EDI Message Standards – an Overview


EDI message standards are useful for electronically exchanging structured data between business partners. Various organizations such as UN, ANSI, DIN or VDA define the EDI message standards. The most commonly used format is the UN/EDIFACT message (United Nations rules for Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport). Related to this format, a number of variations exist (usually defined by an industry, e.g. EANCOM). These dialects are usually referred to as subsets.

Other important message formats are ANSI.X12 (The American National Standards Institute Accredited Standards Committee X12). This standard is mainly used in North America, ODETTE (Standard of the European Automotive Industry) and VDA (Format of the Association of the German Automotive Industry). The TRADACOMS standard is the predecessor of EDIFACT in the UK. HIPPA (Law on Control and Safety of Medical Insurance) was specifically developed for the compliance of activities in health authorities and for legislation purposes.

UN/EDIFACTThe most comprehensive and worldwide most common standard is coming from the United Nations (UN/ECE).
EDIFICEImplementation guidelines for EDIFACT messages in the European high-tech industry.
ANSI X.12Standard mainly used in North America.
VDAStandard of the German automotive industry.
EANCOMStandard of the European retail industry.
ODETTEStandard of the European automotive industry.
GALIAAutomotive standard especially in France, very similar to Odette.
ebXMLOpen standard from OASIS and CEFACT.
XBRLFor the preparation of financial reports in electronic form.
RosettaNetA non-profit consortium of more than 500 companies, mainly from the electronics industry. The goal is the development and implementation of open eBusiness standards and services in the industry.
TRADACOMSStandard of the UK retail industry.
HIPAAStandard of the North American healthcare industry.

EDI message types according to various standards

All of the above standards have created corresponding message types for the respective business process:

Figure 2: Comparison of EDI message types according to various standards
(Worldwide Standard)
(European Standard)
(German Standard)
(North America Standard)
(UK Standard)
Business Transaction
DELFORDELINSVDA 4905830~delivery forecast
INVOICINVOICVDA 4906810INVFILinvoice message
REMADVREMADVVDA 4907820SRMHDRremittance advice
DESADVAVIEXPVDA 4913856DELHDRdespatch advise message
INVRPTSTOACTVDA 4913-EDL846SNPSTSinventory reports
RECADVSTOACTVDA 4913-EDL846~receipt advise
SLSRPTSTOACTVDA 4913-EDL846~outgoing advise
ORDERSORDERRVDA 4915850ORDHDRpurchase order message
DELJITCALDELVDA 4916866~JIT direct delivery call
IFTMINTRINADVDA 4920858~instructions of transport

EDI message standards: industry, regional or global importance

Why have different message standards established themselves at all? This is primarily due to their ability to cover business processes in specific industries or regions particularly well. The following overview illustrates this:


With today’s rapidly changing requirements flexibility is a key business requirement. Thus the B2B integration platform is use needs to be able to work with all these EDI Message Standards, Types and output formats seamlessly.

Use the advantages of EDI Message Standards also in your company!

Let our EDI experts guide you.