RFI Browser


Formal vs. Informal Help Informal Formal


Todd Cochrane


Your specific request for interpretation is: I need to know how DISA interprets suppress leading (and) trailing zeros .


The behavior of any application is beyond the scope of the standard. This interpretation only deals with the contents of a data stream that is compliant with the X12 standards. The X12.6 Standard provides specific syntactic constraints on values of type Decimal Number , or type R . Among these are rules for suppression of leading and trailing zeroes: Decimal Number Leading zeros should be suppressed unless necessary to satisfy a minimum length requirement. Trailing zeros following the decimal point should be suppressed unless necessary to indicate precision. The x12.6 Standard makes a clear distinction between the absence of data and the presence of data in an instance of an element within a transaction: 3.7.3 Absence of Data Absence of data is represented by the value . Any value other than is an indication that data are present. Segment SER field 03 (or SER03) references Data Element 782 Monetary Amount, which is of Type R and has minimum length 1 and maximum length 15 . A syntax note constraint on segment SER states that at least one of SER03 and SER04 is required. Your request for interpretation indicates that you have data, specifically a value of zero, that you wish to transmit in the SER03 element. Therefore, according to the cited sections of the standard, since you have data present a single zero in the data stream would be compliant. Both the minimum length restriction and the fact that you have a data value of zero prohibit suppressing the element to become a zero length empty element. On the other hand, suppressing all zeroes in this element would indicate that you have no data to transmit in SER03, and that therefore in order to satisfy the relational condition you would have data to transmit in SER04 (which could also be a zero). A contrary interpretation would hold that it is valid to totally suppress the zero from the data stream. This would have the extreme effect of declaring noncompliant any element that contains only a zero. Clearly, this would not support business cases where a zero has semantic value, such as indicating that a container should be held at temperature of zero degrees. In summary, our interpretation is that a zero in the SER03 element is compliant with the standards.


The official response to a formal RFI is a letter from the current ASC X12 chair. This website often displays a summary of the RFI. Click here to view a PDF of the letter for this RFI.
Submission 1/1/2002
Status Date 1/1/2002
Status F - Final
Primary References
Document 4010