Improving EDI 852 On Hand Data for Useful Inventory Reporting

Nearly all EDI 852 files report activity of SKUs or UPC’s.  While this probably seems like an obvious statement, it does create some work to create a data set which is suitable for good inventory on hand reporting.

EDI 852 activity based reporting means that a SKU which is on hand, but which did not have a sale or return in a given week, will not be reported in the EDI 852 file because there is no ‘activity’ to report.  Without some work on the data this creates null on hand records which impact the ability to do good out of stock and inventory exception reporting.

For example, a SKU might have 100 units on hand but not sell for a two week period and so the current week on hand will be null.  To improve upon the data one must carry forward the last known on hand value that was reported in the EDI 852 so that each SKU has an on hand.

The downside to this approach is that your database will grow in volume over time, and so it is also necessary to put one or more rules in place to decide when on hand for an item will no longer be carried forward.  This can be accomplished using the SKU status – for example do not carry forward the on hand for an item when it changes from ‘active’ to ‘inactive’; or you can create a rule to discontinue the on hand carry forward automatically after some number of weeks with no activity reported in the EDI 852.

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Our team has implemented these types of rules to improve upon the EDI 852 for Home Depot, Macy’s and a number of other retailers and it has greatly improved our ability to produce accurate and useful inventory out of stock and exceptions reports.