Revision of An UBL Use profile for the European textile, clothing fashion industry at the eBIZ-TCF Conference in Bruxelles from Thu, 2009-10-29 11:37

Information about the advancements of the eBIZ-TCF project comes from the successful conclusion of the large-scale European Conference for a common eLanguage for European Textile Clothing Footwear industry promoted by the project. 

The conference was the occasion to present final results of eBIZ-TCF Project (, a 2-year cooperation project launched in January 2008 by the European Commission to boost e-business processes in the Textile/Clothing and Footwear (TCF) Industries. 

The project consortium is made up by the 3 key partners (EURATEX, CEC, ENEA) authors of the project proposal and, responsible vis-à-vis the EC for the correct project implementation.

 The technical architecture of eBIZ-TCF

eBIZ-TCF creates synergies between the specifications of Moda-ML (Textile clothing manufacturers,, Shoenet (Footwear manufacturers, and UBL (supplying the retail for textile, clothing and footwear) by proposing their adoption along different tiers of two complex supply chains of the fashion industry. 

eBIZ-TCF adopted scenarios and sectorial languages (from past experiences and pre-existing communities) for industry networking in the Textile-Clothing (Moda-ML) and Footwear (Shoenet) domains. This tier is characterised by needs for efficacy, flexibility and small clusters of enterprises with 'customised' relationships.

In parallel for the relationships between suppliers and retail organisation the eBIZ-TCF adopted UBL, with a sectorial specialisation (a subset) jointly with GS1 Party (GLN) and Product (GTIN) identification systems. This tier characterised by needs for efficiency, normalisation (at a first approach) and large numbers of organisations with conventional relationships.

The eBIZ-TCF architecture contains the wider sectorial specialisation of UBL in Europe for the manufacturing industry: a use profile of UBL is enforcing the interoperability architecture for the Textile, Clothing and Footwear sectors of the European industry. 


The Use Profile is defined in terms of

-           reference business scenarios

-           abstract data models for a number of about 17 different document templates

-           relationship with existing EANCOM implementations of the data model (from WWS Profil)

-           development of 15 UBL 2.0 conformant document templates and of 2 UBL 2.0 compatible ones (new templates, have been submitted to OASIS UBL TC, jointly with small remarks on existing document templates)

-           definition of UBL Use Profile rules, expressed by User Guides and corresponding XML Schema (restrictions of UBL 2.0) + Schematron Co-Constraints to implement conditions that Schemas are not supporting.


Furthermore, the following issues were tackled within the architecture report

-           usage of the GS1 coding for party and products

-           product classification methods

-           communication protocols (ebXML based and others)


On-line it has been delivered

-           a data model validation service implementing the restricted automatic validation of XML instances against XML Schema + Schematron


The whole architecture is being experienced in 17 pilots (4 fully concluded at September 2009) involving about 150 organisations from 20 European countries (The pilots participants were selected with a public call on September 2008).


The ratio of the project


In an increasingly complex and fast-changing trade/economic environment, the fashion and footwear industries requires fast time-to-market reaction. 


Standards and agreed reference architectures allow suppliers, manufacturers and retailers to connect their businesses within the value chain. Despite lot of initiatives in the fashion industry, standardisation and widespread adoption by users, were still lacking until eBIZ-TCF. 


The topics of the conference


- Understand how harmonised e-business processes based on affordable technology can offer big operational advantages to small (or large) companies in our industry 

- Hear success stories from individual textile, clothing, footwear and retail SME’s which have implemented the eBIZ pilot system 

- Listen to the EC’s appraisal of this first-of-its-kind project in which our industry pioneered the way for other sectors to follow 


The conference outcomes

Speakers included high-level representatives of the EC (DG Enterprise), the involved industry and retail sectors, ICT providers and standardisation bodies. 


Over 120 participants from 20 countries gathered at the eBIZ-TCF conference on 20-21 October in Brussels presenting the results of the first truly European initiative for e-business harmonisation in the fashion industry. 


The 30 speakers discussed their experience with eBusiness adoption in their Textile, Clothing and Footwear companies or retail operations and IT providers shared challenges and best practises from e-business implementations with customers. Some exemplary representatives of the 150 pilot companies from across Europe which have tested the eBIZ solution as part of the project work, clearly expressed their satisfaction with the results achieved and their intention to extend the eBIZ adoption towards their supply chain partners. 


Points highlighted by both speakers and the audience generally converged on the expected scenario for future e-business roll-out in the European fashion industry supply-chains. It is expected that a critical mass of adopters will soon be reached. This will finally end the “old way” of inefficient fax and phone communications, endless paper processing or repetitive and costly manual data input operators, moving the industry towards fully digitally-integrated supply chains in which data flows quickly and seamlessly between companies’ ERP systems. 


Highlights from both the sectors large companies and SMEs converged also on the major benefits of eBusiness harmonisation such as costs savings, time reduction and the potential for offering new services such as quick replenishment for retailers or individual re-ordering for the final consumer. Mr. Luca Sangiovanni from Gruppo Ermenegildo Zegna remarked its satisfaction about the pilot results which are planned to be estende towards other suppliers. Based on the just-concluded eBIZ testing phase (i.e. eBIZ Pilots), the project team provided early exemplary figures on the potential economic benefit for companies. 


As initiator and financial supporter of the eBIZ-TCF project, the European Commission’s DG Enterprise and Industry, expressed satisfaction with the early results shown. Commenting on the eBIZ pilot actions Françoise Le Bail, the Deputy Director General, observed “many of these actions have substantial multiplier effect as the enterprises involved spread the good news among their own networks” and again “we look forward to a widespread implementation”.  


Upcoming similar projects were announced by the Commission for eBusiness harmonisation in other sectors and for which the fashion industry’s eBIZ-TCF project will set a high benchmark. 


In the remaining months of the project work, the eBIZ project team, will collect comprehensive data on the results achieved by the compagnie involved; develop a hand-on guide for e-business adoption in the fashion

industry and set up a permanent interest group to support the eBIZ adoption in the coming years. In addition information events are planned in a number of European countries such as Bulgaria, Italy and a number of others. 


In his closing remarks Francesco Marchi, Director General of EURATEX, highlighted that “initiatives like eBIZ confirm that the fashion industry is well capable to respond to IT challenges in an effective and business oriented manner” he finally invited the Industry national federations to be ambassadors for eBIZ type of solutions and to guide the member compagnie towards such innovation.  


Details on the official web site: 

 and  in  



Two technical papers are related:

 About eBIZ-TCF in general:


About use profiles of UBL in eBIZ-TCF: 


URL: Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
OASIS sites: OASIS | Cover Pages | | AMQP | CGM Open | eGov | Emergency | IDtrust | LegalXML | Open CSA | OSLC | WS-I