EDI 852: Important Fundamentals of the Product Activity Report

by | Apr 15, 2021 | Compliance, Retailers, Suppliers

For success in retail, it’s important to know how much inventory you have, how much you’ve sold and what products to bring forward next. This information can help you manage marketing dollars, improve sell-through, avoid overstocks and sidestep stockouts.

The EDI 852 Product Activity Report is a great way to help examine what is selling via point-of-sale (POS) data. It is also a valuable tool to track inventory. This document fosters collaboration between buyers (retailers and distributors) and sellers (vendors and suppliers). Through this collaboration, both parties can jointly improve sales and profits. 

Want more detailed specs on the EDI 852? Check out our handy EDI guide.

What is the EDI 852 Product Activity Report?

Buyers use the EDI 852 document to share inventory and sales information by location to sellers. Its four primary uses are:

  • Retailers report sales, what is on order, returns, in transit and inventory levels by location to suppliers.
  • Retailers report sales to suppliers so suppliers can replenish inventory or create a suggested order to the retailer for Vendor Managed Inventory processes.
  • Retailers report sales to suppliers to prepare for the supplier invoicing the retailer in a scan-based trading relationship.
  • Some distributors report what was sold to the supplier or manufacturer or transferred to another reseller (retailer), or sent to a joint business customer or end user.

EDI 852 data is among the most critical information a supplier can receive from a retailer. It allows suppliers to learn:

  • When to start planning to make more products
  • When it’s (nearly) time to ship new products
  • Current stock levels in retailers’ stores
  • Status of re-orders
  • Any standout stores or stores experiencing a sales slump

How does the EDI 852 benefit buyers and sellers?

The Product Activity Report enables buyers and sellers to collaborate for shared success. Its advantages include:

Boost sales with better forecasting

Suppliers can use the data in the EDI 852 to sharpen their sales forecasts, and compare the sales history of specific products to prior periods. With better visibility into sales trends, suppliers and retailers can align on forecasts and increase sales by reacting quickly to changing consumer demand.

Reduce inventory risks

With EDI 852 information, suppliers gain better sales and inventory visibility, so they can ship items earlier to eliminate out-of-stocks for particular styles or locations. They can also increase production to support sales trends of a fast-selling item to help avoid stockouts. Similarly, the EDI can help prevent overstock situations with information on sell-through for particular locations.

Boost operating margins

Both retailers and suppliers can boost margins by ensuring the latest products with the highest margins are sold each season. By having the right quantity and the right assortment in each location, businesses can prevent markdowns and protect their margins.

Form more strategic trading partnerships

Collaborating with sales and inventory information creates a win-win scenario for retailers and suppliers. Suppliers can proactively advise retailers about their product performance so both parties can maximize sell-through opportunities and strengthen inventory decisions.

How can businesses avoid EDI 852 issues?

The EDI 852 is a complex and lengthy document. Analyzing the data is difficult, even for suppliers working with one retailer. Collecting and normalizing this data for multiple retailers is extremely time-consuming. Also, poor data quality, such as inaccurate inventory levels, can make it difficult to rely on the data to make decisions.

SPS Commerce handles all the details of normalizing and distributing cleansed EDI 852 data to buyers and suppliers. Our Analytics solution makes it easy for retailers and suppliers to collaborate around a common data set to jointly improve sales and margin.

Want to learn more about the EDI 852?

The EDI 852 can provide key insights into inventory and sales trends. If you would like more details about the EDI 852 Product Activity Report,  contact an EDI expert at SPS Commerce today.

For more insight into common EDI documents and transactions, check out our posts about EDI 850 purchase orders and EDI 856 advance shipping notices.

Scott Bolduc