What is an EDIFACT DELFOR Message?

The EDIFACT DELFOR (DELivery FORecast) message is used in particular for exchanging delivery schedule information. A DELFOR message is an electronic planning schedule sent from the customer to the supplier. It follows the EDI message standard UN/EDIFACT and is a key message type for the electronic purchasing process in manufacturing industries.

Usage of the EDIFACT DELFOR Message

Manufacturers use the DELFOR standard to notify suppliers of the predicted demands via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). The message represents a forecast, which consists of multiple segments containing data and quantities for the requested materials.   

Forecasts normally come from the ERP system by a planning disposition process and are exported into an ERP-specific data format, for example IDoc in case the ERP is SAP R/3 ECC. EDIFACT DELFOR messages are then converted from e.g. SAP IDoc and sent to the suppliers by the EDI solution. When received by the supplier the DELFOR message will trigger or modify planning schedules and populate the information on possible order releases. This way an incoming EDIFACT DELFOR message will always replace the schedule of the previous planning schedule message.

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Planning schedules contain the so called segments and elements as specified for EDIFACT DELFOR. An EDI planning schedule message is sent, received, and processed by an EDI solution. The solution can be an EDI Cloud Service or an EDI software for in-house usage. It is key to follow the defined EDIFACT DELFOR standards to avoid errors and to pave the way that the document reaches the supplier.

A typical EDIFACT DELFOR Message includes:

  • Information concerning parts that are ordered (Material No., Material description)
  • Several lines specifying dates and quantities of deliveries (What should be delivered when?)
  • Contract-/purchase order number
  • Material- and/or production releases
  • Ship to address (plant and dock/gate addresses)

Processing of the EDIFACT DELFOR Message

After receiving the DELFOR EDI message, the supplier’s EDI system will check the document against the EDIFACT DELFOR specification and send back a functional acknowledgement confirming the receipt of a planning schedule.


After the DELFOR message is received the supplier can also receive an EDIFACT DELJIT message as a supplement to the EDIFACT DELFOR message. In case that both message types are sent to a supplier, then the DELFOR message typically gives a longer (sometimes several months) planning forecast for the supplier and the DELJIT message gives for a shorter timeframe (of e.g. 10 days) the to be delivered quantities for each day (the daily call off).

EDIFACT DELFOR Example in the EDI Workflow

Documents which are exchanged between business partners over EDI follow a typical sequence of steps, depending on the industry vertical. The flow below shows an EDIFACT standard DELFOR together with other message types in a manufacturing scenario:

What are the equivalents of EDIFACT DELFOR in other EDI Standard Formats?

VDA messages are still commonly used in the automotive industry. VDA 4984 and VDA 4905 are representations of delivery schedule messages serving a similar purpose. EDIFACT and VDA message types are used in Europe, whereas only EDIFACT standards are popular in Asia. The ANSI X12 standard is very common in the NAFTA region.

Benefits of the EDIFACT DELFOR Message

Exchanging planning documents via EDIFACT DELFOR brings benefits to customers and suppliers:

  • Reduce employee workload by avoiding manual disposition
  • Avoid issues because data is derived automatically by the ERP and EDI systems w/o human mistakes
  • Avoid paper based work
  • less administrative overhead
  • Companies can focus on strategic tasks due to having more time

Benefits specific to customers

  • Less interaction with suppliers for correcting typing errors
  • Update to the planning schedules goes faster so out-of-stock or over delivery scenarios happen far less often

Benefits specific to suppliers

  • Delivery planning is done faster and less error-prone
  • Avoidance of wrong or missing deliveries due to human errors
  • Better supplier ratings
  • Saves time and reduce costs due to automatic integration of delivery schedule

Typical Errors when using the EDIFACT DELFOR Message

Typical problems which appear with exchanging the planning schedules come from wrong or unknown master data. In case an EDIFACT DELFOR message is not expected in the supplier’s ERP system this will result in an issue that needs manual correction:

  • New parts are requested where the part identification is not available in the supplier’s ERP system
  • Latest dock or gate codes are used on the customer side but have not been added in supplier’s ERP

Ensure stable use of EDIFACT Delivery Forecasts

When you look into replacing your legacy EDI solution with latest and greatest technology, you should evaluate your options how to operate in a cost effective way. SEEBURGER provides you all options booking it as an EDI Cloud Service in the SEEBURGER Cloud or in public cloud environments like the ones from Google, Azure, AWS etc. as well as an on-premises software solution.

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