What are the Four Different Types of EDI PO Acknowledgment?


Sending and receiving data and messages is an essential part of any B2B transaction. It enables you to receive orders, send invoices, and communicate with your customers. For your business to run smoothly, you should ensure that your messages get delivered to the intended recipient.

If the documents you sent require action, you must have a way of knowing whether or not the receiver is taking it. For instance, when you send a purchase order for critical raw materials, you'll want to know that the supplier received the order and is working to fulfill it.

As an engineer, you'll want to work on designs and development without having to worry about document delivery. As a result, automating the process is critical to your company's success.

In this article, we will look at:

What is EDI acknowledgment?

In today's world of computers, documents are sent electronically. As such, you'll also confirm receipt in the same manner.

EDI acknowledgments are small messages or alerts that indicate the status of EDI message transmission. When you send an EDI document, the receiver's computer or translator will send you one or more acknowledgments, depending on your systems and setup.

Types of EDI acknowledgment

Here are the options of acknowledgments you could incorporate into your B2B business.

Basic Communications-level Status Message

This EDI solution involves a basic status message used by communications protocols. It features two computers exchanging data; when you send data from a computer, the computer receiving it will notify your computer that it has received a certain amount of data. 

It is used by various communication protocols, from the simplest to the most complex. Some of the data that this acknowledgment handles includes text files, spreadsheets, and EDI data.

Excellent examples of basic communications-level status messages are " We have received 320 bytes of data from you" and "message delivered".

Message Disposition Notification(MDN)

Message disposition notification answers the question, "Was your system able to open the document and read it?" 

MDN is an EDI solution used by AS2 communication protocols to notify the sender of receipt and extraction. AS2 uses additional envelopes to secure EDI documents during transitions. Therefore, the sender must know if the recipient extracted the documents successfully.

Extraction is essential since the documents need decryption to enable the recipient's translator to process them.

Your AS2 communication gadget will use message disposition notification to tell you that the documents arrived securely and the extraction was either successful or a failure. You'll be confident that the receiver got the original documents, and if extraction fails, try to resend them or get a solution.

Functional Acknowledgment (FA) Document

FA, also known as a 997 in the ANSI standard or a CONTRL message in the EDIFACT standard, is a status message that was created for EDI documents.

The status document is exchanged between EDI translators to provide a status on whether the documents were received and read. When the translator on the buyer's computer receives, opens the EDI document, and confirms the contents meet EDI compliance, it will alert the translator on your computer.

Functional acknowledgment is different from the communications-level status message in the following way.

  1. FA is a translator-level EDI acknowledgment, while a communications status message is a communications protocol acknowledgment.
  2. FA involves alerts if the data is readable while communications status messages address delivery. 

Business-level acknowledgment

The business-level acknowledgment takes things further by confirming if the receiver is taking any necessary action. For example, when you send your vendor an EDI Purchase Order, you'll receive a business-level acknowledgment telling you if the order is accepted and the shipping process.

If the vendor cannot fulfill your order, the Purchase Order acknowledgment could include what levels they can deliver or the approximate time they could take.

If you change your purchase order and send it to the vendor, you'll receive a Purchase Order Change Acknowledgment.

Key Takeaways

  1. The basic communications-level status message notifies of the amount of data received.
  2. Message Disposition Notifications notify the sender of document receipt and decryption.
  3. The functional acknowledgment document notifies the sender's EDI translator of whether the recipient's translator opened the envelope and whether the contents meet EDI compliance.
  4. The business-level acknowledgment confirms the document's contents and if any appropriate action is being taken.


As a business, you need to track your purchase documents and communications. This tracking can be tedious and take a lot of time and energy. If you are trying to beat your engineering competitors, this is time and energy you can not afford to lose.

Adopting various EDI Purchase Order acknowledgments will help you track your orders and ensure that the vendor is working towards meeting your needs. As a result, you can put your efforts into making the best machines.

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