Specialty Chemical: Inventory Report File Format

Specialty Chemical: Inventory Report File Format

Case Study: Nutrien Ag Solutions - Specialty Business Increases Efficiency with AgGateway’s Inventory Reporting File Format. Link to case study here.

Flat Format: To access the standard format, click here.
(This is an AgGateway member wiki page; members can obtain passwords from Member Services.)

Article: Benefits of the AgGateway Inventory Reporting Flat File
By Donald Green, EDI Systems Analyst, Nutrien Ag Solutions, November 2018

If you talk to retailers and small-to-medium distributors, the choices for inventory reporting in the past were to implement B2B integrations or to create dozens of custom spreadsheets each, with a format specific to the manufacturer or supplier. It takes considerable time to change the format and values being sent to each manufacturer’s specification. Some smaller manufacturers can’t implement XML at this time, so they either need to use a third party to receive reported inventory information, or they could use the flat-file format.

To solve this problem, retailers, distributors, manufacturers and software vendors across multiple AgGateway councils banded together to define a standard flat file format for inventory reporting. If you need to create inventory data manually, the standard includes a Microsoft Excel template, User Guide, and a Specification. For those with modest IT capabilities, your staff can easily implement software tooling to generate this one file format and satisfy the needs of dozens of manufacturers, suppliers and distributors.

The AgGateway Inventory Reporting File Format is a tab-delimited text file format for use by parties that are unable to implement the preferred method of reporting inventory electronically – AgGateway XML Inventory Actual Usage (IAU) messages sent over a B2B connection (e.g., ebMS/ebXML, AS/2, web services).

Nutrien started reporting the sales and inventory flat files to SePRO Corporation in October 2017. Nutrien also started reporting inventory flat files to Nufarm/TKXS in October 2017. We didn’t run into any issues. By adopting this standard, we have removed manual data entry from the reporting process, and we have seen fewer errors in inventory reporting. This resulted in labor savings, time savings, and a faster turnaround for inventory reconciliations and rebate payments.

This flat file really helped SePRO with its agency inventory. This is inventory that is owned by them, but physically is sitting at a Nutrien location.

“The same format each month allows me to have consistent inventory counts and less invoice corrections throughout the crop year,” said Jill Boswell, SePRO Agency Specialist. For my part at Nutrien, this inventory flat file saved me 6-8 hours each month in the reporting and reconciliation of agency inventory with Sepro.

Here in summary are benefits of using the new flat file:

The Benefits for Sending Party: Retailers and small-to-medium distributors benefit from the broad adoption by manufacturers and software providers. The ROI is clear:

  • Easy to implement
  • Reduced manual data entry
  • Improved data accuracy
  • One format that satisfies the needs of dozens of manufacturers
  • Faster processing of rebates/incentives
  • Use of standard identifiers reduces errors (GLNs, GTINs, UOM)
  • Fulfills agency product reporting requirements for manufacturers.

The Benefits for Manufacturers and Software Providers:  By supporting this standard format, manufacturers and suppliers benefit from a broad base of retailers and distributors who can easily support this format.

  • The result: greater adoption, fewer formats to support and faster go-lives.
  • Inventory reporting is extremely valuable for manufacturers with agency product that is physically held at a distributor’s location.
  • For software providers it means fewer formats to support and less implementation work for inventory reporting integrations.

To access the standard format, click here.
(This is an AgGateway member wiki page; members can obtain passwords from Member Services.)