Providing standards, tools and services
for the automotive supply chain

Digital Messaging

For Buy Ship Pay


Digital messaging has been in use across the automotive industry for over 40 years and vehicle production today totally relies on the seamless electronic exchange of information between all partners in the automotive supply chain from the OEM, through the Tier suppliers, to the raw material producer and the associated service providers.

Odette has been at the forefront of developments in digital messaging throughout this time, incorporating different formats such as UN/EDIFACT, which still forms the backbone of customer-supplier communications in the automotive industry, XML and, most recently, JSON which facilitates new solutions such as APIs to supplement the established EDI infrastructure.

Each of these formats and solutions have a role to play in the complex automotive supply chain. They can be interconnected and are able to coexist with each other, but all must guarantee the main principle of electronic data interchange, standardised interoperability between business partners.


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Together with its partners in the JAIF, Odette has developed a comprehensive and harmonised data model covering the main processes in the automotive supply chain. Using this data model, we specified specific UN/EDIFACT EDI guidelines for the automotive industry based on United Nations Standard Messages (UNSM), covering the communication requirements of the full Buy-Ship-Pay cycle.

The guidelines are used extensively throughout the global automotive supply chain and are constantly reviewed and updated by Odette and the JAIF to meet the challenging and ever evolving requirements of modern logistics management.

UN/EDIFACT EDI, today’s most widespread electronic commerce application, is designed to facilitate efficient data exchange and has been optimised to support the key business processes of automotive production and the associated supply chain, in a way few other technologies can match. Automotive companies still rely heavily on UN/EDIFACT EDI, the workhorse of data exchange in the digital supply chain, and currently see no need to reinvent the system for no additional benefit.

In addition, Odette also develops XML messages which provide a human readable, robust and durable format for information storage and transmission. These XML messages are not intended to replace UN/EDIFACT messages but to complement them. They are used to introduce digital messaging to new business areas and to smaller companies further back in the supply chain.

And finally, specific information blocks are also represented in JSON syntax to support REST-API based communication.

Since all these different syntaxes use the same data model structures, the highest level of interoperability between the different formats is guaranteed.

Joint Automotive Industry Forum (JAIF)

The JAIF brings together the major automotive supply chain bodies from Europe (Odette), Japan (JAMA & JAPIA) and North America (AIAG) to develop common standards and recommendations for the benefit of the global automotive industry.

Odette Technology Group (TG)

The TG brings together representatives from OEMs, Suppliers and Technology Providers to identify processes for digitalisation and focus on the selection and development of the appropriate technologies to support Odette Standards.


Individual digital message guidelines can be found in the various Process areas of this website. The Resources below provide the basic information needed when implementing EDI. To access the full catalogue of Odette and JAIF digital messages please go to Technology - Resources - Messaging.

Structure of an EDIFACT Interchange

EDIFACT messages are constructed according to the EDIFACT syntax rules as defined in the ISO 9735 standard.

This recommendation has been drawn up to clarify the basics of the EDIFACT syntax and to provide instructions for the application of these rules in EDI messages.

Version 2 of the recommendation is aligned with ISO 9735 Version 4 Part 11.

Reference OS11

Version 2.0

Published Sept 2022

Model EDI Agreement

This agreement template has been drafted by EDI and business experts to provide guidance for what has to be agreed between EDI partners to organise the data exchange via EDI and about what to agree between the partners from a commercial point of view.

Reference OS10

Version 2.0

Published Sept 2010

Odette Code Lists

This archived resource is either no longer valid or has been superseded by a later version

Reference OS06

Version 1.0

Published Dec 2008

EDIFACT Application Level Syntax Rules

This archived resource is either no longer valid or has been superseded by a later version

Based on ISO 9735 Version 3

Reference OS05

Version 3.0

Published Jan 2000

Interchange Control Guidelines

This archived resource is either no longer valid or has been superseded by a later version

This document provides guidance to EDI users on the control and management of data interchanges. These recommendations involve the use of data within EDIFACT syntax and should therefore be read in conjunction with the Odette EDIFACT Application Level Syntax Rules.

Reference OS03

Version 1.0

Published Mar 1991