Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) FAQs

The GS1 Business Message Standard (BMS) packets are posted on the GS1 global website. Each BMS packet contains a set of documents per business message. Users need to download all of those documents to implement a given message. These documents include:

  • BMS Introduction - a PDF file explaining what a BMS is and what it contains.

  • BMS document - specification of one or more business messages. Users must refer to this document when implementing the GS1 XML standards, since the XML schemas do not contain all the necessary definitions, due to the syntax limitations (e.g., dependencies).

  • Schemas folder, with the following content:

  • Instance file folder - contains at least one (out of many possible) sample XML file of the message.

  • HTML Sample folder - contains the HTML representation of the sample XML file from the Instance File folder.

EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) provides trading partners with an efficient tool for the automatic transmission of business data from one computer application directly to another. Companies do not need to worry about different incompatible computer systems. Through the use of EDI message standards like GS1 EANCOM or GS1 XML, data may be communicated quickly, efficiently, and accurately, irrespective of the users' internal hardware and software types.

The successful implementation of EDI provides major benefits for all the trading partners involved:

  • Cost efficiency - significantly reducing the volume of paper to be handled and re-keyed, results in immediate savings in administrative and personnel costs. Staff can be redeployed to other more value-added functions within the organization.

  • Increased speed - large volumes of commercial data can be communicated from one computer to another in a matter of minutes, enabling faster response and greater customer satisfaction.

  • Improved accuracy - EDI eliminates the inevitable errors resulting from manual data input.

  • Better logistics management and increased productivity - EDI helps companies to better manage and control production, purchases, and deliveries. EDI is a key component of the just-in-time manufacturing and quick response customer-supplier links, resulting in significant reductions in inventory levels, out-of-stock items, and returns of goods.

EDI consists of 3 main components:

1. Standards are determined by the business partners.

2. Translation software with two fundamental functions: it must generate outgoing information in a standardized format and interpret incoming information. Many software tools provide much more functionality. The cost of translation software varies dramatically depending on the platform and the functionality required. This cost can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

3. Electronic mailbox services (e.g., VAN) is of the user company's choice. However, the use of a specific VAN service may be strongly suggested, due to the relationship established between the business partner and a specific VAN. It could be a benefit as in this case, some VANs provide discount prices.

GS1 EANCOM is one of the GS1 EDI standards, a subset of the UN/EDIFACT standard.

GS1 EANCOM as a subset of UN/EDIFACT provides the collection of only those message elements which are needed by the business application and required by the syntax (mandatory elements). Omitted are optional elements covering business requirements not relevant for GS1 users.

GS1 EANCOM incorporates the GS1 standards of physical identification of trade items, logistics units, and the Global Location Numbers identifying the trading partners into the electronic messages. GS1 EANCOM allows integrating the physical flow of goods with related information sent by electronic means.

The implementation aspects of GS1 EANCOM are explained in the GS1 EANCOM User Guide, which provides:

  • A set of messages used in GS1 context selected from all the UN/EDIFACT messages

  • Detailed usage notes in simple language

  • Strict rules for the usage of GTIN, SSCC, GLN

  • Only codes relevant for GS1 users

  • More precise definitions of data and codes required for effective EDI

  • Business situation examples

GS1 EDI provides global standards for electronic business messaging that allow automatic electronic transmission of agreed business data between trading partners. This automation ensures that the exchange is done in a rapid, efficient and accurate manner.

In the GS1 System, GS1 EDI is composed of 3 components: GS1 EANCOM®, GS1 XML and GS1 UN/CEFACT 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).

Using the GS1 XML specifications provides a standardized and predictable structure for electronic business messages, enabling trading partners to communicate business data rapidly, efficiently, and accurately - irrespective of their internal hardware or software.

Note: GS1 XML does not replace GS1 EANCOM®. Rather, it provides another technology standard to support the exchange of transactional data. Individual industries will dictate the use of either standard.

Global Location Numbers (GLNs) are commonly used as EDI mailbox numbers with third party Value Added Network (VAN) providers.

As a member of GS1 Australia, you will be assigned a Global Location Number (GLN) for your membership. If you have a full membership, you can create GLNs for use as EDI mailbox numbers.

If you need only a GLN, you can obtain a GLN by joining GS1 Australia as a GLN-only member.

If you're not a member of GS1 Australia, please contact the GS1 Customer Support team or phone 1300 BARCODE.

Currently, a GLN that has been previously used and has become obsolete must not be reused for another location until at least 48 months have elapsed, except for locations used in the healthcare supply chain, where issuers of GLNs must ensure that GLNs shall never be reused, e.g., locations where treatment of patients takes place etc.

From July 2022 onwards, GLN Non-reuse will be applicable to ALL industries. An alert/notification (as per below) will be included in the next version of the General Specification in January 2022, giving all stakeholders time to update their systems and processes.

Important: The standard for GLN reuse will be changed on 1 July 2022. On that date, a GLN allocated to a party and/or location SHALL NOT be reallocated to another party and/or location. It is recommended that GLN reuse cease in advance of 1 July 2022 as soon as companies can transition their practices. If reuse is not currently occurring, it SHOULD not be started.

The only exceptions to the GLN non-reuse rules will include:

  • If the GLN was never published in an externally accessible manner (e.g., to a registry or directly to a trading partner), it may be reused immediately.

  • Parties and/or locations that have been withdrawn and are reintroduced may use the original GLN if they are reintroduced without any modifications or changes that require a new GLN as specified by the GS1 GLN Allocation Rules Standard.

When you join GS1 Australia to obtain barcode numbers, you are allocated a GLN as part of your membership. It doesn't incur an additional cost. Depending on your membership type, additional GLNs can be obtained.

The Web EDI involves the exchange of electronic documents via an internet-enabled Web EDI platform. It helps the big companies to integrate their small business partners in the EDI.

The business messages are made accessible for the small users usually as the internet-based HTML forms. The forms are filled-in by the users and the message is then transmitted (in XML format) to the translation application. The software converts it into the relevant EDI standard, e.g., GS1 EANCOM® or GS1 XML and transfers to the big user company. The traditional EDI message sent by the large user company is transformed into the HTML form and sent to the Web EDI user.

This way, the user capable of investing in the full EDI infrastructure can exchange business data with its small customers and suppliers.