An EDI 846 is an electronic version of a paper inventory update. It is most commonly used by retailers to inquire about a supplier’s inventory levels and for suppliers to advise on the number of units they have on hand. This document also informs the retailer what inventory will be available in the future. An EDI 846 can be sent by suppliers at different frequencies, ranging from multiple times a day to a few times a week. The Inventory Inquiry/Advice is most commonly used in e-commerce order fulfillment, specifically for dropshipping.
Many of these are dependent on how automated and integrated the transaction is for both parties.
- Retailers can better plan warehouse and store ordering
- Reduces manual processes and human error for all trading partners
- Allows both suppliers and retailers to better manage e-commerce dropshipping
- Communicates to the retailer when the item will be available again if out of stock
- Enables the supplier to advise when product is out of stock or no longer being made
- Supports to ability for retailers to order non-stock items/special orders from suppliers
- Enables retailers to manage details on their website such as item out of stock, quantity available, or remove the item from the website
EDI 846 Inventory Feed
- Inventory date
- Identifying number
- Product item identifiers/services such as UPC/EAN/GTIN needed with their respective quantities
- Vendor number
- Discontinued products
- Supplier warehouse locations with on-hand amounts by item
- Item description
- Out of stock items and restock dates
- Accuracy: Some companies don’t have an accurate inventory system, or their stock status is not properly maintained. This can be a significant challenge since the EDI 846 requires accurate inventory information.
- Timeliness: Retailers have different requirements for suppliers sending the EDI 846 document. Its important to respond quickly. Often the EDI 846 must be sent every day or multiple times a day.