What is a VAN?
VAN stands for Value Added Network and they are a network of companies who serve the purpose of EDI communication. A VAN is used by companies to send and receive their EDI documents with their partners. VANs offer other services as well, but these differ largely from one VAN to another.
All VANs work out of a network address database that they share with other VANs to create an interconnected network. Each VAN lists their customers and provides them with a unique ID to identify them on the network. When another one is sending a document, they will use this unique ID to find the receive VAN location. Once identified, they will send the message to the receiving partner’s VAN, thus delivering the message to the correct recipient.
Unique IDs are made up of two parts, a qualifier and an ID. The qualifier tells you what kind of ID to expect, and the ID is the value itself. For example, a qualifier of 01 indicates that the ID will be the company’s DUNS number.