What is TRADACOMS?

TRADACOMS stands for Trading Data Communications Standard

Introduction

TRADACOMS (Trading Data Communications Standard) is an early EDI standard that was originally introduced in 1982 and was primarily used in the UK retail sector. It was maintained and extended by the UK Article Numbering Association, now called GS1 UK. Slowly this standard became less obsolescent as its development effectively ceased in 1995. Despite this, it has proved durable and most of the retail EDI traffic in the UK still uses it today.

The TRADACOMS standard provides a set of syntax rules to structure data, an interactive exchange protocol (I-EDI), and standard messages that allow multiple countries or regions, and industries to exchange documents.

TRADACOMS uses multi messages instead of relying on a format of single messaging. TRADACOMS communication is comprised of 26 messages structured in a hierarchy. Each TRADACOMS message, much like EDIFACT, is given a six-letter application reference. For example, an invoice message is INVFIL, a payment order is PAYORD, a utility bill is UTLHDR, and so on.

TRADACOMS has a set definition of segments and elements, which describe the information held within the documents. This data can inform the recipient of a variety of different business documents, such as Invoices, Orders, and Delivery Notices.

What is TRADACOMS? - Commport Communications

TRADCOMS Syntax and Usage

The syntax is very similar to EDIFACT, with the following principal differences:

  • STX/END segments used instead of UNB/UNZ
  • BAT/EOB segments instead of UNG/UNE
  • MHD/MTR segments instead of UNH/UNT
  • The segment tag delimiter is an ‘=’ rather than a data element separator
  • Explicit nesting is always used but implemented as data elements rather than tag extensions
  • Only implicit decimals are used
  • The compression rules are less rigorous, being merely advisory.
  • The underlying GTDI standard uses SCH instead of UNA, but this is not implemented in TRADACOMS. The default EDIFACT UNOA separators are used.

The use of qualifiers, and consequently of composite data elements, is minor compared to EDIFACT. Any segment can occur only once in a TRADACOMS message definition, and so the segments tend to be very specific rather than generic with a qualifier to identify their function. TRADACOMS is not a ‘Lego‘ system in the manner of EDIFACT.

In EDIFACT a message is a transaction. TRADACOMS uses ‘Files’; with one or more examples of the message being preceded by a header message and followed by one or more trailer messages. This avoids the duplication of a common header and trailer information which can occur in a series of EDIFACT messages.

TRADACOMS files are equivalent to industry EDIFACT subsets. They are not generic in the way UN/EDIFACT messages are. They are only supposed to be for use within the UK, since they make no allowance for currencies other than sterling, and tax information is geared to UK requirements.

TRADACOMS Service Segments

Service Segments are used to keep track of the transmission. The most common set is shown below.

  • STX– Start of Interchange
  • MHD– Start of Message
  • MTR– End of Message
  • MHD– Start of Message
  • MTR– End of Message
  • END– End of Interchange

Typical TRADACOMS Workflow Example

Typical TRADACOMS Workflow Example - Commport Communications

Sample TRADACOM Order

 

STX=ANA:1+5000000000000:SOME STORES LTD+5010000000000:SUPPLIER UK LTD+070315:130233+000007+PASSW+ORDHDR+B’

MHD=1+ORDHDR:9′

TYP=0430+NEW-ORDERS’

SDT=5010000000000:000030034′

CDT=5000000000000′

FIL=1630+1+070315′

MTR=6′

MHD=2+ORDERS:9′

CLO=5000000000283:89828+EAST SOMEWHERE DEPOT’

ORD=70970::070315′

DIN=070321++0000′

OLD=1+5010210000000++:00893592+12+60++++CRUSTY ROLLS:4 PACK’

OTR=1′

MTR=7′

MHD=3+ORDTLR:9′

OFT=1′

MTR=3′

END=3′

Here is the list of TRADACOMS EDI document standard transaction codes

 

Application Reference

Message Type

ACKHDR

Acknowledgement

AVLHDR

Availability Report

BTOHDR

Book Trade Orders

PVUHDR

Book Trade Price/Availability Update

CAKHDR

Claims Acknowledgement

CLAHDR

Claims Message

CORHDR

Complex Order

CREHDR

Credit Note

CREADV

Credit Advice

CUSHDR

Customer Information

DEBADV

Debit Advice

DLCHDR

Delivery Confirmation

DELHDR

Delivery Notice

DYEHDR

Dye Instruction

GENHDR

General Communication

HSOHDR

Home Shopping Orders

INVFIL

Invoice

ISSUES

Issues

LPRHDR

Location Planning Report

PICHDR

Picking Instruction

ORDHDR

Purchase Order

PAYORD

Payment Order

PRIHDR

Price Information

PROHDR

Product Information

PPRHDR

Product Planning Report

RDAHDR

Retailer Database

RDBHDR

Retail B, 1-4 Retailer Database

RIFHDR

Retail Issues File

SADHDR

Stock Adjustment

SNPSTS

Stock Snapshot

SRMHDR

Statement & Remittance Details

SORDET

Supply and Returns Details

SORDAY

Supply and Returns Summary

SRSHDR

Supply and Returns Summary

RIFHDR

Retail Issues File

UCNHDR

Uplift Confirmation

UPLHDR

Uplift Instruction

UTLHDR

Utility Bill

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