Document Detail

Title: RS20-1 - EDI: Concepts and Applications
Publication Date: 2/1/1993
Product Type: Research Summary
Status: Archived Supporting Product
Pages: 18
This publication has been archived, but is available for download for informational purposes only.

Provides an overview of electronic data interchange concepts and terminology; also reports cost/benefits related with EDI implementation efforts.
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The construction industry has a need to electronically transmit standard documents between designers, owners, contractors, and material suppliers. These documents include purchase orders, requests for quotations, invoices, shipping notifications, material lists, and payment transfers. Electronic data interchange (EDI) is a technology that permits the transfer of these documents, and others, from one computer application to another. EDI differs from electronic mail in that the documents are transmitted in an industry standard format, checked for errors, and imported directly into the receiving computer application without rekeying.

EDI technology is generally credited with reducing paperwork and data transmission costs, improving data accuracy, reducing material inventories, and enhancing the planning of activities that depend on accurate, timely material shipping notifications. EDI can, therefore, play a significant role in achieving U.S. construction industry goals related to reducing project costs and improving project schedules.

National and international data exchange standards have been developed to facilitate EDI document exchange in other industries. Although these standards can be utilized by the construction industry, the industry itself must play a more active role in data standards development and approval. The CII Electronic Data Management Task Force has been instrucmental in CII’s establishment of the Construction Industry Action Group (CIAG). The purpose of CIAG is to promote EDI in the construction industry and to represent the industry in various national and international data standards organizations.