EDI with Publix : becoming EDI compliant

EDI with Publix : becoming EDI compliant

Doing EDI with Publix and what are the required EDI Transactions

 

Using EDI is prevalent in the retail industry, and is becoming increasingly so with grocery and supermarket chains, as well. Becoming EDI compliant, and transmitting EDI transactions, has a direct impact on everyday business document workflow, whereby promoting efficiency, and ensuring accuracy and promptness.

Publix Super Markets Inc. is the largest employee owned company in the world. This American supermarket chain is based in Lakeland, Florida and operates throughout the Southeast.

This blog will address some specifics regarding EDI purchase orders (875) and EDI invoices (880) used in grocery industry, as well as some pertinent information to implementing EDI with Publix.

 

What are the EDI transactions required by Publix ?

We will begin with what is EDI and why do grocery retailers require it. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) refers to the structured transmission of data between organizations electronically. Benefits of transmitting documents through EDI will be seen in many areas, including reduced time and payment delays, reduced labour costs, improved data and inventory accuracy, increased information accessibility, and ultimately, facilitated business activity.

The following are Publix’ required EDI transactions:

 

Doing EDI with Publix and what are the required EDI Transactions

Watch our step by step video tutorials on how to transmit Publix EDI transactions using our web-based portal: Webgate+

 

How does the EDI transactional flow work?

So let’s begin by discussing what these EDI transactions actually mean!

The EDI 875 transaction set is a Grocery Products Purchase Order. It is the electronic form of a paper Purchase Order, used specifically by grocery wholesalers and retailers to place an order for goods from their suppliers.   Like the typical EDI 850 purchase order (used by non-grocery retailers), the 875 EDI transaction includes all of the information required for the order, such as:

  • Item description
  • Item quantity to be delivered
  • Price and total cost
  • Shipping instructions

Once you receive your EDI 875 grocery purchase order from Publix, and you have prepared your goods to be shipped, you will need to proceed with creating and sending an EDI 880 (Grocery invoice) back to Publix.

This EDI Transaction (880) set contains the format and data contents of the Grocery Products Invoice, for use within the context of an EDI environment. The 880 EDI transaction is typically used to provide billing details for shipped goods in the grocery or wholesale industries. The 880 EDI transaction set can be used by the supplier to request payment from a retailer, or wholesaler organization, as a standalone detail billing; it cannot be used for statement billing or credit/debit adjustments. Unlike traditional paper-based invoice documents, the payment processing of EDI 880 invoice is naturally faster and more accurate as data entry and manual processing are avoided.

This is essentially Publix’ EDI transactional flow. It is important to note, however, that as more and more Grocery retailers are moving away from traditional grocery EDI transactions (875 & 880), Publix, too, may at some point in the future, change its EDI requirements and implement new EDI transaction sets, such as the standard non-grocery EDI transaction sets EDI 850 purchase order and EDI 810 invoice, or even the EDI 856 Advanced Ship Notice, all of which you will then be required to comply with.  With today’s globalization of the marketplace, retailers, including grocers, are looking to streamline and conform to a standard industry practice, to allow for further accessibility, increased efficiency and maximized profits. Another contributing factor is the fact that more and more traditional grocery retailers have expanded their item repertoire to the consumer to include non-traditional grocery items from other retail industries such as apparel, pharmaceutical, etc.

 

Testing your EDI compliance with Publix

Now that you have a better understanding of what Publix’ EDI transaction requirements are, we can proceed to address some of the EDI business rules!

Once you have been successfully set-up for EDI with Publix, you will need to complete a testing cycle, directly with Publix’s EDI department.  It is quite common for retailers, grocery or otherwise, to require mandatory EDI testing whereby you are required to test both incoming and outgoing EDI transactions sets (EDI 875 and EDI 880).  Testing is typically required in order to make sure that your EDI data output is compliant with the retailer’s specific EDI requirements and business rules.  Having tested and approved all the required EDI transactions, Publix can guarantee a certain degree of compliance, or, at the very least, hold you accountable for any potential EDI non-compliance errors, once you have been deployed to EDI production and have begun exchanging EDI transactions.  Please note that you will not be moved to EDI production, and therefore, you will not be able to receive production grocery purchase orders (EDI 875), until all the required EDI transactions have been tested successfully with Publix and approved as compliant.

Depending on your in-house EDI capabilities, you should be able to either complete the required EDI testing directly with Publix yourself, or opt to work with a third party EDI provider to manage the testing cycle on your behalf, using its fully EDI compliant tools. Using the services of a third party EDI provider, such as EDI Gateway Inc for example, can be a blessing in disguise, especially if your EDI capabilities and EDI experience are minimal; most third party EDI providers embed validation maps in their back end systems to allow the tools they develop and use to detect EDI non-compliance errors and, consequently, ensure that the outgoing EDI data that is transmitted to the retailers is 100% EDI compliant with the latter’s business rules and EDI guidelines.  So be sure to do your research and choose your 3rd party EDI provider wisely!

The EDI testing cycle requires the testing of the mandatory EDI transactions- EDI 875 and EDI 880.  Publix will transmit an EDI 875 (grocery purchase order) test file, and will require you to send back an EDI 880 (grocery invoice) test file.

 

EDI business rules for Publix’s retailers

The following are a few important business rules to take note of!

  • First, you cannot consolidate multiple purchase orders (EDI 875) on the same invoice (EDI 880).  Each EDI 880 file must correspond to a single EDI 875.
  • Secondly, you may apply allowances to the EDI 880, should you need to.
  • Finally, and this is extremely important to keep in mind, Publix requires a period of parallel testing before they deploy their suppliers to full EDI production status.  What this means is that once the EDI 880 test file has been approved by Publix as compliant, you will be moved to production, allowing you to receive production EDI 875 (grocery purchase orders).  However, when transmitting the production EDI 880 (grocery invoice), you will also need to mail the paper invoice to Publix’ accounting department, until you are advised by Publix directly to cease mailing paper invoices.  The parallel testing period is at Publix’ discretion.  Again, we cannot stress this enough, the paper invoices must be sent in parallel (in addition) to the EDI 880 transmission, not in place of.

We highly recommend reading the vendor manual provided to you by Publix, or any retailer you are doing EDI with, and familiarizing yourself with all the different business rules associated with each EDI transaction. This is especially important if you are integrated and are using your in-house EDI system to receive and transmit Publix’ EDI transactions, as you would want to be able to avoid the risk of incurring unnecessary non-compliance EDI charges.

 

Integrating your EDI transactions into ERP system

Integration!  Vendors tend to explore opportunities to integrate their invoices through their accounting package or ERP system, or even using FTP file transfer when dealing with a high volume of EDI transactions.  This option will allow you to receive all your purchase orders (EDI 850 or EDI 875) directly into your system, generate invoices and transmit EDI 880 invoice files (or EDI 810) through an automated process, without manual intervention, thereby achieving 100% EDI compliance, increasing productivity and reducing EDI transaction costs.

EDI Implementation is often perceived as a daunting challenge, and it is! Surrounding yourself with a  team of experts, and having access to relevant EDI information and the business rules you must comply with, will afford you the peace of mind you will seek throughout the process.

We trust that this blog has been informative and we wish you luck with your EDI initiative with Publix!

 

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Feel free to comment and open up a dialog or discussion !

 

Sharon Barr

With over 16 years of experience in the EDI retail industry across both Canada and the U.S, Sharon Barr is part of EDI Gateway’s EDI lead team, where her lead role is primarily in EDI integration.

 

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