X12 vs. EDIFACT
Doing business and interacting with trading partners is associated with the need to prepare, send, receive and process a large number of documents. Today, around the world, almost all enterprises from small businesses to large corporations use EDI (Electronic Data Interchanges) to communicate with business partners.
The most common standards that are used in all Industries are ANSI ASC X12 (X12) and UN/EDIFACT (EDIFACT). Both standards serve to exchange documents electronically and execute business processes between trading partners. The two standards are quite similar, however, there are numerous ways in which ANSI X12 and EDIFACT are different. In this article, we will compare the two most popular standards.
EDI Standards in Europe and North America
The first difference between the two EDI standards is the geographic location of users.
– X12 mainly used in the United States and North America in general.
– EDIFACT is mostly used by companies based in Europe and Asia.
ANSI X12 and EDIFACT Standards Developers
EDIFACT – Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport. This standard is developed and supported by two international organizations: The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
ANSI X12 and EDIFACT Document Structure
Basically, the structures of X12 and EDIFACT are similar. Both standards have principally the same structure but use different terminologies.
The figure below shows the structure of X12 and EDIFACT documents that contain Interchange, Functional Group, Transaction set.
For more information on the structure of EDI documents, please read these articles:
As it was mentioned above, ANSI X12 and EDIFACT have different terminologies. The table below demonstrates the difference between both standards.
|Terminologies Equivalence||EDI X12||EDIFACT|
|An electronic business document, such as an Invoice, Purchase Order, etc.||Transaction Set||Message|
|The blocks of multiple segments of the same type grouped together.||Loops||Groups|
|Special characters to differentiate segments and elements||Terminator||Separators|
|Transaction Set, (Message)
X12 and EDIFACT use special characters to separate segments and elements in the document.
– ANSI X12 to separate segments generally uses a tilde ( ~ ) and to terminate elements asterisk ( * )
– EDIFACT normally uses a period ( . ) between segments and a plus ( + ) within elements.
However, both EDI standards allow customization, and different characters can be used, depending on the implementation.
A Composite Element is a group (two or more) simple elements separated by a Composite Separator symbol. Composite Element is used in both standards; however, Composite Element is very commonly used in EDIFACT.
– X12 uses a symbol Greater Than ( > )
– EDIFACT separates composite elements with a colon symbol ( : )
Both EDI standards use Acknowledgments.
– X12 uses a Functional Acknowledgment or 997 transaction set. An EDI 997 serves as a response, to acknowledge that an EDI transaction was received. TA1 served for describes errors at the ISA level.
– EDIFACT uses CONTRL acknowledgments, which is like the X12 997 Acknowledgments.
X12 Transaction Number and EDIFACT ID
– According to the EDIFACT rule, the name of the document must be limited to 6 letters, for example, INVOIC derived from the word Invoice, INVRPT for Inventory report, DESADV is the abbreviation for Despatch Advice.
Different types of EDI documents: ANSI X12 vs EDIFACT
The following table lists some of the key ANSI X12 Transaction Sets with the corresponding EDIFACT messages.
|X12 No||EDIFACT ID||Name||Usage|
|810||INVOIC||Invoice||Used to receive payment for goods or services provided|
|Used to transmit information relating to payments|
|830||DELFOR||Planning Schedule||Used to share with the supplier’s forecast purchase plans|
|832||PRICAT||Price/Sales Catalog||Used to request or provide prices and product information.|
|846||INVRPT||Inventory Inquiry/Advice||Used to communicate inventory levels. edi 846, EDI 846, edifact INVENTORY|
|850||ORDERS||Purchase Order||Used to place an order for goods or services. Purchase Order EDI x12 850|
|852||SLSRPT||Product Activity Data||Used to provide inventory, sales, and other product activity information.|
|Used as an acknowledgment of the purchase order|
|856||DESADV||Advance Ship Notice (or Dispatch Advice in EDIFACT)||Used to inform the recipient in advance, about the contents of the shipment.|
|860||ORDCHG||PO Change (Customer triggered)||Used to communicate order changes to the supplier.|
|Used for acceptance or rejection of changes to a previously submitted purchase order|
|997||CONTRL||Functional Acknowledgment||Used to acknowledge that an EDI transaction, was received.|
EDI Standards for special Industry
In addition to EDIFACT and ANSI X12 discussed above, there are many other EDI standards that were developed as a result of specialized business requirements in various industries. For example:
- RosettaNet used mostly in the electronic chip and technology Industry.
- HIPAA and HL7 for Healthcare and Health Insurance.
- ODETTE for the automotive industry in Europe.
- SWIFT for exchanges messages between banks and financial institutions.
For companies who got their own technical resources to work with REST API we offer them to use EDI REST Web Service.
EDI2XML is an EDI service provider with 20+ years of expertise in EDI and integration projects. We have clients located in North America, Europe, and the Middle East and work with all EDI standards including ANSI X12 and EDIFACT. Contact us if you have any questions or EDI integration needs.