What is an ANSI X12 EDI 850 Message?

The ANSI X12 EDI 850 is the Purchase Order Message sent by a customer to a supplier requesting services or goods. An electronic purchase order message is one of the most fundamental documents for automated B2B Transactions that should be part of an EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) workflow.

The use of the ANSI X12 EDI 850 Message

Purchasing organizations use EDI purchase orders to order services or goods to be shipped to a distribution center, a shop or end consumers. 

The EDI 850 format is the technical purchase order document based on the common EDI message standard ANSI X12. 

The purchase order is typically created in the customer’s ERP system in an ERP-specific data format. Using EDI technology, this internal format is then converted into the ANSI X12 EDI 850 Message. After conversion, the message is sent to the supplier, who creates a corresponding order for goods or services in his ERP system.

How does a typical ANSI X12 EDI 850 Structure look like?

The information of a purchase order is grouped into so called segments and elements as specified in the ANSI X12 EDI 850 transaction set. An EDI purchase order message document like ANSI X12 EDI 850 is sent, received, and processed by an EDI solution (either using EDI software on premises or using an EDI Cloud Service). To ensure a smooth, automated process, it is mandatory to follow the accepted ANSI X12 EDI 850 standards. Otherwise this may create errors or even prevent the document from ever reaching the supplier.

A typical ANSI X12 EDI 850 Message includes:

  • The items ordered and their respective costs
  • The respective quantities ordered
  • Invoicing information such as purchase order number and date
  • Ship to address (single or multiple ship-to locations as for cross-docking orders)
  • Additional shipping instructions
  • Logistics provider details

EDI Workflow for processing the ANSI X12 EDI 850 Message

After receiving the ANSI X12 EDI 850 document, the supplier validates the document against the ANSI X12 EDI 850 specification standards and sends a functional acknowledgement (ANSI X12 997 message type). The purpose of a functional acknowledgment is to confirm the receipt of a purchase order.

Documents that customers exchange with their supplying EDI trading partners follow a typical sequence of business processes which depends on the type of industry. The table below shows the ANSI X12 EDI standard 850 in the context of the other message types used in a typical Retail scenario:

  • The items ordered and their respective costs
  • The respective quantities ordered
  • Invoicing information such as purchase order number and date
  • Ship to address (single or multiple ship-to locations as for cross-docking orders)
  • Additional shipping instructions
  • Logistics provider details

How is the ANSI X12 EDI 850 Format called in other EDI Message Standards?

The ANSI X12 standard is widely used in North America and includes two EDI purchase order document types, the 850 (CPG Retail) and 875 (For fresh foods like grocery).

Depending on location and industry vertical other EDI message standards might be preferred, for example:

EDIFACT is the standard proposed by the UN and is widespread in Europe as well as most parts of Asia. EDIFACT uses a single document, ORDERS document, to cover all purchase order message types. TRADACOMS is the still widely used standard in the UK retail industry where the purchase order message is called ORDHDR.

Benefits using EDI and the ANSI X12 EDI 850 Message

The use of EDI offers many benefits for both the customer and the supplier:

  • Avoiding manual data entry processes: Increase of data quality and reduction of errors
  • Fast fulfillment of delivery: As a consequence, this enables targeted production and delivery processes. This way, customers and suppliers can reduce their on hand inventories and have the option of establishing a Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) business.
  • The entire B2B transaction becomes paperless and without administrative overhead   
  • Time savings allows companies to focus on strategic tasks

Benefits specific for suppliers

  • Faster processing of orders
  • Better supplier ratings due to less chargebacks
  • Cost reduction because of more efficient sales processing

Benefits specific for customers

  • Faster Placing of orders
  • Reduced capital allocation due to lower inventory levels
  • Cost reduction due to streamlined and automated purchasing

Typical Errors when using the ANSI X12 EDI 850 Message

The efficiency of routine EDI workflows depends on the quality of the data involved. Typical challenges are new master data records in the customer’s ERP system which are not known in the supplier’s ERP system and may cause errors with the EDI 850 Purchase Order Message:

  • New shipping addresses: The customer uses a new ship-to address that is not yet added to the supplier’s system.
  • Wrong items: The customer orders expired items or item numbers no longer available in the supplier’s system.
  • Different Price Labels: The customer sends a different price than agreed with the supplier.

Automate the EDI 850 Purchase Order Message with flexible operating models

When starting with EDI, you should evaluate all options for EDI operation. With SEEBURGER you have all options: The SEEBURGER EDI solution can be used on-premises as an in-house operation, can be booked as an EDI Cloud Service in the SEEBURGER Cloud or in public cloud environments like the ones from Google, Azure, AWS etc..

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