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What Is Tradacoms?

The Tradacoms EDI Message Standard

Tradacoms (Trading Data Communications Standard) is a United Kingdom based EDI format, created to replace the paper based documentation relating to domestic trade. It was developed in 1982, based on the UN/GTDI syntax, and stands as one of the precursors to EDIFACT which is now one of the more commonly used EDI standards.

Although this is still very common to see this format used throughout the United Kingdom, it is essentially obsolete as the development on this format ended in 1995, in favor of EDIFACT EANCOM format.

Tradacoms has a set definition of segments and elements, which describe the information held within the documents. This data can inform the recipient of a variety of different business documents, such as Invoices, Orders and Delivery Notices.

By using an EDI solution, such as those supplied by SEEBURGER, any data sent as a Tradacoms message can be read, converted and understood by an ERP system. This data can then be imported and used within the business.

Tradacoms Message Type

The following table provides an overview of some of the more commonly used Tradacoms messages   A Tradacoms message is identified via a unique 6 character code, which is an abbreviation of the full message description.

ACKHDR Acknowledgement
CREHDR Credit Note
DEBADV Debit Advice
DLCHDR Delivery Confirmation
DELHDR Delivery Notice
GENHDR General Communication
INVFIL Invoice
ORDHDR Purchase Order
PAYORD Payment Order
PRIHDR Price Information
SNPSTS Stock Snapshot
SRMHDR Statement & Remittance Details


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Tradacoms Message Structure

Tradacoms messages consist of separate Header, the main Message and the Footer details. All of this data when sent together is referred to as a Tradacoms transmission. For example, if a partner wishes to send out a Purchase Order (ORDHDR), the transmission would comprise of a:

  • ORDHDR – Order Header Message
  • ORDERS – Order Messages (multiple instances if required)
  • ORDTLR – Order Trailer Message

Each of these messages will be separated via MHD (Start of Message) and MTR (End of Message) tags. Dependent on the type of message being sent, and the content within, various tags are used to create the detailed content of the data being sent.

These transmissions take the name of the first part of the structure, so in this case a Purchase Order is referred to as an ORDHDR message, not an ORDERS message.

Altogether there are 25 transactions classically defined in Tradacoms. There are additional transactions for Insurance and the UK Book Trade as well as some industry message variants for the News Trade, Textiles and Home Shopping which exist.

Tradacoms Process Example

Here is an example showing the different messages used within a typical business process:


How to become capable to handle Tradacoms EDI Message Standard

SEEBURGER provides the B2B/EDI integration capability to meet the Tradacoms requirements of small, mid-size and enterprise businesses around the globe and for any industry. To find the right solution for your requirements please contact us.

Do you work in a sector with its own specific needs?

Take a look at the SEEBURGER range of industry-specific solutions