Inventory Inquiry/Inventory Advice

EDI Document 846

graphic showing raw EDI data for EDI 997, EDI 850, and EDI 852 transactions

What is an inventory inquiry?

The primary purpose of the inventory advice (EDI 846) is for the supplier to provide the purchaser the amount of goods they have on hand and on order including future date. This allows better management of buying needs and is used primarily in a drop ship order management model to support e-commerce management.

The key data elements included in the inventory inquiry.

  • Identifying number
  • Inventory date
  • Product item identifiers/services such as UPC/EAN/GTIN needed with their respective quantities

Additional data that may also be included in the inventory inquiry are:

  • Out of stock items and restock dates
  • Discontinued products
  • Supplier warehouse locations with on hand amounts by item
  • Vendor number
  • Additional item identifiers such as buyer item number and vendor part number
  • Item description


There are benefits to both the purchaser and the supplier of implementing electronic trading of the inventory advice. Many of these are dependent on how automated and integrated the transaction is for both parties. Some of the benefits include:

  • Enables the supplier to advise when product is out of stock or no longer being made
  • Allows better management of e-commerce drop ship
  • Communicates to the purchaser when the item will be available again if out of stock
  • The purchaser is able to better plan warehouse and store ordering
  • Enables the purchaser to manage these details on their website such as item out of stock, quantity available, or remove the item from the website
  • Supports the ability to order non-stock items/special orders

Want to learn more about specific EDI files?

Here’s a long list of EDI transactions commonly used in retail.

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