Understanding EDI

This guide summarizes how EDI processes integrate with aACE. It is intended for advanced users.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is an encrypted, computer-to-computer document exchange. Traditionally, business transactions such as shipping notices, payment documents, invoices, and purchase orders have been recorded on paper. However, transmitting information on paper can result in security issues and mistakes. EDI enables businesses to share and process information without paper.

Your aACE system includes the infrastructure needed to conduct EDI transactions. You must first select an EDI provider and verify that your integration is set up properly. Then you can use these transactions to transfer documents with trading partners who are also set up to use EDI.

Standard EDI Workflow

An EDI transaction typically involves the following steps, centered on industry-standard XML documents. Some trading partners might not require all these XML documents. These documents contain a host of data marked up for the software to use in generating orders, shipments, invoices, etc. They are typically referred to by their document number.

The following sequence describes automatic document exchanges; however, depending on your system configuration, certain steps may need to be handled manually (see below).

850 — Trading Partner Purchase Order 

Your trading partners generate purchase orders. Your EDI provider gathers these POs into an FTP account. aACE periodically queries that FTP account and downloads each relevant 850 XML file.

aACE draws data from the 850, including info for the fulfillment process, and uses the information to generate an order record. 

While an order is Pending, you may be able to make small changes it (e.g. updating unit prices or changing quantities to account for backorders). This is dependent on what the relevant trading partner allows. You cannot add or delete order items because changes of this nature can break the data link needed for the rest of the workflow.

855 — PO Acknowledgement

When an order moves to Open status, aACE generates and uploads the 855 back to your EDI provider's FTP account. 

This document confirms to the trading partner that their PO is being processed and conveys any changes you have made to the order. It may be time-sensitive.

856 — Advanced Shipping Notification (ASN)

When an order's shipment moves to Shipped status, aACE generates and sends an 856 to the FTP site. The 856 often conveys detailed shipping data (e.g. weights, measurements, case info, pack info, lading info, tracking numbers, etc).

810 — Invoice

When an order's invoice moves to Open status, aACE generates and sends an 810 to the FTP site.

Alternate Manual Workflow

The initial 850 XML document contains extensive data. This information is used for various aACE records and subsequent XML documents. aACE needs to establish a link to that initial  data in order to ensures that subsequent records will have the necessary info. When aACE downloads and processes the 850, it establishes that link correctly.

When there are difficulties with an order, a user can manually create an aACE order and manually key in documents on the EDI provider's web interface. However when this is done, the data link is not established. This means the 855, 856, and 810 must also be manually keyed in at the EDI provider's web portal. This constraint applies even if your system is configured to conduct the EDI workflow automatically for other orders.