Setting Up Vendors
To become DEX compliant, the vendor must have the appropriate hardware and software. The hardware typically consists of some sort of mobile computer, tablet or even a phone and a way to connect to the retailer using the standard DEX connection, a 1/4 inch male stereo jack. While some purpose build mobile computers may have a DEX cable option, more and more that is not the case. If a DEX cable is not available, the best option is a Bluetooth DEX adapter or a Bluetooth serial cable with a DEX add on connection. While the software is something that can be developed in house, its almost always best to use existing DEX software from a company that has a track record of working with DEX. Not all retailers implement the DEX process the same so knowing how each retailer uses DEX is an important part of making DEX work. Most often DEX software is part of a DSD Route Accounting package. Since a traditional DSD vendor needs to be able to create the invoice at the retailers location, it's the route accounting software that provides that functionality. While most software vendors that offer DEX also offer route accounting, not all route accounting software supports DEX. It is important to know that DEX is an option when implementing route accounting software.
Once hardware and software are in place for the vendor, you will need to exchange some information. Both sides need to exchange a Communication ID, DUNS number and the DEX version to use and potentially the store location codes for the retailers. The Communication ID is a 10 digit code supplied to both the retailer and the vendor by GS1. The DUNS number is a 9 digit code supplied by Dun and Bradstreet. Over the years the DEX standard has been modified and with each modification the version number is updated. Most retailers and vendors can support multiple versions. It is important that both trading partners are able to support a common version of the DEX standard. In most cases the retailer will specify the preferred version and potentially alternate versions they support.
The final optional step before using DEX live is testing or certification. Usually this is a step where the vendor sends a test invoice at a predefined store to make sure there are no issues but it can be a much more detailed scripted list of scenarios for the vendor to go through often at the retailers corporate office. We would recommend at a minimum the vendor sends 1 test invoice that contains 1 line item for all authorized items. If there are no issues with the test invoice, there should not be any DEX issues at the rest of the retailers locations.