OFTP2 in Europe and Why Your Business Must Support More Advanced Protocols

OFTP and the Automotive Industry

Providing support for various advanced protocols is quite simply a necessity to doing business. And while AS2 is one of the most common, especially since Walmart mandated its suppliers to use it to exchange EDI data directly, to connect with companies around the world, OFTP2 has become an increasingly important protocol to global businesses.

OFTP (Odette File Transfer Protocol) is the most common protocol used in Europe and was originally formed by ODETTE International, a company created by the European automotive industry. OFTP securely exchanges EDI data and was originally designed for use over an X.25 network. Historically, OFTP worked over ISDN networks (especially popular in Europe), but with the release of OFTP2, it has migrated to deliver communications over the internet.

OFTP2 is used by most automotive companies with a global presence, including Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, Hyundai, and Opel, along with most large suppliers. Automotive giants Volkswagen and Volvo have even mandated that trading partners use OFTP2 to do business with them. And since cars are manufactured, assembled, and designed in different countries all over the world, anyone doing business with these companies must support the protocol.

But while the auto industry might be the driving force (pun slightly intended) behind OFTP2, it is not the only industry that uses it for digital data communications and EDI. Given OFTP2’s enhanced security via encryption and digital certificates and its faster transmission speeds, organizations in government, customs, finance, retail, transportation, engineering, and manufacturing also leverage the protocol to trade data.

ECS International is a Cleo partner and reseller in Europe and is one of the most active in the market. The Netherlands-based distributor and technology company has many larger OFTP2 customers, but that protocol isn’t the only reason these companies keep choosing Cleo, according to Ben Rinkel, managing director at ECS.

“Cleo provides over 20 protocols in its software, so customers are not limited by an OFTP2 solution only,” Rinkel said. “Customers can use the Cleo technology for other parts of their business as well, such as logistics, not to mention other customers outside the automotive industry, like banks, insurance, and government.”

So, the question has changed from, “Should I support OFTP and OFTP2?” (hint: you should) to “How do I support them?”

Deploying solutions for B2B and managed file transfer (MFT) that are Odette-certified for OFTP2 mean your business can safely and reliably interact with other software packages so you can securely exchange your data. Leading solutions also include file compression and checkpoint restart, so companies can more easily transmit large volumes of data via OFTP2.

OFTP2 is just one in a long list of protocol options for organizations looking to connect and exchange data with trading partners, wherever they might be located. A vendor’s commitment to certification further enables companies ranging from automotive to government to transportation to take on new customers and grow their businesses. Standardizing data communications helps these organizations and so many more deliver the B2B and MFT processes required to do more business faster.