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Modernizing supply chain messaging

Published on  17 March by Sean Melia , Product Specialist MRO Messaging
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During its proceedings, the ATA e-Business Program’s “Spec 2000 Procurement Extension Project Team,” better known as “Spec 2.0,” discussed several potential changes to Spec 2000 that could have immediate benefit to the community if approved and published.

Some of these changes have been discussed many times over the years by various committees, but the cost-to-implement always appeared to outweigh the potential benefits.

Times have changed and we seem to have hit a tipping point. Our surveys revealed that too many Spec users have been forced to “dumb down” their modern systems in order to remain compliant with legacy rules.

So, in advance of producing new supply chain schemas (the group’s ultimate mandate), we decided to recommend certain specific improvements for immediate use. I am happy to report on behalf of the team that these changes were accepted by the governing body and have now been published.

What are we changing?

The published changes reflect current business practices and will free users to better leverage the capabilities of modern ERP systems.

Specifically, these enhancements relate to the makeup and length of:

  • Aircraft registration number (ACN)
  • Invoice number (INV)
  • Part number and its “cousins” (OMP, PNO, PNR, SPN)
  • The addition of the “Do Not Substitute Indicator” (DNS)

For complete details please consult the latest version of the ATA E-Business Specification for Materials Management - Revision 2014.1. (This single publication includes what we used to refer to as the “Spec 2000 Main Document” and the Common Support Data Dictionary, or CSDD).

Highlights are as follows – but these are just highlights so please use with caution and “always consult the owner’s manual”!

  • ACN - increased the maximum field length
  • INV - increased the maximum field length
  • PNR (and OMP, PNO, SPN) – increased the maximum field and eased the restrictions on so-called “special characters”. The CSDD also makes “recommendations” regarding PNR makeup that relate to backwards compatibility so these should be noted and kept in mind when implementing. (The slash “/” and asterisk “*” are still not permitted as these are too commonly used as delimiters in EDI messages)
  • DNS – used on customer purchase orders to indicate that the customer does not want the supplier to provide an alternate part number. This is intended to preclude the automatic substitution of part numbers as conveyed in the S1ORDEXC and ATA_SparesOrderExc (Order Exception) message.

What’s next?

The project team still has quite a bit of work to do. Two new schemas have been drafted but need to be finalized.

  • An enhanced purchase order schema that will support many of today’s common business practices, such as multiple line items under one order number
  • An enhanced order status schema to match the richness of the new purchase order schema

Additional schemas for shipping notices and invoices will follow. The team has also been drafting basic rules and concepts that can be published in an enhanced user guide.

Where to learn more

As always, the people at the ATA e-Business Program are available to answer your questions .

If you are not already a member of the LinkedIn “Spec 2000 Interest Group”, but would like to participate, please contact me at

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