One day you might be asked to add some additional data to the existing EDI message. There are several rules I’d recommend:
- Some BAs think that every new data they add should have ZZ(Z) qualifier (Mutually Defined). The best practice here is to try to find appropriate value first. So, you should have the standard specifications.
- Don’t use the first value you’ve found – try to check the whole list and find the best value that matches your data. Example: my colleagues were asked to add SSCC-18 number to their ASN (X12). If you’ve worked a lot with ASNs you know that usually companies use SSCC-18 with the Application Identifier (i.e. “00” + SSCC-18). And in ASNs (X12) it’s MAN segment with “GM” (SSCC-18 and Application Identifier) qualifier. But the “AA” (SSCC-18) goes first in the list of qualifiers – so, they decided to use “AA” in spite of the actual value was SSCC-18 + AI (i.e. they should’ve used “GM”).
- Don’t use a qualifier which looks like one you’re looking for – check its description. REF-01 “SN” looks like it might stand for “Store Number” but actually it’s “Seal Number”.
- Check the data type/length if it matches your values.
- Try to avoid “structures in structures”. I.e. try not to use any prefixes, separators and so on inside your EDI data. Example: on one project I had to parse REF*ZZ*NAME1//NAME2//NAME3~ structure – BAs didn’t know how to send several values and decided to use pseudo sub-elements in REF-02. On the other hand sometimes you have no choice.
- Don’t put dates into REF segments (I saw it several times)