Go beyond 3PL EDI solutions with SPS for 3PLs

One connection to the SPS network allows you to standardize and automate the exchange of item, inventory, order and shipment data with your customers — whether they use EDI, APIs, spreadsheets or portals. We handle the details so you get more time back in your day. Connect with your customers quickly and easily using SPS for 3PLs.

What is 3PL EDI?

3PL EDI (third-party logistics electronic data interchange) is one of many technologies logistics companies use to collaborate with their customers and retailers. With a 3PL EDI integration, 3PLs can send information digitally to another company using a standardized format.

By employing EDI, 3PLs can see benefits like:


Fewer manual processes


Improved data accuracy


Deeper insight into operations


Faster processing times


Cost savings


Increased efficiencies

What are the 3PL EDI transactions?

Each EDI document has a unique number that differentiates it from the others. Documents that 3PLs are most likely to utilize include:

3PL EDI Integration
EDI 846—Inventory Inquiry/Advice

An inventory inquiry is used by retailers to inquire about a customer’s inventory levels. It is most commonly used in eCommerce and drop-shipping.

EDI 856—Advance Ship Notice

The advance ship notice (ASN) is a time-sensitive document that provides detailed information about a pending delivery of goods to a retailer. It describes the shipment’s contents, carrier information, size, ship date and estimated delivery date. A 3PL will often send the ASN on their customers’ behalf.

EDI 940—Warehouse Shipping Order
Customers send this order to a 3PL to authorize a shipment to a retailer, grocer or distributor, or to a customer’s secondary location.
EDI 943—Warehouse Stock Transfer Shipment Advice
This document is used to notify a 3PL that their customer is making a transfer shipment to a remote warehouse or to authorize the warehouse to accept a return from a retail customer.
EDI 944—Warehouse Stock Transfer Receipt Advice
This document notifies a manufacturer that a transfer shipment has been received. It also provides a retailer with the information needed to correctly record and modify their product inventory levels at a public warehouse. The EDI 944 can also report overages and shortages of a product, indicate whether the product is damaged and give a specific product status.
EDI 945—Warehouse Shipping Advice
A 3PL sends this document to notify a customer of a completed shipment. It provides the information needed for the customer to reconcile the quantity shipped against the quantity ordered, create an invoice and generate an ASN.
EDI 947—Warehouse Inventory Adjustment Advice
A 3PL uses this document to notify parties of a change in inventory position, quantity and status—usually after a physical inventory takes place. 

Can’t find your EDI doc here? Go to our full list of EDI transactions

Why are 3PL EDI integrations so difficult?

3PL EDI integrations can be difficult for a number of reasons. Here are a few of the primary challenges.

Data is not standardized

Because each customer has their own unique business processes, data is delivered to 3PLs in multiple formats with no standardization. This leaves 3PLs with the task of receiving and translating all that data, working through a variety of portals, APIs, spreadsheets, EDI services and other methods.

Unique shipping requirements

Each customer of a 3PL has their own customers with unique requirements and expectations around packing, labeling and shipping. The time, resources and effort it takes to keep up with these requirements leaves little room for 3PLs to focus elsewhere.

Lack of time and resources

3PLs are often smaller companies that don’t have the resources to undertake a huge IT project on their own. In the logistics industry, labor is increasingly hard to come by and most 3PLs don’t have the bandwidth to dedicate resources to lengthy IT projects. This results in a lot of back and forth between the 3PL and their customers, trying to determine the best configurations for data-sharing and how to test them.

Introducing SPS for 3PLs—the industry’s most complete 3PL solution

SPS Commerce takes the complexity out of 3PL EDI integrations. We help you improve efficiency with a single system and process for all your customers and channels.

Full-service EDI from SPS provides the technology, staffing and expertise to manage EDI on your behalf. With SPS for 3PLs, you can:


Connect once through the SPS network to easily access order, label and shipping information


Simplify and accelerate how you work with your customers and their retail


Onboard your customers quickly and accurately partners


Receive formatted data automatically in your operating system (WMS, ERP, etc.)


Manage everything in one place

Ready to see how we connect you with all your customers in one place? Contact our Sales team now