EDIFACT is a standard for electronic data exchange established by the UN. That is why you sometimes come across the UN/EDIFACT.
EDIFACT stands for Electronic Data Interchange for Administration Commerce and Transport. It is the most widely used EDI standard in Europe, which is partly because it has been used by production companies that jumped on the EDI wave right from the beginning.
EDIFACT is also used outside Europe and is, therefore, an important part of international trade. However, if you have trading partners in North America, you have probably encountered another standard. Here it is not so much EDIFACT, but the standard ANSI X12 that has gained popularity.
If you choose to use EDIFACT in your business, you will have an international standard that you can apply to many document types. Some standard documents such as orders and invoices, and more specialized types of documents such as legal documents and shipping documents. There are more than 200 different EDIFACT document types, but in reality, most companies only need a handful of them.
Because there are so many document standards and subgroups within EDIFACT, it is not that straightforward to get started with the standard. EDIFACT has a complex syntax, but that is also why it can be used for so many different document types. However, it might be a good idea to have an EDI partner like Bizbrains on board to set the course so that you do not have to deal with the complex EDI standard yourself.
Although a lot of new things are happening in the EDI business at the moment, EDIFACT is still thriving. And the standard is still widely used in such diverse industries as the chemical, shipping, automotive, and banking industries.