Back to website >


The general term EDI (=Electronic Data Interchange) refers to automated data exchange via computer systems for business processes such as orders, invoices, etc.

The EDIFACT standard (=Electronic Data Interchange For Administration, Commerce and Transport) is widespread worldwide and is becoming increasingly important in communication between trade and wholesale. The standard has been developed and approved by United Nations bodies.

Due to the complexity of the EDIFACT standard, many companies from the retail and consumer goods industries have agreed on the EANCOM® subset (=subset of UN/EDIFACT). EANCOM (= European Article Number Communication) was developed by the international EAN organisation in Brussels and is based on a numbering system for articles and business partners.

Essential for the exchange in the EANCOM® subset are therefore:

  • GTIN / EAN for article identification
  • GLN / ILN for business partner identification

The GTIN (=Global Trade Item Number) is displayed as EAN (=European Article Number) or with the directly related UCC (=Uniform Code Council) as the standard numbering structure. It is a worldwide unique article number which contains parts of the GLN / ILN, i.e. the company identification number, in the number itself. This number is generally applied to commercial packaging in the form of a barcode.

There are over 100 EAN country organizations worldwide, and the American sister company has been a member of EAN International since 2002.

Booksellers use ISBN numbers for identification purposes. These can be represented by prefixing the numbers 978 as EAN numbers in EAN-13 format, so that there are no collisions with GLN / ILN holders.

There is a special number range for in-house numbers, which are EAN numbers that are not public and can only be used in your own company. These in-house EAN numbers start with 20 to 29 to avoid collisions with real EAN numbers.

The EAN number is available in various formats. In addition to the usual EAN-13 (=13-digit) on commercial packaging, there is also a short version, the EAN-8 with 8-digit article number. This shortened version is mainly used on very small packages on which an EAN-13 would have no space.

In recent years, the EAN-128 has become increasingly important. This format has the same technical structure as the UPC-128 code, but always starts in the number with a symbology identifier, that is, a control character called"FNC 1". A UPC-128 scanner can also read an EAN-128.

However, EAN-128 distinguishes between logical field types. For example, an EAN 128 number can contain standardized weight information, packaging unit, expiry date, etc. These field types, also called AI (=Application Identifier), have a fixed meaning, which can also be read in the GS1.

Since the EAN-128 has a maximum displayable character length, this number is composed of approx. 40 field types, optimized for the task, depending on the application. The EAN-128 has an enormous advantage over all other systems in that software can immediately recognize what the parts of the numbers have for a meaning, independently of further data. A scanner or software can now pick out the part of the number that is currently needed for the current application. A cash register can thus pick out the price directly, while a control scanner can check the expiry date at the counter.

A GLN / ILN number (=Global Location Number / International Location Number) can be requested in Germany from GS1 formerly CCG (=Centrale für Coorganisation) at On an international level, EAN International at is the body responsible for managing this company number. Business partners are uniquely identified by this company number and can use this number, if it is of type 2, to create their own EAN article numbers. In the course of globalisation, the ILN replaced the bbn (= uniform company number). In Germany, the term ILN was introduced before the actual redefinition of the worldwide number and was no longer converted to GLN for cost reasons. This means that the term GLN and ILN mean the same thing.

The GLN / ILN type 1 is a 13-digit number with which an economic operator is clearly identified. You cannot generate EAN article numbers with a company number of type 1. These numbers are mainly used for other purposes such as partner identification of a delivery address, etc.

The GLN / ILN type 2 is also a 13-digit number, but consists of a base part of 7 to 9 digits for partner identification and a free area with which the partner can generate 3 to 5-digit EAN numbers. A company number of type 2 is therefore primarily used for manufacturers or importers of goods.

The license costs of a GLN / ILN can be obtained from GS1. In addition to one-time setup costs, there are also annual costs, which depend on company turnover and, for GLN / ILNs of type 2, also on the size of the number range.

For example, the software manufacturer of EULANDA® ERP, EULANDA Software GmbH, has a GLN / ILN 4014751000000 of type 2 and could produce up to 99,999 13-digit EAN numbers from it, the last digit always being a calculated check digit. All these articles can be assigned to this manufacturer worldwide.

Data is usually exchanged using the X.400 protocol. This is a recognized, system-independent communication protocol that enables each subscriber connected to an X.400 service to be reached via an X.400 address. X.400 can best be compared to an email system and the SMTP protocol used there. However, the X.400 protocol does not work over the Internet, but on its own network.

An optional EDI interface and an EDI converter are available for EULANDA® ERP. With the help of the EDI converter, message types, i.e. invoices (=Invoice), orders etc. can be automatically exchanged with other users of this standard in the EANCOM® standard.

For transmission to and from the partner, e.g. Metro, Edeka, Rewe, Markant, Amazon, etc., we recommend the Businessmail service (=former Telebox) of T-Systems or Deutsche Telekom in connection with their special mail system program for the X.400 service "Fileworks" for customers from Germany.

The EDI converter and the mail program "Fileworks" are controlled directly by EULANDA®. T-Systems (=Deutsche Telekom) markets fileworks and the X.400 service under the generic term Businessmail or Telebox400.

Prerequisites for participating in EDI

Data exchange

  • EULANDA® EDI interface
  • EDI converter
  • Businessmail with X.400 access (from T-Systems or Telekom)
  • Fileworks (mail program of Z-Systems or Telekom)
  • Communication unit (modem, ISDN card or Internet access as TCP/IP gateway)

The EDI converter is available in different versions via EULANDA Software GmbH. Every business partner can thus start cheaply. In addition to the basic module, there are extensions for various message types such as invoices (=Invoice), orders (=Orders) or catalogs (=Precat) and other EANCOM® message types. For the individual communication channels there are devices (=output units) like X.400 support, SMTP support and finally there are the partner connections (e.g. to METRO, Markant or EDEKA etc.).

The EULANDA Software GmbH supports you with the application of the X.400 access, the setup of the software "Fileworks" as well as the setup of the EDI converter. In addition, EULANDA Software GmbH helps you to handle the test transmissions to the partners together with you, right up to the automated processing of the entire EDI process.

If you are interested, please request the EDI price list with all EDI products and services from Sales.

The EDI converter and the output interface are independent products and do not belong to the EULANDA®-ENTERPRISE system.