Why Your Automotive Supply Chain Needs an OFTP2 Connection

Supply chains have evolved rapidly in the last few decades. Network services are ever looking for security enhancements and more reliable platforms. 

This is a natural outcome of globalisation, however, it gave rise to a need for a way to share information safely over the public internet – something that wasn’t as much of a priority back in 1986. 

Enter OFTP2.

An advanced version of OFTP, this protocol is now the most widely used exchange method of mission-critical automotive data over the internet. But why is this protocol so essential for the automotive industry? What benefits does it have over its peers? 

In this article, we’re going to answer these questions and explore how OFTP2 can be best implemented by businesses in the automotive space.

Why automotive supply chains need OFTP2

Most leading OEMs today use OFTP2 (BMW, Daimler, Hyundai, Volkswagen and Audi), as do most prominent Tier-1 suppliers. For any automotive business, especially one seeking to enter the European space, the OFTP2 protocol offers multiple benefits. 

Enhanced security 

The internet lets you transfer files faster and in higher volumes than any other medium of exchange. Security isn’t always a guarantee, however, especially for international transfers, which is why many trading partners hesitate to send critical files like business documents and invoices online. 

The OFTP2 protocol was designed specifically to enable secure file transfer at high speeds over the internet. In addition to session encryption (SSL/TLS), OFTP2 offers:

  • File encryption and signing.
  • Secure bidirectional authentication response.
  • An integrated compression method.
  • Signed end-to-end responses.
  • File addressing (i.e. target and originator IDs to show who the file is being transferred to and from whom).

Plus, an OFTP2 connection is network-agnostic, so it enables secure data sharing over any IP network (including public internet). The result? Streamlined and secure data exchange with trading partners anywhere.

Efficient data transfers 

There’s a lot of data being transmitted globally in the automotive space, which is one of the reasons why so many businesses opt for the ease and efficiency of EDI. With OFTP2, the capacities are especially high, with files able to be up to 9 petabytes large

The caveat, however, is that one has to be prepared for the possibility of the transmission getting interrupted midway. OFTP2 comes with checkpoint restarts to combat this – if there’s a connection interruption, the transfer resumes where it left off once the connection is restored. Moreover, bidirectional communication means that both endpoints can send and receive data during the same session and check on the status of the file at either end.

The automotive supply chain is a complex one, with multiple moving parts and frequent exchanges of sensitive data. With OFTP2, these exchanges can happen with minimal delays, ensuring that each moving part is always in sync. 

Suggested reading: Want to learn more? How about checking out our guide about how to best optimise your automotive supply chain.

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One-of-a-kind capabilities

Among the several excellent EDI protocols on the market, OFTP2 comes with features that are entirely unique to it. These include:

  • The ability to detect and correct errors using mechanisms such as a cyclic redundancy check (CRC).
  • The ability to negotiate and accept different file sizes and types.
  • The ability to acknowledge the receipt of data.

In other words, the versatility and data compatibility you get with OFTP2 is hard to beat.

Pro tip: OFTP2 has backward compatibility with OFTP. So in case your trading partners haven’t made the shift yet, you can still exchange information with ease. 

Cost-effectiveness

EDI, despite its many benefits, can quickly rack up costs if not utilised to its full potential. 

This can be a deterrent for many automotive brands, particularly in the volatile post-Covid environment where companies everywhere are tightening budgets. OFTP2 serves as a multi-functional, cost-efficient answer to this. Here’s how:

  • OFTP2 has the capacity to transfer both technical and commercial data. Why does this matter? Because automotive businesses are handling data exchanges on multiple fronts every day – with OFTP2, they can manage it all through a single protocol. 
  • Implementing it is easy. When you work with an Odette expert like Data Interchange, all you need is an Odette ID and a digital certificate from an Odette TSL-listed Certification Authority. The usage fees aren’t high either.
  • OFTP2 is designed to work in a fully unmoderated environment. This means businesses don’t need separate teams to run it.
  • It operates through the internet. In this day and age, trading partners everywhere already have access to the internet, so setup costs are minimal.

The OFTP2 specification is continually maintained by Odette communication and security experts and is frequently tested for interoperability with other Odette software. 

Adopt OFTP2 seamlessly with Data Interchange

In the modern automotive industry, an OFTP2 connection is a gold standard for handling sensitive information exchange, however it’s essential that the protocol is set up and managed correctly. 

As an Odette trusted provider, Data Interchange can get you up and running with OFTP2 in next to no time. 
Reach out to an expert today and get started with secure data transfer, anytime, anywhere.

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