Retailers more and more are requiring their suppliers to set up EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) connections so as to reduce paper waste and increase standardization. Walmart is no different, and the retail giant requires that you follow a very specific process in setting up your connection.
The process may seem arduous and daunting, so let’s see if we can’t break it down to its base components.
How does EDI flow?
The data exchange of EDI can be confusing. Here is the typical life cycle of an order going to Walmart:
- Walmart generates a Purchase Order (850) and sends it to the EDI provider.
- The EDI provider creates a Warehouse Shipping Order (940) that is sent to your warehouse to fulfill the order and ship it to the distribution center.
- The warehouse picks the order and sends the EDI provider a Warehouse Shipping Advice (945) to inform you that the order has been shipped.
- The EDI provider takes the information from the Warehouse Confirmation and creates an Invoice (810) to send to Walmart for remittance.
First, you’ll need to work with your new EDI provider on making sure it can work with Walmart and does all of the required documents. You’ll need to be sure that it can set up an AS2 connection, as this is the file transfer method preferred by Walmart.
Next, you will need to gather the required information and provide them to your EDI provider:
- Your Retail Link credentials
- Whether you ship Prepaid or Collect
- The payment terms from Walmart’s contract, including allowances and discounts
- Your SKU list
- Your retailer vendor ID
- Your contact information for receipt of EDI reports
Working with your warehouse
Then, and this is very important, you’ll need to ensure that your warehouse also does EDI. Otherwise, you won’t be able to set up a proper connection with Walmart, and you’ll have to do some major workarounds. Don’t worry though! The vast majority of warehouses are EDI compliant and have systems in place. Still, double- and triple-check that your warehouse can work with you on EDI.
Of course, you’ll need the warehouse name and warehouse EDI contact information in order to connect to the warehouse. You do not necessarily need to connect to the warehouse via AS2 (although it is preferred), as SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) transfer methods can be acceptable depending on your EDI provider. AS2 is not required for this step, as this is just the connection between you and the warehouse and excludes Walmart.
Armed with this information, your EDI provider will contact the warehouse, obtain the EDI specifications that are unique to the warehouse’s provider, and discover what certificates the warehouse requires.
Connecting and testing
Typically, your EDI provider will then reach out to your warehouse and Walmart with connection details. Next, the provider will ask Walmart for test files to begin building what is referred to as the EDI map. A map is a process of translating the EDI data into a digestible format for other programs, such as SAP or QuickBooks. These formats include XML, JSON, and comma-separated values (CSV).
Walmart requires maps for the following transaction sets:
- 816 – Organizational Relationships
- 850 – Purchase Order
- 810 – Invoice
- 812 – Credit/Debit Adjustment
- 820 – Payment Order/Order Remittance Advice
- 940 – Warehouse Shipping Order
- 945 – Warehouse Shipping Advice
- 997 – Functional Acknowledgment
Quality Assurance and Testing
Once the maps have been created, they will typically go to the EDI provider’s quality assurance team to ensure that the test files can be validated through the maps. Typically, once the maps have been tested, quality assurance will notify the development team that they can send outbound test files to your warehouse and Walmart for approval and sign off.
If changes are made during third-party validation, then those changes will be implemented in the maps before they are sent to the production environment (or “go live”).
Once the maps are ready, they will be moved from the test connection to the active connection. Your EDI provider will notify you of the move, and your EDI documents will be considered “live” once Walmart sends the first order to your EDI provider. From this point onward, you will be sending and receiving EDI documents.
And that’s it! Congratulations on your new EDI connection. You’ll find processes go a lot smoother with EDI and your orders are more accurate.
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