(logistics/computers) Acronym for Electronic Data Interchange. (a) The transfer of structured data, by agreed message standards, from one computer application to another by electronic means and with a minimum of human intervention. (b) The electronic exchange of documents between businesses and organizations, or between businesses and government agencies.
Documents routinely sent by EDI include purchase orders, commercial invoices, inquiries, price sheets, shipping documents, test results, payment documents and compliance documents for government agencies. The trend is for more and more documentation to be sent by EDI. For example, a number of government agencies worldwide, including import and export authorities, now require that compliance documents be sent exclusively by EDI. The key issue in EDI today relates to establishing international and industry-specific standards for document transmittal. See UN/EDIFACT, American National Standards Organization; International Standards Organization.

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