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Understanding the Basics of EDI

EDI 214

Shipment Status Document

Understanding the Basics of EDI

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What is EDI 214?

Based on the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12 format, the EDI 214 can be used by a transportation carrier to provide shippers, cosignees, and their agents with the status of shipments, dates, times, locations, route, identifying numbers, as well as information concerning shipments in transit. The EDI 214 is therefore a status document that provides information on where a physical shipment is at any given time.

EDI 214 & The Communication Process

The EDI 214 is often issued by a transport or logistics company in response to requests for information from recipients of freight. Basically, the EDI 214 is the equivalent of a fax transmission informing the recipient of a delivery of the status of the shipment. Another example of the EDI 214 might be using a web-based service to see where a shipment is in transit.  Like all other EDI documents, the EDI 214 must be generated through a specialized application (an EDI translator) and then sent to the recipient through some electronic means. The sender's computer will typically perform the translation of the EDI 214 into an EDI format, while the communication will take place either through an Internet EDI connection or through a Value Added Network (VAN).

Transmitting the EDI 214

Once the EDI 214 is ready to be sent to the recipient, one of two methods are going to be generally used. The first, and still most popular method, is the use of a VAN.  A VAN acts as an intermediary between the two parties, facilitating the communication of the EDI 214 (and other EDI documents).  In this manner, the VAN is very similar in scope to the U.S.P.S. Beyond simple delivery though, the VAN is also responsible for ensuring that the transmission is secure throughout the entire process. This is always paramount, but even more so with documents like the EDI 214 that may include private and confidential information. Another popular option is the use of a direct connection through the internet to exchange the EDI 214 between two parties. This alternative is also known as AS2 communication. When using AS2 to send the EDI 214, the document is encrypted at the source and sent using secure Internet-based protocols to the recipient which then must have software capable of decrypting the EDI 214 prior to translation.

Translating the EDI 214

Once an EDI 214 is received, the first step must be to translate the document. An EDI 214, like any EDI document, in its native format is not meant to be read by a human operator. In the translation process, the EDI 214 will be converted into one of two forms - a "human readable" format - usually in the form of a report that is printed to a physical printer, or (more likely) into a file format that is easily imported into an accounting or ERP system. The translation of the EDI 214 into this more easily integrated format is the first key step in the reception of the EDI 214 before it can be used by the intended recipient.

Integrating the EDI 214 Into Your Business

Once the EDI 214 is translated into a computer-ready format, a secondary in-house process takes the new file with the information that originated in the EDI 214 and moves it into the recipient's ERP or accounting system.  At this stage of the transformation, the EDI 214 is now a document that can be identified and used by the recipient as the sender of the EDI 214 intended.

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