Taking the complexity out of

EDI documents and transactions

When you start working with EDI for the first time, it won’t be long before you ask, “Hey, what language is this stuff in?” You’ll be facing numbers and names and you’ll feel, well, a little light on the lingo.

It’s true that EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) has all kinds of unique terms, and it can be more than a little overwhelming at the outset. Just remember that every number also has a name that indicates the purpose of the document.

Let’s break down the forms you will see and handle — in a virtual, electronic way. While every retailer is different and requirements vary, these are the documents that are most common.

Retail Trading Partners to Suppliers




Request For Routing Response


These are the final routing instructions, sent to the supplier. Some major retailers — JC Penney and Amazon are two examples — will use this form to communicate final routing information for purchase orders, purchase order overrides, and shipment authorizations. Unique to our Lingo software, our system automatically transfers final routing instructions from the 754 to the 856 (ASN or Advance Shipment Notice).

Credit/Debit Authorization


Sent by retailers to suppliers to update credit or debit status and keep accounts current.

Organizational Document


Sent to suppliers when new locations are added or existing stores move to new addresses. It is also used to provide a complete directory of stores and shipping facilities.

Payment Remittance Advice


Good news! You’re getting paid. The 820 is the Payment Order/Remittance Advice document, and will tell you how much money you can expect and for which invoice.

Planning Schedule


Used primarily by retailers to provide forecasts — ie. we think we’ll need 1000 units in Store X in six months — the 830 helps eliminate supply chain surprises.

Purchase Order


The 850 is a big one — it’s the Purchase Order. In other words, it’s the electronic document that gets the ball rolling. It means you have a sale — hooray for sales — and a seller wants your product or products. The 875 is simply a purchase order format preferred by grocery stores.

Product Activity Data


This is the Product Activity Data form, meaning it provides — wait for it — product activity data from the retailer. It is typically optional — not mandatory— and includes numbers like inventory levels and sales rates that will indicate how your product is moving.

Purchase Order Change


Sent when the retailer wants to revise the original Purchase Order.

Text Document


A function of EDI that works like a text message, except it is strictly an inbound document and travels one way — retailer to supplier.  It is often used  for updates like new store openings or to quickly inform vendors about document errors.

Functional Acknowledgement


A document that is sent automatically, letting the supplier know an EDI transaction, or a group of EDI transactions, was received. You may consider it redundant, like wearing a belt with suspenders, but EDI is all about making sure nothing trips up the supply chain.