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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.

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.

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.

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.

Suppliers to Retail Trading Partners





GS1-128 or UCC-128

While labels aren’t actually EDI documents, they are such an important part of the process we’re including them here. Labels are typically 4″ x 6”, can be automatically generated in Lingo, and affixed to the outside of each carton or pallet. In addition to standard information (Supplier address, Trading Partner address, etc.), these labels have barcodes to route the shipment through the supply chain. The barcode will match the information in the ASN and is used by the Trading Partner to add your merchandise to their inventory.

Request For Routing


This is the form suppliers use to request routing information from the retailer. Exciting — it means more products are going out the door.

Because you need to get paid and that won’t happen without a bill. The Invoice (810) is just that — an invoice — only it’s in an electronic format. A fun one to send since it means money should be coming in. Grocery stores use the 880.



The EDI 832 is a catalog of product information and prices. Not a big paper one, of course, but a digital version with all the information one might find in an old-school catalog, like minimum order quantities, case-pack quantities, contact information, etc.

Inventory Update


The Item Inventory Inquiry/Advice, this document lets suppliers communicate inventory levels. Sometimes this form will be sent a few times a day, a few times a week, or it may only be needed if you are adding or removing items from your inventory. The information in it can include inventory amounts, committed inventory, inventory that is currently in transit, what’s on backorder, products that are temporarily or permanently out of stock, and returns information.

The PO Acknowledgement. This is how you tell the trading partner, “Hey, I got your PO.” You don’t have to tell them you’re doing your Happy Dance — you’re a professional business person, after all — but this form will indicate if you accept the PO, reject the PO, or accept the PO with changes.

The 856 is the Advance Shipping Notice, also referred to as the ASN or simply as The Shipment. There is a lot in this form — order information, carton serial numbers, types of packaging used, carrier information and more.

Purchase Order Change/Request Acknowledgement


Informs your Trading Partner that you have received and accept a change to the Purchase Order. Or that you have received the Purchase Order Change but do not accept it. After all, the document is generated by EDI — but it’s still your business.

Order Status Report


The Order Status Report. Also known as the moment when you tell the retailer, “Hey, here’s what’s going on with that order.” It’s often sent in response to an 869, which retailers may use to request — no surprise here — an update on the status of an order.

An automated document that lets 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.

So there you have it. Your handy guide to the most commonly used EDI documents. The good news? If you choose the right EDI provider, you’ll have an expert on your side.

Looking for a document you don’t see on this list? Don’t worry — we’ll know it. Fill out the form below with any questions and we’ll talk.

It automates. It validates. It integrates.

You have clients and technology partners who demand you work a very specific way. Their way.

Our software understands that. You see, Lingo is not only powerful, it’s adaptable. Let’s call it software without an ego.

Whether you choose to use our portal, your own API, or an ERP from another technology partner, Lingo knows how to get along with all of them. Including a few that aren’t exactly known for being friendly.

EDI Integrations

If you work with them, so can we.