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855 Purchase Order Acknowledgment

What is EDI 855?

An EDI 855 Purchase Order Acknowledgment is an electronic version of a phone call or fax that tells the buyer who sent you a purchase order that you will be filling the purchase order as requested. The buyer then knows that you will be filling the order and shipping the goods as requested by the date requested. An X12 855 Purchase Order Acknowledgment is an example of one kind of EDI transactions.

However, if you will not be able to fill the order, then the 855 Purchase Order Acknowledgment is used to tell the buyer that you will not be able to fill the order. You may be out of stock for the items specified or you may not agree with the Purchase Order business terms.

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EDI stands for Electronic Data Interchange. Companies use EDI to reduce the errors and costs associated with the manual keying of data, and to speed up the process of sending and receiving Purchase Order Acknowledgments.

Related EDI Transactions

Most suppliers will also want to receive a 997 Functional Acknowledgment back after the buyer receives the 855 Purchase Order Acknowledgment. The buyer sends the 997 Functional Acknowledgment back to the supplier to indicate that they successfully received the Purchase Order Acknowledgment.

EDI documents are sent and received electronically using a VAN. VAN stands for Value Added Network. Part of the EDI Purchase Order Acknowledgment document will contain envelope information. The envelope information specifies which company is sending the document and which company is receiving the document. The sending and receiving companies are called trading partners because they exchange or “trade” the EDI Purchase Order Acknowledgment and Functional Acknowledgments.

EDI is a mature electronic document format that has been carefully defined both by the companies that require their trading partners to use EDI and by standards bodies. The two recognized standards for EDI are ANSI X.12 and UN/EDIFACT. ANSI X.12 is by far the most widely used standard in the United States. UN/EDIFACT is more popular outside the United States, although it is used by US automotive manufactures.

Each EDI 855 Purchase Order Acknowledgment document will have data organized into segments and data elements. Each segment contains at least one data element. Each data element is a data field. Examples of data elements on the Purchase Order Acknowledgment include vendor number, item, quantity, price per item, street address, city, state and zip code, just like on a paper Purchase Order Acknowledgment. The standards bodies have allowed for every conceivable possibility for data on the EDI Purchase Order Acknowledgment document. Any one company will use a small subset of the available choices within the ANS X.12 or UN/EDIFACT standards.

Each company that requires its suppliers to use EDI will have an EDI Guide or mapping document. The EDI Guide will specify each segment and data element, the allowable values for each, and the applicable business rules that must be followed. EDI guides are detailed and extensive. It is not unusual for an EDI Guide to be more than 100 pages long.

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