EDI X12 Standard Releases and Partner Requirements
EDI X12 Standard is a format that is based on ASC X12 standard that coordinates the electronic data interchange relationship between trading partners. Trading partners can be represented by companies, organizations or business groups.
The EDI X12 Standard (including its new requirements, releases, revisions) is governed by The Accredited Standards Committee (ASC X12). The standard regards such EDI messages like purchase order (850), invoice (810), advanced ship notice (856), healthcare claim (837) etc.
EDI X12 Standard Releases
ASC X12 regularly presents new standard releases. Major releases (present serious changes in the standard) start with new number, for example, 4010, 5010, 5030, 6010. Minor releases contain minor improvements and look like 4010, 4020 etc. If you are working with 4010 version and decide to upgrade to 4020, you will notice few minor changes. But if you decide to shift to 5010 standard your current system will undergo lots of changes and modifications. Today 5010 release is becoming more and more popular, however 4010 version is still used my many companies.
Trading Partner Requirements
A very important note is that when you receive an EDI document you should carefully learn which standard version your partner uses. Usually this information is mentioned in documents specifications. Also, it is very important to learn about partner’s specific requirements, e.g. rules concerning mandatory/optional usage of elements, adding specific segment etc. The careful studying of the trading partners’ rules and requirements is a very important step in EDI implementation.
If there is a mismatching between the rules that two parties use during electronic data interchange communication, there will be failures in documents exchange. The EDI message will not be transmitted the right way and/or will contain mistakes. This can lead to the situation when one of the trading partners can not translate information received. That is why EDI software products must be tested before going to production and regulary updated according to new partner rules releases.