When suppliers do not have adequate details regarding delivery, it can lead to errors and delays. If companies use the Just-in-Time (JIT) strategy for manufacturing, this can negatively impact the production schedules where manufacturing timelines are dependent on the timely delivery of raw materials. In other cases, to maintain the efficiency of inventory management in the supply chain, timely delivery schedules and details provided by customers are necessary. This is where the DELFOR or Delivery Schedule Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) message can resolve challenges in the supply chain and improve communication between trading partners across industries.
At To-Increase, we have developed an EDI solution for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain Management – EDI Studio, and we also have tutorials for the DELFOR message available in our solution that can easily be configured without the need for any development. We have helped several customers streamline their business communication using our EDI solutions across industries.
In this blog, we will explain what the DELFOR EDI message is, its specifications, advantages, and the industries that can benefit from adopting the DELFOR EDI message.
What is the DELFOR EDI message?
DELFOR is short for the Delivery Forecast message and as the name implies is used to share delivery schedule-related details. A DELFOR message is sent from the buyer to the supplier that helps in planning the arrival of raw materials in time for production. It follows the EDIFACT format and is an important message that helps streamline production for the manufacturing industry.
According to GS1, a renowned developer of global standards, a DELFOR or a Delivery Forecast message is sent from a buyer/manufacturer to a supplier stating the product requirements and “delivery instructions for short-term and/or medium to long-term product/service forecast for planning purposes according to conditions set out in a contract or order”.
This message can be used to authorize an order of raw materials or to schedule manufacturing based on the terms defined in the contract. Additionally, a DELFOR message can also be sent as a response to the same message by the receiving party to either accept, reject, or suggest changes to the message received. The DELFOR message is commonly used by industries that involve manufacturing, distribution, and procurement by the administration, commerce, and transport teams.
Let’s look at an example to explain this. A car manufacturing company sends out a DELFOR message to their supplier based on their production schedule for the delivery of 10,000 parts. The supplier proposes the delivery of half the order instead. This gives the manufacturer the notice to either reach out to another supplier to ensure their production schedule is not disrupted or then adjust the volume of production, if possible.
Since the message represents a forecast, with details of the ordered item and quantity that is based on the inventory journal and planning process, the details for this order come from the ERP. So instead of importing this information or manually typing this information into your EDI solution, we recommend integrating your ERP system with your EDI solution for maximum transparency and increased efficiency.
The same message can also be used by retailers to distributors for the request of delivery of goods based on anticipated demand. Therefore, the delivery schedule message can be used by all parties of the supply chain to ensure continuous movement of goods based on the manufacturer’s production schedule or the retailer’s business needs.
What details does the DELFOR EDIFACT message contain?
There are two types of DELFOR messages, Perpetual which are for regular orders and Urgent for critical orders that have a shorter delivery timeline. The message can be sent monthly, weekly, or quarterly and will have a start and finish date based on the production schedule or business demands.
The DELFOR message contains the following details:
- Product details such as item number, description, and quantity.
- The delivery location whether it is the warehouse, production company, or retail center.
- The date of the delivery to ensure it meets the schedule.
- The purchase order and contract number
- The production release (in some cases)
Benefits of the DELFOR EDIFACT message
Improved forecast planning
The DELFOR message is used by some organizations for forecast planning. This makes it easier for the supplier as there is no guesswork involved if there is a regular cadence of orders based on the delivery schedule. This improves efficiency in the supply chain and makes it easier to manage the production process for the manufacturer.
Sending out an updated planning schedule can ensure that you are not stuck without raw materials or with extra goods and you can then place an order based on your business needs either using a Perpetual or Urgent DELFOR message.
When you start using EDI messages such as DELFOR and implement EDI for your organization, you can automate processes, reduce manual entry of data, and use a more organized approach to communicate with your trading partners.
Since DELFOR is sent out to ensure delivery and production schedules are well planned, you can reduce errors using an automated and integrated EDI solution and ensure business as usual tasks are not disrupted. You also reduce the chances of missing or incorrect deliveries that occur without using the DELFOR message.
Improved overall experience
Since EDI automates the communication process, this reduces the chances of errors, saves time, and cost due to the transparency of the delivery schedule that has been shared with your trading partners using the DELFOR message. This can also help you get better ratings from your manufacturers.
Messages that are similar to EDIFACT DELFOR or that go hand-in-hand
The VDA 4905 and the VDA 4984 are both planning schedule messages sent from a supplier to a customer. The latter is a newer version, and both these messages follow the German Association of the Automotive Industry standards.
Other messages that are usually implemented with the DELFOR EDIFACT message and possibly used in the same communication workflow are DELJIT (delivery just in time) and DESADV (dispatch advice) message. The DELJIT is a more urgent message that notifies suppliers of the shipping schedule for the next 24 hours. So typically, the DELJIT message is sent out after the DELFOR since the DELFOR usually shares details about the planning schedule for a longer duration and the DELJIT shares the detail of the order for the next day or few days.
Following the DELJIT is the DESDAV message that is sent as soon as the shipment is sent out. The DESDAV message shares details on the order dispatched, the tracking details, shipment information, and the type of packaging.
Which industries can use the DELFOR EDIFACT message?
DELFOR can be used across industries in the supply chain, here are some of those industries with details below.
Automotive: Used by manufacturers and suppliers to share delivery schedules for raw materials.
Retail: Used to ensure that there is a balance between demand and supply.
Electronics: Used by manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers to share delivery schedules for raw materials and devices.
Food and beverage: Used to ensure delivery of goods is made keeping in mind the best before date and also consumer demand.
Healthcare and pharma: Used to manage the delivery of any medical supplies, devices, and medicines.
What is your business scenario?
If you are already using EDI, you should check with your EDI provider regarding the DELFOR message and can plan to include it in your business communication to streamline your supply chain operations. If you are not using EDI and are considering a solution that can help you with the DELFOR message, we might be able to help if you use Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain Management. We offer EDI Studio for D365 F&SCM and also have an out-of-the-box template for the DELFOR message (besides other messages) that you can configure.
To learn more about our solution you can read our honest review blog that mentions the benefits, limitations, and cost of our EDI solution. To understand the features of EDI Studio, we recommend downloading the factsheet from the link below.