EDI Communication

EDI Communication Set Up Basic Steps

EDI communication with Union Pacific accepts all types of communications envelopes, although the standard ISA envelope is preferred. Union Pacific will send functional acknowledgments using the communications envelope format utilized by the originating transaction.

A functional acknowledgment is an EDI reply to an original EDI message. The acknowledgment indicates that the message was received and whether or not it could be read using ASC X12 standards. It is the electronic equivalent of registered mail, and is a valuable tool for confirming business transactions. Union Pacific requires that functional acknowledgments be sent for all the purchase orders it sends, and sends functional acknowledgments for all the invoices it receives.

Security is an issue which was addressed early in the development of EDI. If trading partners exchange messages, one or both will utilize a security protocol to control access, usually as part of a companywide program of data security. More commonly, messages are exchanged through Transentric. Transentric insulate the trading partners from each other and restricts access through identification codes and passwords. Transentric also offers encryption and authentication of messages.

EDI Communication Steps

The process of sending an electronic document requires a series of steps on the part of both the sending and receiving partners.

Steps the Sender Must Take

  • Document PreparationInformation necessary to produce a business document (purchase order, invoice, etc.) is collected in an electronic file.
  • Outbound TranslationThe electronic file is converted by the sender’s translation software into the standard format (following ASC X12 standards and Rail Industry Guidelines).
  • Outbound CommunicationThe sender’s computer connects to a VAN. Upon successful receipt, the VAN processes and routes the transaction to the electronic mailbox of the receiver.

Steps the Receiver Must Take

  • Inbound communicationThe receiver’s computer connects with the VAN and receives any files waiting in its electronic “in” box.
  • Inbound translationThe receiver’s translation software “maps” or translates the electronic file from the ASC X12 standard message format into a format that the receiver’s internal system can understand.
  • Document processingThe receiver’s internal document processing system takes over and the newly received document is handled according to normal internal procedures.

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