EDI 846 Inventory Inquiry – Explaining EDI

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What is an EDI 846?

Imagine you are a sunscreen manufacturer and you’ve got an overstock of product in the middle of winter that you’re willing to sell at a discounted rate. You would send an EDI 846 (Inventory Inquiry/Advice) to your buyers/trading partners to notify them of your on-hand inventory. Thus giving them the opportunity to make a special buy and help you off-load extra stock. A win-win for both parties.

EDI 846 documents are also commonly used for e-commerce vendors that utilize a drop ship management model. (Drop shipping is a fulfillment method that entails a store selling a product that is shipped directly from a third party to customers. The store never actually comes in contact with the product.) The third-party suppliers will send an EDI 846 to the store stating what they have on hand and on order.

What does EDI 846 include?

An Inventory Inquiry could include several pieces of data such as:

  • Product item identifiers like UPC needed with quantities listed for each
  • Date of inventory
  • Description of stocked products
  • Products that are currently out-of-stock
  • Products that will be discontinued
  • Vendor numbers

New to EDI? Check out our blog post: What is EDI (Electronic Data Interchange)?

How does the exchange work?

  1. A sunscreen manufacturer transmits an 846 to their trading partner letting the partner know if specific products in overstocked or understocked.
  2. The trading partner sends back a 997 Functional Acknowledgment. As a result, the manufacturer is notified that the 846 was properly received. Based on the scenario, the manufacturer can choose to buy overstocked products or prepare to not receive understocked products.

Why use an EDI 846?

The Inventory Inquiry/Advice is an incredibly effective document for use between trading partners to properly regulate their respective stock of a product. By receiving relevant information on overstocked, out-of-stock, and discontinued products, purchasers can optimize ordering for their warehouses and stores. Therefore, purchasers can also quickly notify their customers when in-demand products will be back online or back on store shelves.

Related Reading: Integrating Transportation Carriers – EDI 200 Series

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