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Indirect exchanges using VAN services

A company can communicate indirectly with its trading partners via a VAN (Value Added Network). A VAN can be thought of as a mailbox facility. A company sends data via a VAN which is "addressed" to a trading partner. The message is sent to the appropriate "pigeon hole" where it can later be picked up by the intended receiver, i.e. store and forward facility.

The advantage of this approach is that the VAN is supporting all available protocols so trading partners using EDI need not implement software supporting the same protocol as the companies with which they exchange data.

The other advantage may be that several messages addressed to different trading partners can be sent in one transmission because there is only one immediate receiver - the VAN. On the other hand EDI software supporting point-to-point communication can transmit files to different trading partners without any manual intervention, once the communication parameters have been configured at time of implementation.

  • It is common practice for VANs to charge both EDI partners, the sender and the receiver, and for this reason for high data volume transfers VANs can prove an expensive solution.
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  • The indirect link has other disadvantages in that a slight delay is introduced in messages reaching a trading partner coupled with a lack of traceability if data gets lost.

In some countries VAN services are by tradition frequently used by the automotive sector. Other countries rely primarily on point-to-point communications based on X.25 and OFTP or ISDN and OFTP.

 

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Update : 2011-02-15 .