Steps to become DEX compliant for the Direct Store Delivery (DSD) vendor
At some point, most DSD vendors will be asked to become DEX compliant by a trading partner, typically a larger grocery retailer . What this means is the retailer wants the vendor to be able to send invoices to the retailer electronically at the time of delivery using the DEX standard. 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 such as the Baus Systems DSD Route Accounting software linked below. 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. When looking at route accounting software options that support DEX, make sure that it will also integrate with your back end accounting software. Making sure customers, products and prices can move from your back end accounting software to your mobile computers and then the invoices and other transactions created in the field can be brought back into the back end accounting software as that is a major benefit of implementing a route accounting system.
At this point before you can actually DEX with a retailer, you will need to get some information from the retailer and provide information to the retailer. Both sides need to exchange a Communication ID, DUNS number and the DEX version to use. 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 step before using DEX live depends on the retailer. Some retailers may want you to go through a certification process before using DEX at a retail store. This might involved going to a corporate office and running through a series of steps to make sure there will not be any issues in the field. The retailer may also require that during the certification you send an invoice that contains 1 line item of all of your authorized products. This is to ensure that the UPC codes they have on file match the UPC codes you will be using. Other retailers may just ask that you create a test invoice and send it at a pre determined retail location on a specified day. If there are no issues with the test invoice, they will typically allow the rest of the sales reps to start DEXing at the rest of the retailers locations.