EDI 846 - Inventory Inquiry/Advice

The EDI 846 Inventory Inquiry/Advice is a type of electronic data interchange transaction set that is used to communicate inventory levels. This document provides information on whether there is sufficient inventory on hand to be shipped, sold electronically or reordered.
EDI-x12 transaction codes

View the full list of EDI X12 documents and transactions

What is EDI 846?

The EDI 846 Inventory Inquiry/Advice is a type of electronic data interchange transaction set that is used to by retailers to inquire about a supplier’s inventory levels and for suppliers to advise on the number of units they have on hand.

An EDI 846 can be sent by suppliers at different frequencies, from multiple times a day to a few times a week depending on the needs of the trading partner. The Inventory Inquiry/Advice is most commonly used with online retailers such as Amazon, specifically for drop shipping.

This electronic document complies with the ANSI X12 EDI specification.

Benefits of the EDI 846

All EDI documents are securely encrypted in transit, allowing trading partners to send sensitive data safely. Sending an EDI 864 means buyers can receive up-to-date inventory details from suppliers which helps organizations achieve true inventory visibility. Both buyers and sellers benefit from implementing the 864 in their EDI environments. 

Eliminates the need for retailers to manually reach out to suppliers via email or phone calls, and/or type inventory data into their systems by hand.

Saves time and streamlines communications for more up-to-date information, and ensures data accuracy.

Retailers can better plan warehouse and store ordering and manage e-commerce drop shipping. 

Enables the supplier to advise when product is out of stock or no longer being made as well as support the ability to order non-stock items.

How is an EDI 846 Used?

Sending and receiving an EDI 846 is consistent with any other communication within an EDI environment. An EDI 846 is encrypted and sent securely to be translated through the trading partner’s EDI software. 

The EDI 864 can be used in the following ways:

  • By sellers of goods and services to provide inventory information to a potential customer
  • By a seller’s representatives to supply the seller with inventory information
  • By one seller’s location to supply another location with inventory information
  • By a seller to inquire on the availability of inventory

The 864 is often sent at different frequencies, from multiple times a day to a few times a week depending on the needs of the trading partner. e-commerce websites often request these daily to update inventory availability. 

EDI 846 Inventory Inquiry/Advice Segments

A typical EDI 864 includes:

  • Inventory Date
  • Current Inventory Amount
  • Committed Inventory
  • Quantity On Order
  • Backorder Quantity
  • Inventory in Transit
  • Returns 

Additional Data that may also be included: 

  • Vendor number
  • Discontinued products
  • Supplier warehouse locations with on hand amounts by item
  • Item description
  • Out of stock items and restock dates

EDI 846 Inventory Inquiry/Advice Specifications

This X12 Transaction Set contains the format and establishes the data contents of the Inventory Inquiry/Advice Transaction Set (846) for use within the context of an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) environment. The transaction set can be used in the following ways: (1) for a seller of goods and services to provide inventory information to a prospective purchaser, with no obligation to the purchaser to acquire these goods or services; (2) for a representative of a seller of goods and services to supply inventory information to that seller; (3) for one location to supply another location with inventory information; and (4) for an inquiry as to the availability of inventory with no obligation on the seller of goods and services to reserve that inventory.


The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) chartered the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12 to develop uniform standards for inter-industry electronic exchange of business transactions, namely electronic data interchange. ASC X12 also contributes to UN/EDIFACT messages that are used widely outside of the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions

The EDI 846 transaction, also known as the Inventory Inquiry/Advice, is used to communicate inventory information between trading partners. It allows suppliers to provide retailers or trading partners with updates on their available inventory levels, including stock quantities, locations, and availability dates.

The frequency of EDI 846 transactions depends on the specific agreements between trading partners and the nature of their business relationship. In some cases, EDI 846 transactions may be exchanged daily to provide real-time inventory updates, while in others, they may be sent on a weekly or monthly basis.

An EDI 846 transaction typically includes detailed inventory information such as product identifiers (e.g., UPC codes), quantities available, locations (e.g., warehouse or store), unit of measure, and availability dates. This information helps trading partners make informed decisions about ordering and replenishing stock.

The use of EDI 846 transactions benefits trading partners by providing real-time visibility into inventory levels, which helps optimize supply chain management, reduce stockouts, and minimize overstock situations. By exchanging inventory information electronically, trading partners can improve efficiency and accuracy in their ordering and fulfillment processes.

To ensure the accuracy and reliability of EDI 846 transactions, trading partners should establish clear data validation processes and adhere to industry standards such as ANSI X12 or EDIFACT. Regular reconciliation and audits of inventory data can help identify and resolve discrepancies, ensuring that both parties have confidence in the information exchanged through EDI 846 transactions.

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