EDI in Retail

  June 28, 2012       By Ray Atia
EDI is a normal part of retail, and retailers are struggling to provide better selection and worth to consumers. Some large companies were starting to use custom EDI about 25 years ago, and they were up against some heavy competition from international manufacturers. Currently, there are public standards in place like ASC X12 and its retail outlet, they are called VICS, which is an acronym that stands for Voluntary Inter-industry Communications Standards. They are starting to shift to a QR environment. Retailers usually have a big number of Stock Keeping Units, which is the acronym SKU for short. Basically, in the apparel market, retailers have to carry just one style of pants in a lot of different sizes and options. Maintaining lots of different kinds of items in the ordering selection may necessitate a lot of big administrative efforts. A current purchase might contain thousands of items with thousands sometimes hundreds of thousands of different shipping location. In systems that use paper, there can be a high volume of data that is entered in and re-entered, and this can cause a lot of errors, and it can be very time-consuming. EDI allows for a very sharp turnaround time of purchase orders and for the easy exchange of information between retailers and their suppliers. An EDI document that has a lot of use in the retail industry is the invoice. With EDI, the supplier can send out a consolidated invoice to the retail location. The system there can easily break down the invoice at the store level to catalyze verification, and this will eliminate the need for the supplier to send out unique invoices to each store or location. QR and EDI are the means to obtain critical data rapidly, and retailers can easily replenish the shelves with the correct products. These technologies can also cut the need for inventory safety stock.