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Subject: Re: Header v. Line

I agree that this is an issue of principle and we should revisit it as new requirements emerge.

Certainly, one of the noticable trends in the development of UBL has been the migration of 'header' (i would rather call it 'document') level components into line level ones.

This is logical and desirable but it should not be based on what we (or others) think software packages can do.  It should be based on the business requirements not perceived implementation issues.  Designing for implementation is a rat hole of lost time.

As Sylvia says, in most cases we need to provide both document-level and line-level options for many components.  'delivery' seems to be a case in point. UBL must provide both because there are cases where documents may have no lines.  And so we must leave it up to specific implementations to decide how they want to deal with this.

Personally, I think the practial (but not perfect) solution is to state in our business rules that where information appears at document-level it can be assumed as defaults for all lines unless otherwise stated.

PS. we should try to get these threads onto the UBL Procurement SC list.  I know Mark has problems posting so i will copy the list with this response.

Sylvia Webb wrote:
Header v. Line
You bring up an issue that has had much discussion within UBL with no clear cut answers.  I have hands on experience with ERP systems for small businesses as well as those from SAP and Oracle.  It never ceases to amaze me when I hear about systems that do not support delivery information at both the header and detail level, especially those for small and medium size businesses. 
One of the fundamental principals of UBL uses the 80/20 rule of designing the standard such that it meets 80 percent of the requirements for e-documents with the other 20 percent being accommodated with customization. Another principal is that we (the UBL development community) strive not to develop standards that become too complex and expensive for small and medium size businesses to use. This presents challenges that must be revisited from time to time.
I will add this to our action item list for discussion.   
From: Mark Leitch [mailto:ml@tritorr.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 06, 2005 12:05 PM
To: Tim McGrath; Sylvia Webb; Peter Larsen Borresen
Cc: Tim Benson
Subject: Header v. Line

I have started to look at the UBL spreadsheets and the issues list.  I think we have a very fundamental issue with this Header/Line thing and active consultation of the ERP vendors may help.

As you know, there are certain items that I argue can only usefully be expressed at Line level and not Header; Delivery is one of these.  I believe that even if the user of, say, the purchasing system wants all ten Lines of a PO delivered to the same address and is able to enter that in the PO or Requisition Header in the system, the system usually will (and should) ‘copy’ this information into all of the Lines and express it at Line level in the message.  This allows the Seller, if required, to split the PO into separate delivery Lines (or Invoicing Lines for that matter) without losing the specific delivery details.

Same argument applies on the Seller side with the Order Response Simple.  It breaks the whole logic of the messages’ facilitating an automated process.

I don’t think that this issue fits neatly into the issues list, but we must address and resolve it.


Mark Leitch
Director - Tritorr Ltd
Tel.:   +44 1932 821112
Cell.:  +44 7881 822999
Mail:   ml@tritorr.com
Site:   www.tritorr.com

tim mcgrath
phone: +618 93352228  
postal: po box 1289   fremantle    western australia 6160

DOCUMENT ENGINEERING: Analyzing and Designing Documents for Business Informatics and Web Services

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