The smartPCN standard defines the record structure for a PCN (including PDN) which is independent of its content, and which enables its exchange and processing with little or no manual intervention. In the past, when a supplier wanted to send a PCN they had to devise their own data format, record structure, and means of exchange. They would create an unstructured text document in PDF format and send this to their customers as an email attachment.
With the introduction of smartPCN, the data format is defined as XML and the record structure is defined in terms of a minimum data set with the option to include extra content. A wide range of open source XML viewers, editors, and plug-ins may be used to look at the smartPCN contents directly or import/export to ERP systems and other tools. A freeware tool, smartPCN Editor, is freely available at: https://smartpcn.pcngenerator.com. By this means it is possible to exchange, process and distribute PCNs using a wide range of information technology (IT) systems and databases.