EDI supply chain

RVCF Guidelines: Technical Error Notification

The EDI 997 Functional Acknowledgement (FA) communicates technical errors in EDI syntax, but not those identified when the data is processed by the receiver’s business application. In discussion with RVCF members, it finds that in retail, FA’s are fairly well understood, commonly used and successful.

EDI 997 Functional Acknowledgements are mandatory for every EDI transaction (e.g. Invoice, PO, Ship Notice, etc.). The FA is automatically created by the trading partner’s EDI translator. They are sent by the receiver to the sender and indicate:

  1. The transaction was received and
    1. Accepted, or
    2. Rejected due to syntax errors, or
    3. Accepted with Errors which were identified by the translator, but the document was brought into the receiver’s application system and processed.

Suppliers should reconcile ASN FA’s to insure the retailer got the transactions and could translate them. There may be conditions under which the receiving system cannot identify the sender (e.g. a certificate problem) and the receiving system cannot process the transaction or send an FA to the sender. If no FA is received for a transaction or if transactions are rejected, a follow up with the retailer is required.

RVCF survey indicates that some suppliers respond to the FA’s they receive, but do not compare transactions sent with transactions acknowledged to make sure the retailer received all transactions. Most EDI translators can be set up to produce a list of the transactions not functionally acknowledged.

The same translator capability that determines whether an incoming transaction is syntactically correct on the retailer’s side should also used by the supplier’s EDI translator to determine if their outbound transactions are correct. While in-house EDI translators and EDI solution providers may differ in how they process data, they all have the capability to identify syntax errors in inbound and outbound data. If you are receiving FA’s that indicate transactions are rejecting due to syntax errors, your EDI translator should be catching them before they are transmitted.

When using a third party EDI service, business should understand how they handle Functional Acknowledgements.

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