Archive for the ‘EDI’ Category

EDI University – best practices

Posted on: November 5th, 2013 by The IAS Team No Comments

IAS maintains the largest neutral intermodal network of depots and terminals in the world, literally 2,500+ individual connections. IAS provides a powerful web portal to manage activity and enter data to those not able to integrate. The majority of our volume, however, is from integrated partners whom connect to IAS via EDI in order to gain efficiencies and leverage internal technology investments. IAS supports multiple EDI formats, including standard XML, ANSI and EDIFACT formats, as well as the basics such as flat file and CSV. Regardless of the specific EDI format you may choose to utilize, there are a few best practices that will ensure long term success:

Testing and Mapping – When working within your own system to generate the test files needed to join the IAS network, make sure that you are updating your mapping source, and not the data file itself. Always ensure you have submitted successful transactions in the test environment first before moving to production.

Validations and Standards – As many of us know, the word “standard” is often a loosely used term and may mean different things across your customer organizations.  IAS helps contextualize the data requirements into three categories:

   1. EDI Standard format – This refers to the file format standard being utilized (e.g., ANSI, EDIFACT, etc.) and includes valid envelopes, wrappers, delimiters, and characters used.

   2. IAS Standard Validation – This refers to how IAS has implemented the EDI standard for use with our software solutions and includes the minimum required data content, format, and location that all IAS customers adhere to (e.g., a container number should be 4 alpha plus 6/7 numeric)

   3. Customer Specific Validation – These are additional requirements configured specifically for the customer based on how their solution is implemented.  These validations will vary from customer to customer and can range from fleet validation to sequencing to more.

It is important to understand all three categories up front to ensure a smooth testing process and long term data transfer success.  

File Transmissions – In transmitting files to IAS, FTP is often the most desirable manner. IAS will provide secure access to a hosted FTP along with specific instructions on directory information. For diagnostic purposes and best practice, it is helpful to create and place copy of all files transmitted and received files in the archive directory in case re-processing is needed for any reason. In addition, IAS strongly encourages you Secure FTP (SFTP) protocol when exchanging files with IAS. SFTP results in a much more secure connection and can also be beneficial as a public SSH secure encryption key allows for automatic login and one standard access port.

Integrating with IAS via EDI is quick and easy through our established processes of on-boarding new customers and their trading partners. IAS has extensive experience applying its expertise and powerful integration tools to create and manage thousands of integration maps covering all the major intermodal EDI events. Moreover, our engineers are able to rapidly develop and test the maps within a dedicated “training” environment to assure end-to-end tests are complete before an integration is implemented live.

If you have any questions on customer requirements or enablement process please reach out to