What is EDIFACT?


EDIFACT stands for Electronic Data Interchange For Administration Commerce and Transport. The EDIFACT standard consists of a large set of message descriptions.
Each of these message descriptions supports a specific business process, for example a packing slip, an order or an invoice. EDIFACT only describes the message structures and not the data communication.

Copernicus advantages

  • Years of integration experience
  • Flexible and scalable solutions
  • Experience with different industries
  • Friendly company to work with

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The benefits of EDIFACT

The United Nations developed EDIFACT to provide an international standard for exchanging “documents” between organizations via electronic messages. CEFACT within the United Nations institution UNECE is responsible for EDIFACT. With ISO this standard can be found under number ISO 9735.
The main benefits of EDIFACT are:

  • Set of syntax rules to structure data
  • Standard messages that enable data exchange between different industries and countries
  • Extensive set of code lists


Advantages of electronic messaging

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  • The speed of the transaction
  • The cost of the transaction
  • Preventing errors arising from data interpretation
  • Ensures standardization of services and products


EDI and EDIFACT are often used synonymously. However, this is unjustified because EDI stands for Electronic Data Interchange and concerns the way of working that organizations use when exchanging data automatically. EDIFACT concerns the format in which organizations exchange this data.


XML is increasingly used as an alternative to EDIFACT. Although XML files are larger, their structure makes them easier to read. EDIFACT is widely distributed and widely used. The replacement of EDIFACT by XML is not expected in the short term.

Type EDIFACT messages


Used by buyers to electronically order goods or services from suppliers.


Used to accept or decline orders received. This can relate to the entire order or part of the order.


This stands for: DESpatch ADVice message and is the electronic or digital version of a packing slip.


This is an EDI message that shippers use to register transport orders (shipments) with a carrier or logistics service provider.


An EDI message that carriers use to inform the shipper or logistics service provider (LDV) about the status of a transport or shipment.


This message is generated to acknowledge receipt of a previously received EDI message.


Inventory Report relating to inventory of raw materials, semi-finished or finished products between manufacturers and distributors and between manufacturers and consignee.

Outsource EDI with Managed EDI

Integrating and implementing EDI is still a challenge for many organizations. To help companies with this, Copernicus offers support through years of experience and with the help of our own integration platform Niklas.

We offer organizations the option to opt for ‘EDI as a service’ with Managed EDI. Managed EDI is available for small and large organizations and in subscription form, possibly completely customized.

For more information about whether Managed EDI is suitable for your organization, you can always contact us.