What is an EDI 846?
EDI 846, also known as an Inventory Inquiry/Advice, is an EDI transaction used by both buyers and sellers to provide updates regarding inventory levels. This document is often used in drop ship environments where the retailer controls the eCommerce website, rather than employing a merchant/manufacturer portal or API-based integration.
EDI 846 documents follow the x12 format set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), a not-for-profit organization that regulates EDI formats in the U.S.
What are the Essential Components of EDI 846?
EDI 846 Inventory Inquiry/Advice documents must include several details pertaining to product availability. These include, but are not limited to:
- Inquiry date and time
- Retailer and vendor identification information
- Product identifiers, such as SKUs or UPCs
- Product units of measure
- Inventory quantity data
Additional data included in the response from a supplier include:
- Forecasted restocking dates
- Inventory reporting by location
- Indication of discontinued items
How do I Use EDI 846?
EDI 846 is a bi-directional transaction set, meaning it can be sent by either the buyer or seller. When coming from a retailer, EDI 846 enables a retailer to alert suppliers to current on-shelf stock levels. Most retailers send EDI 846 inquiries on a very frequent basis and may send them daily or even several times throughout the day, so their eCommerce storefront has the most accurate availability possible.
Sellers can send EDI 846 at any time, to let retailers know about available inventory, out of stock or discontinued items as well as forecasted stock availability— such as dates when out-of-stock items will be replenished. EDI 846 is commonly used to update product inventory availability on eCommerce websites, especially those using drop shipping.
What are the Benefits of EDI 846?
EDI 846 is an essential document for both buyers and sellers. For retailers, the document can be used to inquire about the availability of products, which enables them to keep their eCommerce websites up to date. For sellers, EDI 846 enables them to quickly let trading partners know what items they have on hand, and gives insight into stock movements, so they can better manage their ordering processes.
Because EDI 846 can be fully automated, it eliminates the need for retailers to manually reach out to suppliers via email or phone calls, and/or type inventory data into their systems by hand. This not only saves time and streamlines communications for more up-to-date information, but also helps ensure data accuracy.
EDI Format Example
EDI 846 is processed in a “raw” format, meant to be read by machines. The example below shows the raw EDI data, which is usually translated using integrated EDI software into a usable and human-friendly format. Translated EDI documents may look different depending on a business’s unique needs and systems.
- Click to See Example
ISA*00* *00* *12*9622309900 *ZZ*AMAZON * * *U*00401* *0*T*>
TC&*********INVTY ADV OUT