An Introduction to OFTP2 (Odette File Transfer Protocol)

EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) technology has soared in the supply chain industry and the global market is estimated to be worth around £4 billion by 2029.1 Choosing an EDI protocol is one of the most important decisions you will make for your business, as it’s determined by the sector and its mandated standards. To succeed in your sector, you have to adopt and implement the right protocol to seamlessly fit into supply chains. One of the many protocols you could opt for is OFTP2, the second iteration of the Odette File Transfer Protocol. 

This blog is going to outline everything there is to know about OFTP2 and how it can benefit your organisation. So, without much further ado, let’s dive in! 

Suggested reading: You can learn more about how the right EDI protocol can drive success for your organisation in our eBook, The Supply Chain Centred Business.

What is OFTP?

OFTP is a file transfer protocol that was developed as a standard communication platform for the European automotive industry. It was created in 1986 and was designed in the spirit of the Open System Interconnection (OSI) model, utilising the Network Service provided by the CCITT X.25 network recommendation.

When using OFTP, data transfers are conducted from server to server without the need for human intervention. 

What is OFTP2?

Data Interchange were on the working group for — and helped design — the more advanced version of OFTP (OFTP2) to address network-based threats and make the most of the speed and affordability of the internet. This updated version of the OFTP file transfer protocol offers enhanced security and compression features over its predecessor. 

Big users of OFTP/OFTP2 

  • Ford
  • Volvo
  • BMW
  • Peugeot
  • Bosch

Suggested reading: The top automotives manufacturers in Europe rely on OFTP and OFTP2. You can learn more about the advantages of EDI for the automotive industry in this blog.

Why use OFTP2?

OFTP2 offers a host of benefits that make it an ideal choice for businesses looking to conduct efficient, secure file and data transfers with all their trading partners. We will discuss some of the key advantages of using the OFTP2 file transfer protocol below. 

Enhanced data integrity and security

Data transfers are supported by digitally signed electronic delivery receipts which require a digital signature. This ensures that the exchange of EDI data is secure and there is no confusion when sending and receiving invoices. This is especially important as the majority of businesses now process transactions globally. 

SSL data encryption

The OFTP2 connection also offers enhanced security thanks to SSL file encryption. This encrypts data in motion and protects it from network security threats such as Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and Man-in-the-middle attacks (MITM).

Digital certificates and file encryption further protect sensitive data and strong authentication by ensuring you’re only interacting with the real trading partner.

Suggested reading: Check out our blog, EDI Made Simple for the Automotive Industry, to find out how standardised processes can revolutionise the sector.

Increased productivity and efficiency

Implementing the OFTP2 file transfer protocol can have a dramatic impact on business efficiency and productivity. Let’s look at three ways OFTP2 can save your business valuable time and effort…

  1. Faster data transmission: OFTP2 offers file compression and increased internet bandwidths which can result in shorter data transmission times.
  2. Large capacity: The OFTP2 connection is designed to support up to 9PB file sizes, meaning it can transport extremely large CAD, CAM, or CAE drawings.
  3. Uninterrupted transfers: Unlike other file transfer protocols, which have to resend the entire file in the event of a network disruption, OFTP2 can simply resume at the point of disconnection, saving precious time. This is especially crucial when sending files that take several hours to complete.

Lower CAPEX requirements

OFTP2 operates over TCP/IP (The Internet protocol suite) which allows EDI messaging and data to be transferred over the internet. Using an IP-based transfer protocol is a major advantage as most businesses and trading partners already have access to high-speed internet.

This means deploying an OFTP service doesn’t require much capital and data can be transferred rapidly at little extra cost. Its affordability would lead to faster adoption, as trading partners would be more willing to utilise the same file transfer protocol as you if it’s affordable and easy to implement.

High interoperability

The internet is the most efficient way to send data to trading partners but it does have some drawbacks. By relying on internet transmissions, you’re somewhat taking a gamble as you’re relying on connections remaining stable throughout the data transmission.

Unlike a lot of other competitors that require specific access points or servers, OFTP2 is incredibly easy to adopt and therefore is extremely accessible. This means that a supplier in France can easily transact with a trading partner in India, for example. 

Key takeaways:

  • OFTP2 is the updated version of OFTP and offers enhanced security and compression features over the original.
  • OFTP2 offers several business benefits, including improved data security through SSL file encryption and signed electronic delivery receipts.
  • OFTP2 is IP-based and sends data via the internet, which is extremely cost-effective. 
  • OFTP2 can improve efficiency and productivity by ensuring fast data transmission and uninterrupted file transfers. 
  • The EDI OFTP2 file transfer protocol is easy to use and maintain no matter where you are in the world.

How do I adopt OFTP2?

Adopting OFTP2 is a fantastic investment for most small and medium-sized businesses. That said, implementing a new file transfer protocol requires a level of expertise and understanding that you may not have in-house.

Hiring experts is a long and expensive process which is why most businesses decide to outsource this responsibility to third-party specialists. EDI experts will help you get the most out of your investment and ensure that OFTP2 is deployed smoothly. 

Why you should partner with Data Interchange 

Data Interchange designed and built OFTP2, making us ideally placed to support businesses on the path to implementation. 

Our experienced team also offers fully managed EDI services, where the entire process – from implementation to execution – is handled by our experienced EDI professionals. We have decades of EDI experience across multiple industries, meaning we’re the best choice if you want to scale your business with the help of innovative EDI solutions.

Speak to our EDI experts

If you’d like to find out more about how OFTP2 and EDI software can support your business and improve efficiency, reach out to us. We’re always happy to answer any questions!

1  Electronic Data Interchange | Fortune Business Insights 

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