Data Exchange Standards Q&A

Access a PDF of this Q&A Document here

1.       What is the WF&FSA Data Exchange Standards (WDES)?

a.      WDES stands for WF&FSA Data Exchange Standards, developed by the WF&FSA Technology Committee as a service to its members.

b.      It sets the electronic standard for Wholesale Florists and Florist Suppliers to easily exchange data regarding products.  It allows for a Supplier / Wholesaler to exchange data with Multiple Suppliers / Wholesalers using the same data set.

c.       Supports the electronic exchange of data from one system to another.

2.       Why do I need this?

a.      Save time and money when setting up new items

b.      Automated, accurate data entry (no typos)

c.       Electronically input data as opposed to manually keying data into system

3.       How does it work?

a.      Supplier creates a file (XML or Delimited format) and sends to the Wholesaler.  The Wholesaler uploads that file into their system, either creating new items or updating existing items.

4.       How do I get started?

a.      Create a data map in your system using the WDES.

b.      Suppliers will create a map to export the data.

c.       Wholesalers will create a map to import the data.

5.       Who is using the WDES now?

a.      The following WF&FSA members are supporting the development of the WDES:

                                Syndicate Sales, Inc.

                                Smithers Oasis

                                Delaware Valley Floral Group

                                Greenleaf Wholesale Florist

                                Kennicott Brothers Company

                                Westbrook Floral, LTD

                                Vans Floral Products

                                DWF Wholesale Florist      

6.       How can I find our more?

  1. a.      Attend the annual WF&FSA Floral Distribution Conference in Miami to learn all about WDES and other technology applications to power your business.

  2. b.      Go online to the WFFSA website, www.wffsa.org, and follow the links to the WDES information.

7.       Were other options explored such as existing data pools (1Sync, UCCNet, ECCNet) or existing EDI standards?

a.      The other data pools cost money to use.  Some members know from experience that UCCNet (now GS1) was very expensive.  The committee also figured that most people would not want to pay extra for the service.  When we started this program, while we were looking at a delimited file we were using the x-12 standards as our basis.  Again, we were trying to stay away from true EDI because of the additional transaction costs involved and the upfront programming costs which are typically more than mapping a delimited or xml file. .

b.       XML is the language of the web. Defining the data in an XML format allows for the expansion of the delivery possibilities to using web services (WSDL) to transmit and submit data on demand.  This will be the first step in getting the industry the capability of communicating with each other in “real-time”.

8.       What were the reasons for creating a new, unique data exchange standard as opposed to using an existing data synchronization product or service?

a.      This really started as simple delimited file for hard goods with about 20 fields. When we added fresh to the mix it got quite a bit bigger.  The committee decided at that point that the xml format would make more sense in trying to achieve our goal due to the use of data blocks.  Again we were trying to put together something that wouldn’t cost the users money other than initial setup. 

b.      The unique data we were looking to be able to share.

9.       Are there more detailed specifications available on each field if needed?

a.      Not at this time, if you could help us understand what information you would like to see that would be helpful.  Sometimes we can get too close to the project, so we can read between the lines where you need more information.  Any feedback would be appreciated.

10.   Who is the current “expert” who can explain field usage, purpose, value ranges, etc.?

a.      This project has been lead by the Technology Committee. The expertise is shared. When you get into the details of the project you can post your questions to the new WF&FSA Technology Blog.

11.   What sources of documentation and support will be available to users?

a.      Everything that we have is on the www.wffsa.org site.

b.      We are guessing that we will need more and welcome any feedback as to what additional documentation you would like to see.

12.   How will revisions to the standard be managed?

a.      Knowing that revisions are not easy to manage, we are trying to get it all in the first time around.  However, if a revision is needed, we would plan an announcement and rollout through WFFSA. 

b.      The additions would come at the end of the segments and would be ignored by the program unless you included it in your map.  So it would be up to you to either implement the revision or not.

c.       WFFSA will be the keeper of any revisions and using the “web services definition language” (WSDL) request, a user could request the latest version of the XLM definitions.

13.   Are specs on the delimited file format available yet?

a.      Not yet, it is the committee’s goal to present the xml format as the format of choice.  If you had your choice, which would you choose xml or delimited?

b.      The XML file can be converted to a column formatted document with the use of MSExcel2007 or newer.

14.   Will each supplier be providing both XML and delimited data?

a.      We can’t answer for the suppliers.