The Importance of the EDI 846 Document

Now more that ever, companies are realizing how valuable the EDI 846 Inventory Inquiry/Advice document is with the ever-increasing need for drop-shipping and e-commerce which requires up-to-the-minute inventory levels. An EDI 846 is the electronic version of a paper inventory update. It is used by trading partners to communicate inventory levels and availability of goods.

Leading retailers such as Amazon, Wal-Mart, Costco, Target, and more require an EDI 846 to be able to feed their e-commerce platform with quality inventory status. It can be sent to business partners as many times as necessary. However, it’s not only e-commerce retailers who can benefit from the EDI 846. Trading partners can use it to exchange inventory availability and stock levels such as:

  • Sellers to provide inventory information to a potential customer
  • Seller’s Representatives to supply the seller with inventory information
  • One seller’s location to give another location inventory information
  • Seller to demand the availability of inventory

Manufacturers and suppliers often use the 846 transaction to notify trading partners of on-hand inventory in various inventory holding locations such as warehouses, outlets, stores, and distribution centers. For example, a manufacturer uses an 846 to advise a trading partner of overstocked inventory available at discounted prices. A typical EDI 846 will contain the following information:

  • Current inventory amount
  • Committed inventory
  • Quantity of the product currently on order
  • Quantity of product on backorder
  • Quantity of inventory in transit
  • Pending returns of the product


Transmitting and Receiving an EDI 846

Transmitting and receiving an EDI 846 is consistent with any other communication within the EDI environment. The transmission is typically completed using the Internet, AS2, or Secure FTP. However, some organizations prefer using a VAN (Value-Added Network) system. To keep costs affordable, most EDI transmissions are done using AS2 or FTP, eliminating the need for an expensive VAN. Files are secure by using encryption to keep data safe.

Once the EDI 846 document is received, it is translated into a functional format. Most companies have their own standard set of definitions for the 846 to configure and translate these documents. Once the EDI 846 is translated, the inventory information can by synced to the internal system of record such as an ERP or shopping cart.


Benefits of an EDI 846

The EDI 846 enables business to streamline the supply chain by eliminating the need to manually enter data into different systems such as shopping carts or ERPs. By implementing the EDI 846 you can streamline your inventory communications efficiently, guaranteeing that inventory will be accurate when trading partners inquire as to the quantity of goods in stock. The automation also keeps the cost of business down as a whole as it frees up resources and reduces human error, eliminating lost sales due to inaccurate inventory levels. Also, suppliers will find the EDI 846 useful as they can quickly communicate inventory levels to their trading partners, eliminating the need to exchange e-mails, faxes, or phone calls.

Every company has unique EDI requirements specific to their unique relationships with their customers. Data Communication Solutions’ (DCS) EDI Specialists can ensure you are fully taking advantage of the EDI 846, maximizing the benefits to gain full competitive advantage.  Contact us for a no-cost assessment today!


Data Communication Solutions

Since 1991, our team of experienced and knowledgeable EDI specialists has been providing services such as development, managed services, support and training for a variety of EDI systems and industries. Check out our list of clients to see the hundreds of companies we’ve worked with and consider reading some of our case studies to learn how we help organizations find the best EDI solutions.