United Nations / Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport (UN / EDIFACT) is an international EDI - standard developed under the supervision of the United Nations.
In 1987, the UN / EDIFACT syntax rules were approved as ISO: ISO9735 standard by the International Organization for Standardization. See Figure 18.4
EDIFACT includes a set of internationally agreed standards, catalogs and guidelines for electronic exchange of structured data between independent computer systems.
It is a cross-industry, standard data format of electronic data for commercial transactions. Maintenance and further development of this standard goes through the United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), which is affiliated to the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
The versions of EDIFACT are also called as directories. These EDIFACT directories will be revised twice a year; on 1st April and 1st October to include new or update existing EDIFACT messages. EDIFACT directories have names like D.18B
(D stands for Directory, 18 is the year and A/B indicates the month of release)
Due to the complexity, branch-specific subsets of EDIFACT have been developed. These subsets of EDIFACT include only the functions relevant to specific user groups.
CEFIC - Chemical industry
EDIFURN - furniture industry
EDIGAS - gas business
EDIFACT is a hierarchical structure where the top level is referred to as an interchange, and lower levels contain multiple messages. The messages consist of segments, which in turn consist of composites. The final iteration is a data element. See Figure 18.5 and 18.6
Segment table lists the message tags. It contains the tags, tag names, requirements designator and repetitation field. The requirement designator may be mandatory (M) or conditional (C). The (M) denotes that the segment must appear atleast once. The (C) denotes that the segment may be used if needed. e.g. C10 indicates repetitions of a segment or group between 0 and 10.
Interchange is also called as envelope. The top level of EDIFACT structure is Interchange. An interchange may contain multiple messages. It starts with UNB and ends with UNZ
The basic standardization concept of EDIFACT is that there are uniform message types called United Nations Standard Message (UNSM). In so-called subsets, the message types can be specified deeper in their characteristics depending on the sector. The message types, all of which always have exactly one nickname consisting of six uppercase English alphabets. The message begins with UNH and ends with UNT
● Service messages
To confirm / reject a message, CONTRL and APERAK messages are sent.
❍ CONTRL- Syntax Check and Confirmation of Arrival ofMessage
❍ APERAK - Technical error messages and acknowledgment
● Data exchange
❍ CREMUL - multiple credit advice
❍ DELFOR- Delivery forecast
It is the subset of message. A segment is a three-character alphanumeric code. These segments are listed in segment tables. Segments may contain one, or several related user data elements.
The elements are the piece of actual data. These data elements may be either simple or composite.
An excerpt from an EDIFACT message might be:
DTM + 11: 200 606 200 730: 203’
This whole line is called a segment. The meaning of each code is as follows:
● DTM is the segment identifier and it indicates that the following data is date / time information.
● 11 is a data element. In this example, a qualifier describes what kind of event is meant. The code 11 means: time of dispatch / delivery of goods.
● 200606200730 is another element. Here it represents the date in the format CCYYMMDDHHMM.
● 203 is also an element. 203 is an identifier for the date format.
In this example, 203 means that the date is in the format CCYYMMDDHHMM (as of D.18B, CC – century, YY – Year, MM- Month, DD – Date, HH – Hour, MM – Minute)
EDIFACT has the following punctuation marks that are used as standard separators.
IFT+3+NO MORE FLIGHTS’