Typical X12/EDIFACT/SAP IDoc mapping: Demand Forecast

Today I want to show how different EDI documents are used for transferring forecast information between organizations.

Demand Forecast documents are widely used between manufacturers and their suppliers. For example, a company which produces DVDs with movies needs to be supplied with a certain amount of blank DVD discs. Demand for these blanks varies depending on different parameters, such as new movies releases, holidays (like Christmas) and so on. So, to be sure their trading partner(s) which produces blank DVDs is aware of this demand, they are sending demand forecast documents on a regular basis.

Usually manufacturer knows exactly how many blanks they need today, tomorrow, this and next week, but might be not that sure about next month or next quarter. But they could forecast these amounts.

Another example is “Delivery Just In Time” process (also known JIT manufacturing/production), used (for example) in automotive industry. To reduce inventory costs, manufacturer requests its supplier to deliver a certain amount of parts/raw materials needed this particular day. So, they only have enough inventory for one day production (for example). I hope it is clear that this requires a very accurate demand forecast process.
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Where to get EDI format specifications to use in your application

(for advanced EDI developers)

For example, you are working on a script/XSLT/program which would generate some documentation, or analyse data, or something like this – and you need to have a EDI format specification which can be used as the source of information about structures, records/segments, fields/elements and their lengths, data types and so on.

There are some ways you can use:

If you have SpecBuilder, you can export a format as a gXML file:


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Business Analysis in B2B/EDI: 2.5.3. Paths

In my spare time I’m working on a huge document/book “Business Analysis in B2B/EDI”, decided to share a small part…

  • 2.5.3. Paths
  • In the structures of different complexity, it is necessary to be able to indicate the exact path to the record/segment and/or field/element. For example, in X12 there might be DTM segments at different levels, and just “DTM” won’t be enough to understand which one is needed in many cases. So, you should know how to provide the right paths. And, different formats use different approaches.

    Since records/segments are named entities, their names are a good starting point to use. But while records in SAP IDoc are unique (i.e. you cannot have 2 records with the same name at the different levels) and you can use the name to identify its exact position, the other formats can use the same records/segments at different levels.
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    Typical X12/EDIFACT/SAP IDoc mapping: transportation stages in logistics EDI

    (Disclaimer 🙂 I’ve been working with logistics documents (Ocean and Road primarily, plus some Rail and Air) a lot recently, but I see them from the EDI prospective and might not fully understand business behind them. So I probably not always use the right terms, or misunderstand some details. This technical article is more about the structures used to describe transportation stages and related data.)

    Another complex EDI case, related to the logistics EDI documents, is how different formats describe transportation stages (legs, conveyances, …). There are 2 main ways of describing transportation legs: stages and stops. For example, we need to move cargo from point A to point D, with points B and C in between.

    A -> B -> C -> D

    In case of Ocean Logistics it might be:

    • A-B, pre-carriage (warehouse to loading port)
    • B-C, main-carriage (loading to unloading ports)
    • C-D, on-carriage (unloading port to delivery destination)

    In case of Motor it might be A as the loading point (warehouse) and B, C and D as Ship To store locations.

    So, we could describe this route (A->D) as a set of stops (A, B, C and D) or as a set of legs (stages, conveyances, …) (AB, BC and CD). As we’ll see, different formats use one of these approaches.

    Of course, for very simple cases, when we are interested in the first and last points only, we can always use Ship From and Ship To locations (N1 in X12, NAD in EDIFACT and something like E1EDKA1 in SAP Idoc (depends on the document)). It is typical for Orders or ASNs. But when it comes to Logistics, especially complex scenarios (like Ocean) and such things as Booking Request/Response, Shipping Instructions or Load Tender Motor documents, we need to know much more details – locations, requested/estimated/scheduled/actual dates of departure/arrival, carriers and sub-carriers, information about consignments/products loaded/unloaded in different points and so on. And logistic-specific documents contain structures for them.
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    Typical X12/EDIFACT/SAP IDoc mapping: ASN (Ship Notice) and Packaging structures

    One of the most complex things you can encounter working on the maps is the mapping of hierarchical (nested) packages/products in ASNs (Ship Notices). Things like partners, dates or references usually are straight-forward and in a lot of cases you can use simple direct connections. But different formats use different approaches when it comes to hierarchical (nested) structures.

    So, let me show you how X12, EDIFACT and IDocs describe this: one container C1 with 5 pallets, 2 pallets (P1 and P2) are for Product A, 2 pallets (P3 and P4) are for Product B and 1 pallet (P5) is a mixed load with Product A and Product C

    C1
        P1
            Product A, 100 KGM
        P2
            Product A, 100 KGM
        P3
            Product B, 90 KGM
        P4
            Product B, 90 KGM
        P5
            Product A, 20 KGM
            Product C, 90 KGM
    


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