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What are EDI Mapping Guidelines?


  • EDI Mapping refers to the process through which any type of data can be translated to the EDI standard format and vice versa
    • Generally, EDI translators are used to map data from one EDI format to the other EDI format and also map EDI format to any other data format like XML, CSV etc. for any ERP, TMS, WMS or CRM software
      • Mapping guidelines for each EDI document are provided to you by your trading partners or you can download them from their website

      What is EDI Mapping?

      EDI Mapping refers to the process through which any type of data whether in CSV, XML, IDoc, TXT etc. can be translated to the EDI standard format (ANSI X12 or EDIFACT etc.)

      On the other hand, if you need to integrate EDI documents into different ERP, Accounting, CRMs, TMS, WMS platforms, then you’ll need to convert EDI documents into the file formats that any of these back-office systems you use support.

      This is important as different systems use different file formats. There needs to be a standard way which is followed across the globe for these conversions.

      For data to be exchanged using EDI between two organizations, both need to agree upon one of the EDI mapping standards which have been defined by ANSI, HIPAA, EANCOM, TRADACOMS etc.

      Mapping guidelines for each EDI document are usually provided to you by your trading partners or you can download them from their website (usually these guidelines are publicly available for the ease of use) when you sign a contract with them and decide to trade with them. 

      You will provide these guidelines to your EDI software provider or external consultants or anyone helping you with EDI mapping and overall implementation.

      Important: EDI mapping and implementation guidelines should be considered carefully because requirements can differ from trading partner to trading partner for the same three-digit code EDI document. 

      The document will usually mention their method of communication, their EDI ID, EDI Standard they are using, version of EDI standard and all the EDI Inbound and Outbound documents and specifications within those documents that they would like to trade with you along with their label and packaging requirements sometimes.

      Whether you are looking to map an EDI 850, DESADV, XML, JSON or any other type of mapping, you should be able to read the format or mapping guidelines. 

      EDI guidelines will provide different Segments and Elements. Knowing what overall data is contained in a particular Segment is great. For example, a DTM is a Date/Time Reference Segment. This shows that Segment will house something related to a Date or time. The Elements in a DTM get more granular in explaining the actual Date might be a Ship Date or Delivery Date with the actual value. 

      Here’s a video explainer with an EDI mapping example of EDI 850 from Amazon to help you understand how the mapping guidelines look and what they mean

      What is an EDI Map?

      Almost all mapping will have three parts- The “Source” Map, “Target” Map and “Translation” Map. 

      The “Source” Map is where the data that is being provided or being read from. Think of it this way- if you are receiving an EDI 850 document from a buyer, your source is the 850 file format. Your source can be anything from ANSI X12, UCS, EDIFACT, XML, JSON, SQL database etc. 

      The “Target” Map is what you want that received or pulled data format to become. So if we go back to receiving 850 and want it to become a XML file. You will need to layout the “Target” Map so it conforms to the XML file you want as a result. 

      The “Translation” Map will help you to link fields in the “Source” Map to fields on the “Target” Map. It is also there to hardcode values or do functions like converting a Date to a String. This piece handles a lot of the heavy lifting when doing EDI mapping.

      In most EDI mapping you will have 3 sections in most files:

      1. The first section is usually the “Header” section. This contains the file type, version, address information, carrier information, payment terms, important dates and much more information about the overall document.
      2. The next section is usually the “Detail” section. This will usually contain Item information, item discounts, Item descriptions, and other information.
      3. The last section is the “Summary” section. In this section you will usually have Totals pertaining to the whole file like Total Items, Total Discount amount, Total Dollar amount, etc.

      There are 3 types: Synchronous (they want the MDNs in the same connection that the data was sent in), Asynchronous (they want the MDNs to come back in a different connection) or No MDNs

      What are the best practices for EDI Mapping?

      We recommend you should understand programming. It comes in handy when you are trying to use functions in your mapping like converting a Date into a String. This way the data will pass correctly from the “Source” Map to the “Target” Map. We suggest learning SQL Database functions. It gives you a great base to build on to your knowledge. 

      Our advice to every company in business is they should have EDI expertise either in-house or external. They can maintain and oversee the entire process in order to make the best use of your EDI and ERP infrastructure you have put in place to run your operations smoothly. 

      If your trading partner requirements change anytime, your EDI experts should be available to meet these changes in time and save any expensive setbacks.

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