EDI Overview

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) enables the computer-to-computer exchange of business documents between companies using a standard electronic format. EDI continues to provide benefits and cost-efficient implementation options for companies of all sizes. This electronic communication enables organizations to efficiently and effectively provide accurate, timely and complete business requirements to their trading partners in a secure and controlled environment.

The EDI Standards most prevalently used in North America are the "X12 Standards", which include GS1 Standards for globally unique product identification and data capture of trade items, assets, logistic units, parties, locations, etc.. GS1 Canada industry Community Groups develop and maintain supply chain EDI implementation guidelines that are based on the X12 Standards.

EDI in Retail

An EDI business use case from the Swiss Retailer Migros. The video provides a conceptual understanding of the benefits of EDI which may also be applied other markets.
Note: In Canada and US, the X12 EDI Standard is used.

Benefits of EDI Standards

The reasons for implementing EDI standards is because suppliers and other trading partner facilities are increasingly more tactical rather than the strategic, with speed and accuracy acting as the driving force behind this decision. Additional benefits include:  

  • Improved data accuracy
  • Effective customer service
  • Reduced manual data entry
  • Reduced postage and handling cost
  • Reduced cost of printing forms
  • Reduced mail time
  • Reduced labour processing cost
  • Reduced order cycle time
  • Reduced lead times
  • Reduced filing of paperwork
  • Reduced inventory carrying cost
  • Improve trading partner compliance

Another compelling reason to implement EDI is to comply with major trading partners’ requests to establish electronic communication links in order to realize the benefits listed above.

EDI supports many business processes covering ordering, shipping & receiving, warehousing, and invoicing to name a few.

EDI New User Guidance

If you are a new EDI user click here for a high level outline of what you and your organization needs to be aware of in order to implement Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).

Canadian EDI Implementation Guidelines (Login Required)

The Canadian EDI Implementation Guidelines have been published in various subsets of the ANSI governed X12 Standards and cover sectors, starting with v4010 for grocery, foodservice, pharmacy retail, healthcare and other sectors.

As a GS1 Canada subscriber, you can use your "MYGS1" login credentials, click here to access these Guidelines.

If you wish to access X12 EDI Standards beyond what was defined by the Canadian Industry, please contact X12 Standards.

EDI Standards Organizations

  • X12 Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Standards

    The X12 EDI Standards uses Interactive Exchange Protocol, which allows companies to exchange business-related messages and documents via computer-to-computer exchange of business data in a standard format. The X12 standards is widely used in both Canada and the United States.
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  • GS1 EANCOM EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) Standards

    GS1 EDI is a set of global electronic messaging standards for business documents used in Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). The standards are developed and maintained by GS1. GS1 EANCOM® is a GS1 subset of the UN/EDIFACT standard (United Nations Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport), which are comprised of a set of internationally agreed UN standards, directories and guidelines for EDI. EANCOM is fully compliant to UN/EDIFACT.
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    The GS1 UN/CEFACT XML Profiles include a select set of messages covering Cross Industry for: Despatch Advice, Invoice, Order, Order Response and Data Types. This standard contains the components that are determined to be foundational to the UN/CEFACT Cross Industry messages and helps to enforce consistency across messages.
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  • GS1 XML

    XML is a language designed for information exchange over the internet. GS1 uses XML to create a set of standard messages for the GS1 EDI (Electronic Data Interchange). GS1 XML messages can be exchanged using any technical solution or internet transport protocol and currently supporting processes such as Order to Cash (Order, Deliver and Payment), Transport & Logistics and Upstream.
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