and other Electronic Commerce Communications Protocols

AS2 (Applicability Statement 2) is a specification for Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) between businesses using the Internet's Web page protocol, the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).

The specification is an extension of the earlier version, Applicability Statement 1 (AS1). Both specifications were created by EDI over the Internet (EDIINT), a working group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) that develops secure and reliable business communications standards. The AS2 standard provides Secure Multi-Purpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME) and uses HTTP or a more secure version, HTTPS, to transmit data over the Internet. AS1 uses a slower protocol, SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). The use of HTTP or HTTPS allows communication in real time rather than through e-mail delivery. Security, authentication, message integrity, and privacy are assured by the use of encryption and digital signatures. Another important feature, nonrepudiation, makes it impossible for the intended recipient of a message to deny having received it.

The AS2 standard allows businesses to use a common, single communications solution. This eliminates the complications and costs involved when different businesses in a network use different transfer protocols. A Web server, an EDI transfer engine, and digital certificates are required for data exchange using AS2. Almost any type of data can be transmitted.

Drummond Group Inc. (DGI), the leading interoperability e-commerce certification company, has announced (2/2006) that seven software products from seven leading companies successfully completed the Drummond Certified(TM) program's ebMS (ebXML Message Service)-4Q05 interoperability testing. This test round formally launched DGI's Drummond Certified program designed for industries to drive adoption of technical standards and certify a stable foundation of software products to support their supply chains. Starting in 2006, all ebMS, AS1, AS2, AS3 and CSOS tests will be conducted under the Drummond Certified program.

Companies demonstrating interoperability among their products in the ebMS-4Q05 test round included Axway Software, Cleo Communications, Cyclone Commerce, Inc., Inovis USA, Inc., Oracle Corporation, Oxlo Systems, Inc., and Sterling Commerce. The software products from these solution providers deliver a cross-industry selection of tested standards-based, interoperable ebMS solutions to worldwide industries, including automotive, financial services, government, health care, public health and retail.

Improved AS2

Like VANs, AS2 gets complex if there are more than a couple of nodes involved. It is an excellent protocol with strong encryption and digital signatures, positive sender identification and proof of receipt. It is the implementation that can be weak, not the application.

AS2 (Applicability Statement 2) is a specification for Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) between businesses using the Internet's Web page protocol, the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). The AS2 standard provides Secure Multi-Purpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME) and uses HTTP or its more secure version, HTTPS, to transmit data over the Internet. Security, authentication, message integrity, and privacy are assured by the use of encryption and digital signatures.

Another important feature, nonrepudiation, makes it impossible for the intended recipient of a message to deny having received it. A Web server, an EDI transfer engine, and digital certificates are all that are required for data exchange using AS2.

All this sounds very well developed, but AS2 has no “directory” function. What would e-mail be like if it had no directory function? E-Mail has its DNS & MX records which automatically make the rounds of other e-mail systems.

Much of the management of AS2 is still manual. That means it is time to automate! URLs and Public Certificates change. Most every AS2 package allows you to generate and sign your own certificate. The process will generate both a private and public key for a length of time selected by you. The private key will automatically be securely stored where the AS2 software can access it, and the public certificate will be placed in a location where you can send copies to your trading partners.

Read more about a solution and see some great reference material on AS2

Find out about Witnesses and Fair Promise The Forum for Supply Chain Integration

ec-bp was established in 2005 as the advocate for lowering the barriers to the adoption of EDI, and our email newsletter has been published every month since that time. Our focus has expanded beyond EDI to encompas the full gamut of supply chain practices and technologies. In addition, our readership has grown to become the largest of any similarly focused publication, and has expanded to include more than 90,000 professionals involved in nearly every aspect of the supply chain.

Today’s supply chain is more than simple transport of EDI documents. The complexity of maintaining compliance with trading partners, managing the ever increasing amount of data, and analyzing that data to drive constant improvement in processes and service take supply chain professionals far beyond the basics of mapping EDI documents.

Looking Under the Covers

I have been off on a logistics assignment for a few weeks without too much EDI involved. In truth, there was no EDI involved, so that got me to thinking “why not?” We are “trading” with a couple of major companies: a leading truck-by-the-day rental company and a leading temporary help agency. What were we doing? We had a contract from a hospital chain to remove old furniture and move it elsewhere. It is a temporary thing: when it is done, it is done. Nobody wants to spend time on an ad hoc project of short duration (low ROI).

But, everybody says “We do e-commerce, we take credit cards”. This sounds great on the surface, but to purchase their product, there may be, for some customers, an horrendous amount of manual paperwork that is not included in their ever-so-simple on-line purchase form.

So what is my idea like and how do we achieve it? Currently, most EDI trading arrangements are conducted on an on-going/regular basis. The formats (conventions) have been exchanged between the partners; the information exchange has been tested; and the relationship itself is cemented in the partners systems.

Achieving what I will call “AD HOC EDI” would be through a “value added exchange service”
(I can call it a VAES, because it hasn't been invented yet). This service would:
(1)be open to sign up by any company or organization that wants to automate ad hoc transactions on either (or both) a sending and receiving basis;
(2)allow the receiving customer to prescribe the format they wish to receive;
(3)allow the sending customer to detail their offering and their capabilities;
(4)delivery could be through the exchange, AS2, an existing VAN;
(5)not limited to X12, or even to any EDI Standard;
(6)testing capability would exist.

Using a Purchase Order and Invoice as representative samples, the Exchange Service would electronically match sending and receiving Purchase Orders, then Invoices; then “publish” specifications for a “convention”. All necessary conversions would be carried out electronically within the Exchange Service. Important: the Exchange Service does not use it's own standards; it uses those of the trading partners. The Exchange Service itself would operate in a “neutral” language: how about XML?

Conclusion: adding capabilities for AD HOC EDI will boost the number of EDI transactions more than any of us can even realize.

See the full article on Looking Under the Covers

See my other blogs

See other blogs about EDI

Traditional Versus “WEB” EDI

Many companies have developed or purchased systems that use the WEB and provide an alternative to “traditional” EDI. Are they really easier for a small company? What is lost? What is gained?

A “simple” definition of “traditional” EDI is that both business partners have their own EDI application (could be in-house or Cloud-based) which converts business documents to/from EDI documents and TRANSPORTS them through AS2, a VAN, or an ECCP (Electronic Commerce Communications Provider).
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Find out about Achievements and Fair Promise

Ten Unique Ideas, Facts and Uses for XML

We always hear that XML has all kinds of flexibility. Thought I would explore and see what unusual things have been done with it. Many Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have been developed that software developers use to process XML data, and several schema systems exist to aid in the definition of XML-based languages. Hundreds of XML-based languages have been developed, including RSS ATOM SOAP and XHTML. XML-based formats have become the default for most office-productivity tools, including Open Office, Microsoft Office and Iwork (Apple).

Here is my list of unusual “stuff” about XML

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The End of ERP

Over the past several years there have been numerous articles written on “Is EDI Dead?”. But EDI just “keeps on trucking”. EDI embraced XML, AS2 and the Cloud; to name just a few recent advances. Plus, EDI became the “engine” for E-Commerce.
EDI Tool Box What is EDI?
EDI Mapping
Blogs about EDI and eCommerce
Financial EDI
EDI with the Government
Electronic Commerce Communications Providers
EDI and EC Vendors
EDI Project Management
Transportation EDI
History of EDI
Unique Global Identity for EDI Messages
Who wrote all this good stuff?

Find out about EDI Global Identifiers and EDI Directories

Supply Chain Control Tower

Supply Chain Management Control Towers

Control towers are used in many industries for different purposes: airports and railroads use them for traffic control; power plants have control rooms to monitor operations; and third party logistics providers use them to track transportation activities. These are places where operations run well. Why not a


in order to monitor and assure your supply? Talk to us, we build them!

So just what is an SCM Control Tower? What are the functions of a Supply Chain Control Tower? Who staffs your Supply Chain Management Control Tower?

If you use an EDI VAN for your business, this message is for you. Move past the ancient VAN technology. JWH EDI Services Electronic Commerce Messaging System will bring your EDI operation into the 21st Century. The power of our global EDI network is available on your server, your cloud platform or your application. AND you cannot beat our prices.
You can connect and communicate with all your customers and trading partners through the JWH EDI Services Electronic Commerce Messaging System - Connect with trading partners around the world on a single Network-as-a-Service platform, get real-time transaction visibility and eliminate those manual network processes. It is a pay as you need model. We track all interchanges from the moment they enter the system, along every step across the network, and through the delivery confirmation.

How can we help you? Contact us: Ken Kinlock at
OnLine Store Business Process: E-Commerce & EDI On-Line Stores have changed a lot and are growing. Consumers love the convenience. In 2011, US consumers spent $194 billion shopping via OnLine stores according to the US Department of Commerce. According to Forrester Research that number will grow to $279 billion by 2015.

Doesn't matter if they are “stand alone” OnLine store or a branch of a “brick and mortar” store, the efficient business model is the same. Everybody describes the process as “E-Commerce”, but the backbone of the whole progress is really EDI.

Required Attire for a Remote Workforce

Ever wonder how your telecommuting colleagues really live? Turns out, many of them actually do work in their pajamas. They also tend to love their work-life balance – to the point where they’d take a pay cut to maintain the status quo. This is a “must read” for both remote workers and for their office-bound managers.
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1EDISource provides unparalleled EDI solutions for businesses of all sizes. Get help with EDI implementation, management, integration and more with our software
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BLOGS on EC-BP.COM A new term is appearing in the supply chain arena: "Supply Chain Control Tower". Just as an airport control tower coordinates airplanes landing and taking off, a Supply Chain Control Tower coordinates inbound and outbound distribution flows. Sure sounds more professional than a "dashboard". It is all about "knowledge". Air controllers get information on weather, speed, direction, and altitude of aircraft and use that knowledge to keep their air space safe. Companies must know what is happening with their supply chains so they can prevent disasters too. They need to be able to do "what-if" analysis and work their way around events that will cause disruption and risks to the supply chain.
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See KC Jones BLOG about Railroad History We cover New York Central, New Haven Railroad and other Eastern Railroads. Penney Vanderbilt and KC Jones See Penney Vanderbilt BLOG about Golf and Vacations, especially on the French Riviera We have a lot about Nice, France. Not only do we cover golf on the French Riviera, but also Northwest France, Quebec, Golf Hotels and THE US Open

See my blogs about David and Goliath. Yes, it is all about AS2 and EDI.
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What is a 7PL?

Since I wrote my definitions article on 3PL / 4PL / 5PL / 6PL, 4PL has become almost as well known as 3PL; but the terms 5PL and 6PL have not exactly become household words. Now we have: 3PL + 4PL = 7PL. Let's quickly review these definitions:

Among the services 3PLs provide are transportation, warehousing, cross-docking, inventory management, packaging/repackaging, and freight forwarding. Examples of value-added services also provided by 3PL providers might include: (1) pick and pack; (2) marking, tagging, and labeling; (3) product returns and reverse distribution; (4) salvage and scrap disposal; (5) telemarketing.

While a 4PL is sometimes described as non-asset-owning service provider, their role is to provide broader scope managing of the entire supply chain. Now, along comes the 5PL who sometimes define themselves as broadening the scope further to e-business. A 6PL adds in import/export customs. Don't forget, the 1PL is the shipper or the consignee, and the 2PL are actual carriers, warehouses, etc.

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