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Electronic shipping orders via EDI

The EDI business process IFTMIN is primarily used for transmitting electronic shipping orders, which are transmitted from the customer or shipper to the logistics service provider as part of an EDI data exchange. The information transmitted via EDI is used to plan the required transport capacities and enables the logistics service provider to allocate the packaging materials or packages to the respective consignee in advance.

Many market-leading carriers, in particular, are now urging their customers to use the IFTMIN EDI process. This is because, within modern logistics chains, strict time limits are defined for servicing the delivery windows on the part of the trade and automobile manufacturers. The forwarder can only meet these requirements if it is possible to dispense with the manual entry of EDI shipping orders and the associated sources of error.

The EDI business process ‘IFTMIN shipping order’ has different names in the various EDI formats:

‘Shipping order’ message type in the different EDI formats

  • UN/EDIFACT shipping order: IFTMIN
  • ANSI X.12 shipping order: ANSI X12 204
  • VDA shipping order: VDA 4920
  • FORTRAS shipping order: BORD (bordereau with versioning)
  • ODETTE shipping order: TRINAD
  • XML shipping order: SHPMNT etc.

IFTMIN and FORTRAS in the logistics industry

EDIFACT-IFTMIN comprises the majority of the formats used in the EDI shipping order. However, FORTRAS is generally used in different versions (R2, R3, R4, R5, R6, R100, R128, etc.) within the freight forwarding associations. The FORTRAS flat file format recognizes three message types (bordereau and unloading data, status report) and is well suited for classical programming with its fixed record structure and fixed field lengths. For this reason, FORTRAS is also used by smaller forwarding companies without a classic EDI converter. This opens up opportunities for the shipper to integrate regional logistics service providers through EDI, even away from the large freight forwarding companies.

The advantage of IFTMIN is a uniform process interface for all parcel service providers!

In addition to the EDI connection of classic forwarders, the IFTMIN message type is also suitable for the EDI integration of CEP and parcel service providers such as DPD and UPS. Designed at process level as IFTMIN, EDIFACT or XML/EDI formats are used here, depending on the logistics service provider. In addition to IFTMIN, some shipping service providers also offer shipping status reporting in the form of an IFTSTA or shipping status report. Depending on the parties involved, this reports back to the shipper the various transport statuses concerning pickup or delivery. This is interesting insofar as the delivery status, in particular, can also be relevant for insurance-related issues. The great advantage of an EDI integration of the CEP and parcel service providers via an IFTMIN EDI process (coupled with the ERP involved) is that a uniform process interface can be used for all parcel service providers, and one can thus dispense with the use of the conventional stand-alone shipping applications provided by the service provider, each with its own individual application logic. Many customers thus create a “multiple shipping bridge” that supplies the service provider of choice with shipping orders, depending on the conditions offered.

This post is also available in DE.

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