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Richard Chresta
Sr. Consultant GS1 EDI,
Deputy Director, GS1 System

T +41 58 800 72 24
F +41 58 800 72 99

EDI – Electronic Data Interchange

Thanks to EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) there is no need for paper or manual tasks for orders, shipping notifications or invoices. The GS1 EANCOM and GS1 XML standards make electronic data interchange easier for both SMEs and large corporations.

By EDI we mean automatic electronic interchange of structured data between computer applications in a standard, machine-readable format. This offers numerous benefits:

EDI promotes

  • productivity
  • competitiveness
  • profitability
  • product safety
  • user and patient safety

EDI reduces

  • duplicate data capture
  • error rates
  • the mountain of paper
  • administration costs
  • processing times
  • manual interventions

EDI enables

  • quick, reliable flow of information
  • optimisation of business processes
  • just in time deliveries
  • full traceability
  • fast, enhanced customer service

You can use GEFEG.FX to implement EDI efficiently. This software product supports development, testing and documentation of business messages in various formats such as EANCOM or GS1 XML.

Web EDI - a solution for SMEs

You can exchange data electronically with your trading partners without needing to invest a lot of money or have any expertise in EDI. Web EDI is an attractive solution, especially for SMEs. With Web EDI, the provider supplies the SME with "electronic forms" over the Internet that can be used to exchange orders, shipping notifications, goods receipt information and invoices. The SME does not have to invest in hardware or software. All it needs is a PC with Internet access. Web EDI involves higher costs than classic EDI so it is only suitable for smaller businesses with low volumes of documents. For larger enterprises with more documents we recommend classic EDI.

The transmission formats we offer are the EANCOM and GS1 XML standards. The EANCOM Ideal Messages are the only transmission format recognised for retail trade in Switzerland.

EANCOM is based on the United Nations global cross-sector standard, UN/EDIFACT. It includes all the (mandatory) components of the EDIFACT standard, but of the optional data elements it only includes those that are relevant for business processes.

The EANCOM standard covers 49 message types which are used by over 102,000 companies across the world, making it the most widespread EDI standard for business documents. In Switzerland we have been developing Ideal Messages jointly with trade and industry for over ten years to simplify electronic data interchange using EANCOM and to provide a uniform data format for the Swiss market.

In the Swiss health service the stakeholders in hospitals and industry have decided on GS1 XML. The Healthcare Purchasing group (BiG) has so far defined six Ideal Messages (Switzerland Ideal Message Healthcare). The Switzerland Ideal Messages Healthcare are based on the global cross-sector standard, GS1 XML, and include all the (mandatory) components of the GS1 XML standard. Of the optional data elements they only include those that are relevant for the order to cash process and consignment process in the health service.

Unique identification is fundamental to EDI

Unique identification of products and partners is essential for efficient business processes. This means that if you want to use EANCOM or GS1 XML you have to identify products with the GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) and business partners with the GLN (Global Location Number) . You can get licences for both GTINs and GLNs without becoming a member of GS1 Switzerland. If you want to use EDI we recommend you do become a member. Because you can only benefit from discounts on training courses and from consultancy if you are a member of GS1 Switzerland.

You can work out whether membership is worth it for you by clicking here.