EDI Banner
Phone: +1 866 CALL EDI  (+1 866-225-5334)

EDI 101 \ ANSI X12 Standards

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) chartered a committee to develop inter-industry EDI standards. This committee, known as the x12 Business Data Interchange Committee, is using the TDCC standards as their base structure. The x12 committee has added many transactions to the list provided by the TDCC. The most common transactions are the purchase order and the invoice.

Also, the TDCC is serving as the Secretariat for the X12 committee. All data field names, types, formats, and lengths are defined in a data dictionary. The TDCC keeps this data dictionary available. Everyone supporting X12 standards knows exactly what format each field or data element should use. For example, The Purchase Order Number is defined as being from 2 to 30 characters in length. A 31 character PO number is not allowed.

Industries working with X12 standards include:
Telecommunications, electronics, chemical, auto, metals, textile, and aerospace. Individual industries may use a subset of the overall X12 standard. The format and meaning of the individual data elements remains constant, but different industries have chosen to implement some fields in a different order, or to exclude certain information not appropriate for their industry.

Conversion from industry specific standards to X12 has not been easy. Once an industry has an investment in one approach, it takes time to convert to another. The grocery industry established their industry specific UCS standard in the early ‘80s and has been the most notable holdout from X12 acceptance. The approach in the grocery industry has been “If it's not broken, don't fix it.”

Even with X12 standards, many EDI trading partners are finding it necessary to translate documents from one X12 subset to another. Additionally, as more companies move to X12, there is a great need to translate their standard X12 transactions into industry specific standards. Conversion is often required in order to communicate with trading partners that have not yet made the step to X12. This translation of formats can occur either at the originator, the destination, or a 3rd party intermediary.


Trading Partner Logos
Website compliant by w3c.org standards
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional   Valid CSS!
© Copyright 1996-2011 123 EDI
Company and/or product names are generally trademarks, or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
123 EDI - logo