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VDA

The message standard for the automotive industry

The German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) has developed and adopted various EDI standards in order to meet the increasing internationalization of the automotive supplier industry and the associated growing requirements for the interlinking of global supply chains.

In contrast to other message formats such as EDIFACT or ANSI X12, a VDA message uses elements in fixed length format. In practice, this means that the information to be transmitted must not be longer than the defined fixed field length allows.

Depending on the OEM (automotive manufacturer) and the locations of its suppliers, different VDA standards (and also different formats) may well be used within the electronic data exchange, as the graphic below illustrates:

The most important VDA message types at a glance:

  • VDA 4911 = item master data
  • VDA 4930 = stock level report
  • VDA 4920 = shipping order
  • VDA 4925 = order
  • VDA 4918 = transport data
  • VDA 4905 = delivery schedule
  • VDA 4915 = just-in-time delivery schedule
  • VDA 4926 = order confirmation
  • VDA 4913 EDL = EDL delivery note (consignment issue)
  • VDA 4913 = delivery notification
  • VDA 4908 = credit note
  • VDA 4906 = invoice
  • VDA 4907 = payment advice
  • VDA 4922 = inbound goods report
  • VDA 4912 = consignment note

VDA flat file formats are no longer sufficient

However, the classic VDA message types in flat file format are no longer sufficient for EDI-based management of modern supply chains. From the point of view of the major market players, fixed field lengths and a limited scope of data are no longer suitable for meeting the requirements of modern EDI data exchange. For this reason, supplementary records to the conventional VDA messages were defined for a transitional period, which were typically partner-specific, in order to meet the respective requirements of the global players for the semantic quality of the EDI data. The disadvantage, however, is that with this process, the standard concept as such is softened and the suppliers ultimately forced to implement proprietary EDI standard formats. The resulting expenses represent a considerable technical and commercial challenge, especially for smaller suppliers.

Technical preparation of VDA standards

The recent development of the new VDA standards, which are still VDA-standardized but technically based on the EDIFACT format, should be seen against this background. This approach enables OEM, 1st and 2nd tier to formulate individual EDI requirements in terms of content while taking advantage of a global EDI standard defined by the United Nations.

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