A Five-Step Guide to 3PL EDI

A Guide to 3PL EDI

As you know, third-party logistics providers (3PLs) are often called upon to help businesses enter new retail channels Keeping up with customer demand with a lean team is hard. Automation makes it easier. EDI for 3PLs improves and speeds up order management for customers and their logistics partners. This guide offers resources to understand the benefits of EDI for a 3PL and the types of 3PL EDI documents.

As you know, third-party logistics providers (3PLs) are often called upon to help businesses enter new retail channels Keeping up with customer demand with a lean team is hard. Automation makes it easier. EDI for 3PLs improves and speeds up order management for customers and their logistics partners. This guide offers resources to understand the benefits of EDI for a 3PL and the types of 3PL EDI documents.

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Secure advanced lead times

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Wipe out data entry errors

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Optimize staffing

Step One: Demystifying 3PL EDI Documents

EDI isn’t a new language, it’s simply digitizing business documents to make them more transferable to other businesses and faster to send. Here is a list of the common EDI documents that 3PLs will either send or receive with their customers and/or trading partners:

Demystifying 3PL EDI Documents

EDI isn’t a new language, it’s simply digitizing business documents to make them more transferable to other businesses and faster to send. Here is a list of the common EDI documents that 3PLs will either send or receive with their customers and/or trading partners:

Inventory Advice/Inquiry - EDI 846

The EDI 846 is used by retailers to inquire about a customer’s inventory levels and for customers to advise them on the number of on-hand units. The Inventory Inquiry/Advice is most commonly used in e-commerce and drop shipping.

Advance Ship Notice (ASN) - EDI 856

The 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 customer’s behalf.

Warehouse Shipping Order - EDI 940

Customers send this order to a 3PL to authorize a shipment to a retailer, grocer or distributor, or to a customer’s secondary location.

Warehouse Stock Transfer Shipping Advice - EDI 943

An EDI 943 is used by a customer to notify their 3PL that the customer is making a transfer shipment to their warehouse or to authorize the warehouse to accept a return from a retail customer.

Warehouse Stock Transfer Receipt Advice - EDI 944

This advice provides a retailer with information 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, whether the product is damaged product and specific product status.

Warehouse Shipping Advice - EDI 945

A 3PL sends this advice 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.

Warehouse Inventory Adjustment Advice - EDI 947

A 3PL uses this document to notify parties of a change in inventory position, quantity and status, usually after a physical inventory takes place.

Step Two: Understand How EDI Orders Flow

EDI eliminates the need for emails, phone calls, faxes and texts between businesses for greater speed and accuracy. There are many steps that are automated with EDI, and it can appear complex. But the good news is that the experts and technology at SPS are here to manage it all on your behalf! It’s our full-service commitment.

Understand How EDI Orders Flow

EDI eliminates the need for emails, phone calls, faxes and texts between businesses for greater speed and accuracy. There are many steps that are automated with EDI, and it can appear complex. But the good news is that the experts and technology at SPS are here to manage it all on your behalf! It’s our full-service commitment.

EDI for 3PLs

Step Three: See How 3PL EDI Benefits You

EDI provides the foundation for 3PLs to automate order processing and inventory management. This helps their business scale and thrive. It’s worth noting that more and more retailers and suppliers are asking all of their logistics and trading partners to be EDI capable. It’s for good reason. 3PL EDI integration is proven to streamline workflows within an organization, improve trading relationships and enhance supply chain predictability. And our 3PL partners often participate in our lead-sharing program.

View the video to hear from Ruby Has about their EDI experience with SPS:

See How 3PL EDI Benefits You

EDI provides the foundation for 3PLs to automate order processing and inventory management. This helps their business scale and thrive. It’s worth noting that more and more retailers and suppliers are asking all of their logistics and trading partners to be EDI capable. It’s for good reason. 3PL EDI integration is proven to streamline workflows within an organization, improve trading relationships and enhance supply chain predictability. And our 3PL partners often participate in our lead-sharing program.

View the video to hear from Ruby Has about their EDI experience with SPS:

Reduce manual processes and errors

Every manual data entry point slows down your processes. Also, every keystroke performed by human hands is a chance for potentially expensive errors. EDI can reduce or remove manual data entry needs.

EDI is faster

Each transaction conveyed by email, fax or phone calls can take 20-30 minutes to complete. EDI automates these interactions, saving your staff significant time.

Increase predictability and performance

You’re able to more accurately scrutinize your business needs, make positive changes to internal processes and add predictability.

Improved forecasts from precise data

The data in EDI documents creates forecasts that paint a more accurate picture of what’s going on in your business. You can make better choices, improve service offering decisions and allocate labor more efficiently.

Better control your margins

Manual processes can be hard to manage; automation is predictable and reliable. Automation not only helps you control and predict margins, but you can monetize it as part of the services you offer to your customers.

Free up valuable resources

When processes have been automated via 3PL EDI integration, staff and resources can be redirected to more strategic efforts that help your business grow.

Comply with Any Retailer Requirements

“Knowing the retailer’s requirements and ensuring that our shipments would always meet these needs was critical to Whitebox. SPS knows what is needed, keeps their system current, and makes testing and setup easy. They are equipping Whitebox with services we need to grow our drop-ship and replenishment business.”

Rob Hahn, COO, Whitebox

Step Four: Discover the Full-Service EDI Difference

If you’re a 3PL that is new to EDI, you have a choice to make. You can license technology and hire internal staff to support this function. Or, you can subscribe to a full-service offering, like SPS Commerce Fulfillment, that provides the technology, staffing and expertise to manage EDI on your behalf. For most 3PLs, they prefer to focus on their core business, not EDI. Here is an overview of the two options:

Discover the Full-Service EDI Difference

If you’re a 3PL that is new to EDI, you have a choice to make. You can license technology and hire internal staff to support this function. Or, you can subscribe to a full-service offering, like SPS Commerce Fulfillment, that provides the technology, staffing and expertise to manage EDI on your behalf. For most 3PLs, they prefer to focus on their core business, not EDI. Here is an overview of the two options:

Onsite In-House EDI

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Requires software installation and updates

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Requires hardware installation and updates

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Requires knowledgeable staff in-house for maintenance and updates

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Requires ongoing support and investment to preserve EDI capabilities as the business evolves

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You must develop and maintain maps and requirements for each trading partner connection

Outsourced Cloud-Based EDI

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Requires no software on your end.

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Requires no hardware on your end.

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Dedicated staff maintains the system and updates for you

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Your managed service provider carries out all ongoing support to preserve your EDI capabilities as your business evolves

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When your trading partner EDI maps or specifications change, your EDI provider makes all the changes so there’s no disruption to your workflow.

Serve multiple channels, faster and easier

“The mix has certainly changed. We still do a lot of brick- and-mortar-based order fulfillment, but along with that we are doing a lot of ship to store and drop shipping. Having SPS as a partner has really enabled us to serve all those different channels without having to reinvent the wheel.”

George Hynes, President at Logistic Edge

Step Five: Access Additional 3PL EDI Resources

Access Additional 3PL EDI Resources

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