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The future of TRADACOMS

From 1 July 2017 GS1 UK will no longer provide any support for TRADACOMS

TRADACOMS was the core UK message standard from the early days of EDI usage in the UK in the early 1980s. It was widely used by retailers and wholesalers for EDI order and invoice processes between buyers and their mainly UK-based suppliers. However, since 1998, existing users have only received basic TRADACOMS support from GS1 UK for current applications and there has been no development of any new message types.

During this time, new EDI users have been advised to adopt the EANCOM standard with their trading partners wherever possible. EANCOM is the most widely used GS1 global standard for EDI. GS1 XML is another alternative that is used globally. Both are actively developed and supported in response to our members’ needs.

More recently, retailers looking to extend their use of EDI with Advanced Shipping Notifications (ASNs) and Electronic Proof of Delivery (EPOD) have chosen to use EANCOM. Tesco now onboards all new suppliers to the EANCOM standard for all EDI messages.

Future obsolescence of TRADACOMS

Recent changes by HMRC in the UK, regarding Prompt Payment Discounts for trade customers and how this should be accounted for in EDI invoices, have illustrated how the use of the TRADACOMS standard will become increasingly unworkable – and costly. For EDI users, the future use of TRADACOMS will become more haphazard with unknown regulations likely to stretch capabilities even further.

Modern GS1 standards for EDI – EANCOM and GS1 XML –provide a wider range of EDI messages, providing greater flexibility to meet current and future business needs, including cross-border trading and the expanding B2C (business-to-consumer) area.

Benefits of using the GS1 EDI EANCOM and GS1 XML standards

  • Both EANCOM and GS1 XML are fully maintained and supported by GS1 globally
  • GS1 and all GS1 Member Organisations are committed to maintain and further develop them
  • EANCOM and GS1 XML are used worldwide, across border and in multiple industries

Additionally, EANCOM and GS1 XML both provide:

  • Support for item identifications other than GTIN-13
  • Multiple and full currency support including date/time and conversion rate details
  • Support for full units of measure list
  • Consolidated invoice support
  • Support for better shipping date handling, e.g. do not ship before, ship no later than, must arrive by vs ship date/cancel date
  • Support for promotions and events
  • Support for summary level allowance/charges

GS1 UK support for EDI Standards

Although GS1 UK has provided some level of support for the TRADACOMS standard since 1998, it has been agreed that considering the increasing unsuitability of TRADACOMS for today’s trading, and the fact that it is not a GS1 global standard for EDI, GS1 UK will, as of 1 July 2017, only support the recognised GS1 EDI standards EANCOM, GS1 XML and the GS1 UN/CEFACT XML profile.

For GS1 UK to best support its members and continue to promote the adoption of global standards, guidelines for migrating TRADACOMS to EANCOM for order and invoice messages are being produced by the GS1 UK EDI Standards Implementation Group (ESIG). The first of these guidelines are available here.