number
  • how many decimal places
  • whether the field is dependent on another field (conditional)
  • whether a field is used for particular use cases only
  • how calculations are made.
From here you can provide a list of values that can be used, If not, all values in your chosen EDI standard. We have a range of MIGs from various companies you can check out here.

Putting your MIGs together

This is where you take everything from the previous steps and document it. Writing MIGs can involve a bit of work and so you can get an external party to help. This where an EDI provider, like MessageXchange, comes in. We can assist or lead the MIG writing process, developing it from scratch or upgrading your MIG. Find out more here. Have more questions? Ask our experts by getting in touch below.

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EDI documents explained: The retail industry

The retail industry has been using EDI for decades. It’s been proven to give retailers more visibility, better accuracy and truckloads of savings. And there are even benefits for suppliers too, especially those who fulfill large volumes of orders. The use of EDI is mature in the retail industry and covers basically all use cases of the procurement process. Let’s have a look at the different EDI message types that are used in the retail industry and why.

Purchase order

This is sent from a buyer (retailer) to its supplier. It will tell the supplier exactly what they want supplied. It will tell the supplier where to ship the goods to, and it might even tell them when the retailer expects the goods by. A purchase order typically starts the procurement process. In the EDI world, you might see a purchase order referred to as ORDERS (EDIFACT) or 850 (ANSI X12).

Purchase order response

A purchase order response is sent from the supplier to the buyer (retailer) to let them know whether or not they can fulfill what’s been requested on the order. Typically, there are three scenarios – the supplier accepts the order in full (if they can fulfill everything as requested), the supplier rejects the order in full (if they won’t fulfill any of the order), or the supplier proposes changes to the order. Changes on the order response are typically changes to the quantity, the price or the delivery date. In the EDI world, a purchase order response can be called ORDRSP (EDIFACT) or 855 (ANSI X12).

Purchase order change

A purchase order change comes after a purchase order or purchase order response. It’s sent from the buyer (retailer) to the supplier. As the name suggests, it can be used to make changes to the original purchase order. Or if the supplier sends a purchase order response, some retailers send a purchase order change to confirm the supplier’s changes (response).

Advanced shipping notice

This can sometimes be referred to as a despatch advice. It’s sent from the supplier to the buyer to let them know what’s being shipped and when. There are a couple of ways that retailers use a despatch advice. The first is a relatively simple one – it basically tells them how many of each product is being shipped, to where and when. It just gives retailers a bit of visibility. The second one is much more detailed. The retailer requires the supplier to tell them exactly what’s being shipped, how, to where and when. These ASNs have SSCC, or serial shipping container code, details on them. SSCCs are unique numbers that identify a unit. This can be a pallet, carton or something else. The supplier tells the retailer how many of each product are going into each pallet, for example, and what the corresponding SSCC number is. The retailer may also require the supplier to tell them the batch number, best before and expiry dates of the products in that pallet. The supplier then prints labels, with the SSCC number represented as a barcode and sticks it onto the pallet they’re sending. This information is sent to the retailer on the ASN ahead of the goods being sent. When the retailer receives the goods, they can scan the barcode to know exactly what’s on the pallet. In the EDI world, this message is called DESADV (EDIFACT) or 856 (ANSI X12).

Invoice

An invoice is sent from a supplier to a buyer to let them know what to pay them for the goods or services they’ve supplied. Unlike invoices that you might send and receive by email, EDI invoices don’t typically have bank details on them, because these are usually agreed on as part of the supplier agreement. The EDI invoices generally just outlines the total to be paid, the breakdown of what’s to be paid and sometimes the payment terms, although these can also form part of the supplier agreement. In the EDI world, you might see the invoice referred to as INVOIC (EDIFACT) or 810 (ANSI X12).

Product catalog

A product catalog gives the retailer details of the products you’ll be supplying to them. It can be as simple as supplying them with the GTIN or item number, product description and unit price. In the EDI world, this is called a PRICAT (EDIFACT) or 832 (ANSI X12).

Functional acknowledgement

Unlike the other message types we’ve discussed here, functional acknowledgements aren’t your typical procurement messages. These are usually handled behind the scenes. They tell the sender of the message whether it’s been received and if it’s A-OK or why it might have been rejected. In the EDI world, these are called CONTRL (EDIFACT) or 997 (ANSI X12).If you have any questions or need help getting started, just get in touch!

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Tips for writing a tender document to find an eInvoicing provider

Many organisations are starting to go through the process of finding an eInvoicing provider. Some, particularly larger, organisations need to go through a formal procurement process to find a supplier. Given eInvoicing is a new area for a lot of people, here are some tips to help you write your tender document.

Get to know the ins and outs of eInvoicing

The last thing you want is to be unprepared. Getting to know the basics of eInvoicing makes this process much easier. Make sure you get to know what eInvoicing is and how it works. Learn about the use cases, the benefits, what it will mean for each of your teams (like accounts payable, accounts receivable, IT and others), what it will mean for your customers and suppliers, find out how others have used it as a start.

Get to know what eInvoicing providers provide beyond just eInvoicing

Just like most industries, there are some eInvoicing providers who merely pass the invoice from A to B. But there are others who have capability to do much more. Here at MessageXchange, our powerful software can insert missing information, check the information you require is on the invoice and perform complex lookups, workflows, rules and more. This functionality is particularly useful for organisations who have complex business rules, automated payments and integrations with multiple systems.

Have a clear view of how eInvoicing will fit into your architecture and processes

For smaller organisations, it can be as simple as eInvoices coming in and out of your software. Even in this simple case, you’ll need to know how they will come in and out – through an API, can it drop and pickup files from an SFTP folder or does it need to use another method – and what format they will come in and out in – will it be an XML format, a CSV or something else? For larger organisations, accounts receivable invoices may come out of one system and accounts payable invoices may go into another. You may have a single integration point for any data coming from the outside world, rather than connect to your systems directly. Be very clear on what this process will look like for your company. On the accounts payable side, many organisations have automated matching against an order, or checking the vendor number or ABN or other data. Make sure you know how eInvoices will fit into this process.

Get familiar with your company’s IT policies for external vendors

Some companies require IT vendors to have backup, redundancy and service SLAs. Make sure you’re familiar with what your company requires so you can be clear about this in your tender.

Start writing!

  • Document your setup and key information like:
    • The software you use (and go into detail if your setup isn’t straightforward, for example if you have multiple systems)
    • Whether you want to send and/or receive eInvoices
    • How many eInvoices you expect to send and/or receive
  • Break it down into sections. Example:
    • Company information
    • Technical requirements
    • Business process requirements
    • Procurement requirements
    • Contract
    • Pricing
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Top 5 EDI questions answered

There are some questions that seem to come up in most calls. Have a look below to find out the answers to the most frequent EDI questions we receive.

1. What types of EDI solutions are available for me?

There are two main types of EDI that are available:

Integrated EDI (EDI Gateway)

An integrated solution allows you to exchange EDI messages directly from your software. When an order is sent to you, it’ll go to your VAN (value added network) then straight into your software. There’s no need to re-key it or anything. Then when you create the order confirmation, despatch advice or invoice, it will go directly from your software to your VAN and onto your customer. This option has the least impact on your current process and requires minimal manual processing.

Web portal/EDI Webforms

The simplest solution for EDI compliance is a webform solution. This allows you to logon to a web portal to view purchase orders and respond by sending back the required information such as purchase order responses, advance shipping notices and invoices. The information input into the web portal is sent directly to your customers’ software.

2. How much does EDI cost?

The cost will depend on the product you go with:

EDI Gateway

The price to setup an EDI Gateway is determined on a few factors, including how many customers you trade with, your customers’ testing requirements, the complexity of your setup and more. After implementation, our pricing is based on your data consumption (file size) so you only pay for what you use.

EDI Webforms

There’s no setup fee to use our EDI Webforms (which we sometimes call FormXchange). You can get started from just $99 a month, which allows you to exchange as many messages as you like with one of your customers. Plus you can add an additional trading partner for just $49 a month.

3. How long does it take to implement EDI?

The implementation time varies with every solution.

EDI Gateway

The implementation time varies depending on your requirements, complexities, the amount of testing you require, the amount of testing your trading partners require, your availability and more. It can take anywhere from a day or two, through to a month or more to get started.

EDI Webforms

For EDI Webforms, you simply register on the platform and you’re good to go. Some retailers require you to go through a testing and accreditation process, but our team are here to help you through that.

4. What does my customer mean by ‘accreditation testing’?

Accreditation requires you to test your EDI messages before they’re sent to your retailers’ production systems. This just makes it more likely that you won’t have issues when you’re sending and receiving EDI messages. The testing checks your files and ensures fields are correctly formatted.

5. Do l have to make changes to my ERP system to get the EDI message?

No, you shouldn’t need to – as long as your software can export and import files, your EDI provider will do a lot of the work connecting to your ERP system and mapping, or translating, the files to EDI messages. However, if your ERP software doesn’t handle certain EDI messages, like advanced shipping notices, you might need to use another bit of software to do that. We provide our EDI portal, Colladium, to our customers to help them send and receive EDI messages that might not be compatible with their ERP system.Have more questions? Ask our experts by getting in touch below.

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How leading organisations are managing the transition to eInvoicing

The Government mandate for commonwealth agencies to be eInvoicing enabled was introduced a year ago now. Since then, as an Access Point provider, we’ve seen agencies scramble to get on board and businesses are starting to follow suit. For many, it’s a completely new concept. Their people have needed to get up to speed, their invoicing software hasn’t always been ready, and they’ve had to engage their customers and suppliers to get onboarded. As an Access Point provider, we’ve been privy to how leading organisations have managed the transition to eInvoicing. Here’s how.

Educating themselves about eInvoicing

Getting your head around eInvoicing – what it is and what it means for your business – is one of the most important steps. It’s a new concept for a lot of people, but there are some fantastic resources out there. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), as the Peppol authorities, have some great information aimed at businesses and Government explaining eInvoicing and its benefits: Plus, companies who provide eInvoicing services, like us, generally have information available to help you through the process. Here are a couple of our resources: We’ve found that the organisations who educate themselves well on the concept of eInvoicing and what it means to their business, are better-equipped to implement eInvoicing as seamlessly as possible.

Getting internal teams on board

You might be the one in charge of implementing eInvoicing, but there’s no doubt that it involves a number of teams from IT to accounts payable and accounts receivable and beyond. It’s important you get all the relevant teams involved to make sure their needs are met, so they know how it will impact them and so they can answer any questions they get from others internally or even customers and suppliers. Here are a couple of resources that might help:

Integrating eInvoicing into their invoicing software

The first adopters of eInvoicing here in Australia has been Government agencies. With the mandate in place and a fast-approaching deadline, we’ve seen a number of approaches to get themselves up and running.

Taking a staged approach to implementing eInvoicing

Many of the successful organisations have taken a staged approach to eInvoicing. Some examples we’ve seen are: governments implementing eInvoicing with one agency first then rolling it out to others, starting with a pilot group of suppliers first then rolling out to others, and we’ve even seen some have their MessageXchange Gateway transform eInvoices to suit their software’s current abilities until their software is upgraded.

Using an eInvoicing portal

Another approach when eInvoicing is time-critical is to start with a web portal separate to your eInvoicing software. This is often a good interim step for when you’re only dealing with a small number of eInvoices. Our partner, Colladium, allows organisations to get setup in just minutes and supports both the sending and receiving of eInvoices. Check it out today.

Onboarding their suppliers and customers

Even the most advanced organisations have struggled when it comes to onboarding customers and suppliers. The main reason is that eInvoicing was still in its infancy. We’ve come a long way since then though. Now there are a number of software packages that have eInvoicing built into them. Xero and MYOB, who cover a majority of Australian and New Zealand SMEs, allow their customers to send eInvoices free or at a low cost. The most successful organisations who’ve onboarded their suppliers have been very clear with how the supplier can get eInvoicing ready. They hold webinars, send instructions and make it as easy as possible for suppliers. Many also offer incentives, like five-day payment terms, which is a sweetener for suppliers to get on board. We’re lucky to have been chosen as the eInvoicing Access Point for a large number of organisations and we’ve been privy to how they’ve gone about implementing eInvoicing. If you’re looking to get ready for eInvoicing, have a chat to our team today using the form below.

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How EDI can help retail supply chain shortages

Lately we’ve seen even bigger impacts to the supply chain than before, thanks to the new Omicron variant of COVID-19. The transport industry has struggled with staffing issues due to many drivers being unable to work. This has caused a domino effect. Retail stores have had empty shelves, limited the number of items customers can purchase and have been forced to operate with skeleton staff. And we’ve all heard or experienced the shortage of rapid antigen tests. Chemists have had to put on extra staff just to handle the extra phone calls they’re getting. Some of these issues are definitely unprecedented – there’s no denying that. But having efficient supply chain processes in place to start with can keep you ahead of the game when times get tough. This is where EDI comes in:

Use EDI to get faster fulfillment from suppliers

Using EDI for procurement, rather than manual procurement, speeds up the time from when you place the order to when the goods arrive. Your order is sent immediately to the supplier, you don’t need to wait for them to check their emails and enter the order in their software. The order can be picked and packed straight away by the warehouse. Manual procurement also introduces a lot of errors. These errors can take days, if not weeks, to rectify causing delays in orders being fulfilled and shipments being sent. With EDI, you can be confident that the data you send will be what’s received by your supplier.

Use EDI to get stock on shelves faster

An advanced shipping notice, or ASN, is a fantastic way to know what’s going to be delivered ahead of time – even down to what’s in each carton and pallet. When stock arrives, your team can just scan each package to see what’s arrived – no need to open them, check what’s in there or anything like that. Imagine the time it could save!

Use EDI to keep customers informed of when stock will arrive

For products that are ordered on demand, are in transit or on back order, getting advanced shipping notices or despatch advices from your suppliers will let you know when they’re to be delivered. You could even go a step further and connect to transport companies to get even more up-to-date statuses. Keeping customers informed of arrival dates is becoming an expectation from customers these days, but many retailers aren’t doing it well. If you can keep you customers more informed than your competitors, you’re ahead of the curve!If you’re interested in learning more about using EDI to help supply chain shortages, get in touch with our team.

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How to use eInvoicing when your software isn’t capable

eInvoicing may be a relatively new concept for a lot of businesses. Government has led the way on its adoption, but the real benefits are going to be for businesses. In fact, the ATO has estimated that one eInvoice can be processed for up to $20 less than a paper invoice. And if we look at the accumulated costs, this could give an economic benefit of $28 billion over ten years. There’s little wonder we’re seeing interest now from businesses. The ability to create invoices in your accounting software is usually there off the shelf. But that’s not always the case for eInvoicing. If it’s not, there’s no need to stress. This is where we come in. Just a side note – if you’re not yet familiar with how eInvoicing works, check out our whitepaper, an introduction to eInvoicing, here. It explains the whole thing in layman’s terms.

Importing and exporting data from your software

Most software can import and export data. And that’s all we need. You might already be using this sort of functionality today – exporting data in a CSV or XML format to load into other software, to change the data in bulk, or to make some pretty graphs in Excel. If you want to automate the export and import, most software is capable of this too. This means it’ll be done without anyone physically pressing buttons – it’s a task that will run on schedule. Just chat to your software consultant or IT team about this. It should be pretty straightforward though.

Converting your exported file to the Peppol eInvoicing format

As we mentioned above, your software might export a CSV or XML file, or perhaps something else. Unless your software has some sort of eInvoicing capability build in, it’s unlikely to handle the format required by the eInvoicing network (the format is called a UBL, by the way). It’s fine if your software doesn’t though – MessageXchange can convert your file, whatever that might be, to and from the Peppol UBL.

Getting the data to your Access Point

So, your software can import and export invoice files. Now we need to exchange them. The simplest way to get them to MessageXchange will be through an sFTP folder. We mentioned this at the end of the importing an exporting data from your software section. Your IT team can drop your exported files into an sFTP folder, and for incoming eInvoices, they can pick them up and import them into your software. It’s a pretty basic process. If sFTP doesn’t work for you, there are also other options like API, AS2 and more.

Following the same approvals process in your accounts payable software

Many businesses, particularly larger ones, have automated processes in place for approving invoices. If you’re looking to use eInvoicing for accounts payable invoices, there doesn’t need to be any changes to your approvals processes. Just like regular invoices start the process when they’re entered or scanned into your software.

Catering for business rules in your accounts payable software

Some software or approvals processes require certain information on invoices like purchase order number or bank details. MessageXchange’s sophisticated software can cater for this. We can make sure invoices have this information on them before they’re imported into your software. If they don’t meet your criteria, MessageXchange can reject them and notify your supplier. Our software can also check for duplicate invoices, to ensure it doesn’t already exist before it’s ingested, to make sure you don’t pay it twice.

And if all else fails, use a web portal

We’ve seen organisations who need to get eInvoicing-enabled quickly turn to a web portal. This is often a good interim step for when you’re only dealing with a small number of eInvoices. Our partner, Colladium, allows organisations to get setup in just minutes and supports both the sending and receiving of eInvoices. Check it out today. Interested in learning more about how you can get eInvoicing ready? Have a chat to our team today by filling in the form below.

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EDI messaging standards and formats

If you’re new to EDI, you might be a bit overwhelmed with all the new terms, acronyms and the like. You’ve probably come across EDI standards, like EDIFACT or EANCOM, and have no idea what they mean. Well, you’re in the right place. In this blog, we’ve put together some information around EDI, its different message standards and the ones that are commonly used in Australia.

What are EDI messages?

In simple words, EDI messages are business documents, often procurement-related, exchanged between companies’ software, perhaps through EDI provider(s) in the middle. These documents are often exchanged in a standardised format to make it easier to communicate with all of your trading partners. These messages can be purchase orders, despatch advices, invoices and more.

Why use standards?

EDI message standards define the rules and requirements for the structure and format of an EDI message. These standards are defined by various organisations like GS1 and Peppol. Organisations choose to exchange data in a standard format because it makes it much easier for their trading partners to get on board. If everyone exchanged a different file format, onboarding one trading partner to EDI would be like starting from scratch every time.

What are the different EDI message standards and what EDI message standards are commonly used in Australia?

There are different EDI message standards used around the world. Some of the most popular ones are UN/EDIFACT, ANSI X.12, EANCOM, ODETTE, ebXML, TRADACOMS, HIPAA, and SWIFT.[vc_column width="1/4" css=".vc_custom_1618271818355{padding-right: 10px !important;}"]

UN/EDIFACT

ANSI X.12

EANCOM

ODETTE

EbXML

TRADACOMS

HIPAA

SWIFT

[vc_column width="3/4" css=".vc_custom_1618271827363{padding-left: 10px !important;}"]

Standard coined by the United Nations and the most commonly used worldwide.

Commonly used in North America

Commonly used in the European retail industry

Commonly used in the European automotive industry

Global standard developed by United Nations body for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business Information Standards (UN/CEFACT) and Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS ).

Commonly used in the UK retail industry

Commonly used in the North American Healthcare industry

Commonly used by financial institutions worldwide.

Out of the many EDI standards, the ones that are commonly used in Australia are UN/EDIFACT, ANSI.X12 and GS1 XML. Let’s have a look:[vc_column width="2/4" css=".vc_custom_1618271818355{padding-right: 10px !important;}"]

Transaction

Purchase order

Purchase order response

Invoice

Despatch advice

Remittance advice

Product catalog

Functional acknowledgement

[vc_column width="1/4" css=".vc_custom_1646013227774{padding-right: 10px !important;padding-left: 10px !important;}"]

UN/EDIFACT

ORDERS

ORDRSP

INVOIC

DESADV

REMADV

PRICAT

CONTRL

[vc_column width="1/4" css=".vc_custom_1646013158821{padding-left: 10px !important;}"]

ANSI X.12

850

855

810

856

820

832

997

What to do if your software doesn't exchange these standards?

Don’t worry – this isn’t uncommon. If your software doesn’t produce these standards, we can help you map them. This means we’ll translate files produced by your software to the standard required, mediating between message standards and protocols and aligning business processes.

Industry-specific:

Retail (supply chain)

The retail industry in Australia has taken advantage of the benefits of EDI over the last 30 years. The industry uses EDI for procurement as well as shipping and logistics. UN/EDIFACT dominate the as the standard used in the retail sector. If you’re interested to read more about EDI in the Australian retail industry, click here.

Transport and logistics

The Australian Logistics Council and GS1 Australia developed the Australian Freight Labelling and EDI standards in 2016. The GS1 Open Global supply chain standard requires each shipment label to have a ‘license plate’ known as the SSCC code. SSCC - serial shipping container code - is a common identification among the buyers and suppliers of the transport and logistics industry in Australia. In addition to the common EDI messages like the purchase order, purchase order response, invoice, this sector uses EDI to share information about booking as well as tracking details. The transport and logistic industry commonly uses GS1 XML standard to exchange EDI documents.

Finance

The finance industry uses EDI to transfer payments, information related to payments and other financial documents. ISO20022 is the format used by MessageXchange for our customers in the finance industry. ISO20022 is an internationally-recognised standard developed by ISO. It is used for the development of financial EDI messages in the payments, securities, cards, trade services and foreign exchange business domains.If you want to learn more about EDI for your business, request a call back from our EDI experts below.

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EDI Glossary

EDI has a lot of jargon and it can be hard to understand. We’ve put together some of the key words to help make it easier for you.

Advance Shipping Notice (ASN)

This message tells a buyer when the goods will be shipped, how they’ve been packed and the estimated arrival date. This can also referred to as a Delivery Notice or Despatch Advice.

EDIFACT

This stands for Electronic Data Interchange For Administration, Commerce and Transport. It’s an international EDI standard that was developed by the United Nations. Types of EDIFACT messages include 96A and D01B. They’re commonly used in the retail industry here in Australia.

Translation

The conversion from one file format to another.

ERP system

Also known as an Enterprise Resource Planning system. This software is used by companies to manage much of their business activity – they’re like an accounting package on steroids. Examples of ERP systems include SAP, Oracle, Pronto, JD Edwards and Sage.

Gateway

A Gateway is the central point that enables the exchange of messages between systems (often provided by a value added network, or a VAN). It mediates the differences between your software and those of your trading partners. If you think of a hub and spoke model, the Gateway is the hub, and you and your trading partners are the spokes. Through MessageXchange, Gateways can be configured per customer to have specific business rules, mappings, error handling and more.

GLN

A Global Location Number (GLN) is a unique number that is assigned to locations to enable them to be identified worldwide. These global location numbers can be used to identify any legal, physical and functional locations. They’re issued by the standards body GS1. GLNs are also used in the EDI to identify a business to exchange messages with.

GS1

GS1 is a worldwide not-for-profit that encourages the use of standards in business to create efficiency in supply chains and overall business. GS1 develops and publishes standards for barcodes, product data and EDI. They’re the organisation that issue GLNs and GTINs.

GTIN

This stands for Global Trade Item Number. It’s a unique identifier for each product. If you look at a barcode, they’re often GTINs. Here in Australia, they’re issued starting with a 93 or 94.

iDoc

iDoc stands for intermediate document. It’s a 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.

Mapping

Mapping refers to translating, or converting, one file format to another. For example, if your software outputs a CSV file and your trading partner requires an EDIFACT file, your EDI VAN would ‘map’ the CSV file to EDIFACT.

Message type

An structured set of data covering the requirements for a specified type of transaction, for example, an invoice or purchase order.

MIG

A MIG, or message implementation guide, details the file structure that your trading partner requires. A MIG is usually written for each message type required by that trading partner. You can see examples of MIGs on our website: home.messagexchange.com/resources/migs/

Network service provider

A company that maintains an EDI network on behalf of businesses, also known as a value added network. They offer its services and capabilities to others for a fee.

SFTP

Secure file transfer protocol. A network protocol that provides file transfer over the web securely using authentication and encryption.

SSCC (serial shipping container code)

An 18-digit number that is used to identify logistics units. It allows whoever it is receiving the goods to track them throughout the journey, and gives them more insight into what’s inside a shipping unit.

SSCC label

The label is linked to the ASN. The label has one or more barcodes on it, which includes the SSCC number. Often in retail, these are scanned when receiving the goods to mark them as received in the retailer’s software and to identify exactly what’s in the package.

Transmission protocol

Transmission protocol refers to how your messages will get from your software to your VAN. Some examples include sFTP or AS2. Choosing your transmission protocol largely depends on the level of security required as well as the need for timely, real-time information.

VAN

VAN is the acronym for Value Added Network; they’re the company that provides an EDI service. VANs enable your EDI capability to be scalable because they sit at the core of your trading network and enable the routing of messages, which reduces the impact of change. At MessageXchange we combine the VAN capability with Gateway capability so message routing can be combined with message mapping, business rules business intelligence reporting, custom error handling, notifications and the top level of security.

Web-based EDI

A method of EDI that allows users to send and receive EDI from an internet browser portal. It does involve manual inputting of information.

XML

The abbreviation for extensible markup language – it is a file format commonly used by software to export and/or import data. If you want to learn more about EDI for your business, request a call back from our EDI experts below.

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eInvoicing Glossary

If you’re just getting started, eInvoicing jargon can be hard to understand. So we’ve put together some of the key words to help make it easier for you.

ABN

This stands for Australian business number. It’s a unique number that identifies a business in Australia. It helps identify your business to others when ordering and invoicing. And in the eInvoicing world, it’s a number you can send and/or receive eInvoices from/to.

Access Point

eInvoicing is done through a four-corner model. You can think of it like a phone network, where your network service provider, and the service provider of the person you’re trying to call, are the Access Points. Access Point are the service providers that connect to each other.

API

This stands for application programming interface. It’s a messaging protocol. An API is a way for others to push information to you, or retrieve information from you. And by you, I mean your software.

AS4

This stands for applicability statement 4. It’s a messaging protocol. AS4 can exchange messages in near-real time and supports the ability to send back delivery notifications, so the sender knows their message has been received. It’s considered highly secure and has high availability, meaning it’s always active to be used.

B2G

Stands for business-to-government. it refers to business that’s conducted between a business and government Business level response (BLR) A business level response can be sent from a company to their supplier once they receive an invoice. It can give the supplier an update on the invoice, like whether it’s been accepted, rejected, paid, queried, or something else.

CSV

This stands for comma separated values. It’s a file format. Think of it like very simple Excel spreadsheet. In fact, you can open these files in Excel.

Electronic data interchange (EDI)

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) refers to the structured transmission of data between organisations electronically. It’s used to transfer documents electronically from one system to another i.e. from one trading partner to another trading partner.

eInvoicing

It’s the exchange of eInvoices in a structured, electronic format. It’s not be confused with sending a PDF invoice. PDFs aren’t machine-readable. eInvoices are sent directly from one software package to another.

ERP system

This stands for enterprise resource planning system. In simple terms, it’s what most businesses use to manage their accounts payable and receivables. Generally, ERP systems are a little more complex than your typical accounting package. Think of SAP, Oracle, Pronto and more.

File format

This refers to the way information in a document is stored and organised. PDF, JPG and PNG are all file formats. When it comes to eInvoicing, file formats are relevant because your software will export and import a certain type of file format. You might also see the acronym UBL used a bit. That’s the file format, or standard, used for eInvoices when they’re sent between Access Points. It’s not an issue if your software doesn’t export and import a UBL file – a well-rounded eInvoicing provider will be able to map your file format to and from the UBL format for you.

Four corner model

eInvoicing happens through a four-corner model, where corners one and four are the supplier and customer, and corners two and three are Access Points. Access Points connect to each other to exchange eInvoices.

Gateway

Our customers will generally have their own ‘gateway’ on the MessageXchange service. All of your business’ requirements are setup in your gateway, like mappings, reports and more. Your software connects to your gateway, and your gateway connects to the outside world. All eInvoices you send or receive will go through your gateway.

GLN

This stands for global location number. They’re a unique number given to a location, usually a business address, to identify it. They’re heavily used in electronic data interchange (or EDI) trade. GLNs are issued by your local GS1 organisation.

Interoperability

The ability of diverse systems and companies to work together.

Mapping

Mapping refers to translating, or converting, one file format to another. For example, if your software outputs a file format that isn’t the Peppol standard, UBL, your eInvoicing service provider may be able to ‘map’ the file so it conforms.

Message level response (MLR)

Whereas a business level response (BLR) is issued once a business receives the invoice and is, or is about to process it, a message level response is often issued before it can even get to the recipient. The Peppol standard has certain requirements, and if these aren’t met, an invoice may be rejected. A message level response lets the sender of an eInvoice know if the message has been rejected because of an error within the message. One example is that the syntax is incorrect.

MessageXchange

MessageXchange is an eInvoicing service provider. Find out more at messagexchange.com

Messaging protocol

In simple terms, a messaging protocol is a way to get files, or messages, from A to B; from software to software. Think of it like transport. If you wanted to get from Sydney to Melbourne, you can fly, drive, take a bus or a train. Each have their pros and cons. Just like each messaging protocol have their benefits. Some examples of messaging protocols are sFTP, API and AS4. The messaging protocol a company chooses to use will largely depend on what their software is capable of using, how much the company would like to invest in it, what level of security they need and the features they need, for example whether they need to exchange messages in near-real time or not.

NZBN

This stands for New Zealand business number. It’s a unique number that identifies a business in New Zealand. And in the eInvoicing world, it’s a number you can send and/or receive eInvoices from/to. An NZBN is in fact the same as a GLN.

Order-to-pay

The combined end-to-end trade process from the buyer’s perspective (order, delivery, invoice and payment).

Peppol

Peppol stands for Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line. It’s a standard of e-procurement, which we use in Australia and New Zealand to exchange eInvoices. When we say ‘standard’, it stipulates how Access Points should connect with each other, the file format invoices should be sent in and more. Having one standard makes it easier for businesses to trade with multiple organisations, because they can connect once and exchange eInvoices with anyone else in the Peppol network.

Purchase order

Document sent by a buyer to a supplier to inform them that they wish to purchase goods, services or works.

Service provider

A service provider that connects to a supplier and buyer directly. The supplier connects to the service provider which enables them to connect to multiple buyers and/or suppliers. Think of it like a phone service provider like Telstra or Optus, but this service provider is for eInvoicing.

sFTP

This stands for SSH (or secure) file transfer protocol. It’s a messaging protocol. You can think of it like a mail box; files are dropped into an sFTP folder (think of a folder on your desktop), often in batches, and they’re picked up by whoever is receiving the files. All of this is usually done automatically by having a process run periodically in the background. As you can probably tell, sFTP transfer is doesn’t support real-time messaging. But, it is one of the cheapest and easiest messaging protocols to use.

SML

This stands for service metadata lookup. Sounds complicated, I know. But think of it like a phone book of sorts. Access Points use the SML when they receive an eInvoice, to look up where it should go. The SML lists ABNs, NZBNs, GLNs that have registered for eInvoicing, as well as the Access Point provider that company uses. Have a look at the diagram on page 3 to see how it fits in.

SMP

This stands for service metadata publisher. Once an Access Point gets the information needed from the SML, it then asks the relevant SMP what documents that company can receive. If the company has registered to receive that type of document, the Access Point will send it on. Have a look at the diagram on page 3 to see how it fits in.

Syntax

Syntax refers to the rules that define the structure of the code of a message. Without going into too much detail, some of you might have seen basic code like text here. This tells the software where the element begins, the value of an element, and where that element ends. For example, on an invoice it might look like Cupcakes. Access Points will expect a message structured in a certain way, that is, using the correct syntax. In the eInvoicing world, if the syntax is incorrect, the Access Point receiving the message should send back a message level response (MLR).

UBL

This stands for universal business language. You probably won’t need to worry too much about this if you’re not in an IT role. It’s a file format. Just like you might use a JPG, PNG or GIF image file format.

XML

This stands for extensible markup language. It’s a file format. It looks like code to us, but holds all the information in a structured, machine-readable format. If you want to learn more about eInvoicing, sign up to our newsletter to get the latest information and useful resources.

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