An EDI document is comprised of data elements, segments and envelopes that are formatted according to the rules of a particular EDI standard.
When you create an EDI document, such as a purchase order, you must adhere to the strict formatting rules of the standard you are using. These rules define exactly where and how each piece of information in the document will be found. That way, when the EDI translator on the receiving computer reads an incoming EDI purchase order, it will immediately understand where to find the buyer’s company name, the purchase order number, the items being ordered, the price for each item, etc. Then, that data will be fed into the receiver’s order entry system in the proper internal format without requiring any manual order entry.
The graphic below shows a sample purchase order in printed form and how it would look once it’s translated into the EDIFACT EDI format. Click here to see how it would look in an ANSI X12 EDI format.
In the EDI language, a single business document, such as a Purchase Order, Invoice or Advance Ship Notice, is called a “transaction set” or “message.” And, a transaction set is comprised of: