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warehousebarcodeOver the past year there has been a lot of "hoopla" around suppliersdesire for 852 data to support their relationship with their customers. What I am hearing is that 852 data is understood to be related to POS information from Retail stores.  I wanted to alert partners that 852 data is indeed POS data communicating what was sold at a retail store, but organizations are also providing on-hand inventory and even reporting what was sold from a retailer's Distribution Center in this data feed. Why is that important you ask?


While buying organization typically send 852 data when products are scanned at a cash register, I want to remind everyone that sales (change in inventory) are not strictly done at a register. In fact, they are represented in every part of the organization that ships product. Below are examples of where POS can be redefined as sales in any operation -

* .com retailers
This type of retailer either has all products shipped to a DC by their suppliers where they in turn sell/ship customer orders out from the DC, or have the suppliers ship directly from their warehouse/factory to the retailers consumer.

  •  Warehouse Shipments - Since these shipments are not going to a retail store, but to an end consumer, suppliers would love to have visibility into what was "sold/shipped" from the DC. In addition, knowing on-hand inventory by product from one or more DC's allows the suppliers to plan for future purchases to replenish the merchandise. Even knowing where the merchandise is being delivered will allow the suppliers to know if media dollars are fully utilzed by each specific market.
  •  Vendor/Factory Direct (Direct Ship/Drop Ship) - One would think that since the suppliers are getting the customer orders to fullfill directly, the PO itself can be use as POS data. However, it would be helpful to a supplier to get all sales information in a consistent data feed, meaning an 852 would be the way to manage the data. We know that this type of retailer tracks purchases by customer, and are already marketing to these customers. So to assist your suppliers, I'd recommend providing DS order statistics in the 852 data as well. Work with your partners to determine if this is necessary or not.


The specific industry or type of distributor will determine what POS data may be available. There is confusion within the supplier community, believing that Distributors in the Grocery or Hardware Industry should be able to provide 852 for store sales and inventory levels. However they forget that, with the distributors in these industries, even though the stores may carry the Brand or Corporate Store front names,  in many cases the stores are actually independently owned Franchisees. Getting POS data from companies like Krogers, Supervalu, Loblaw's, Do It Best, Ace and True Value Hardware is only as accessible as what these distributors can get from their Dealer/members.

Many do provide these store owners Retail Services to assist with running the store/business, and  thus may include POS data as well.  So suppliers will need work with each of these customers to determine what is available. Unfortunately there may not be much value to a supplier only getting a small sampling of data across that chain, so I'm not sure there is value in getting any stores data.

With the other types of Distributors (those that purchase supplier goods for resale to retailers as a supplier), they too need to be prepared to meet the needs of their customer and, as such, would want their suppliers to be in tune with what is being sold/shipped. Providing this information to their suppliers should assist with being lean with inventory level but still controling out of stock inventory within their distribution network.

The jist of what I want you to understand is that the 852 is not strictly POS data, but a tally of which product is being sold, and what inventory is being reduced. Its that information that the suppliers are needing to know in preparation for the next PO.

Do well -


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Last modified on Monday, 13 September 2010
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