6.8.2. How to Integrate with Ace Hardware?

This "How to" should provide you with the necessary steps to implement a working integration with Ace Hardware from scratch using Babelway.

Figure 6.2. 


Preferred Protocols and Message Formats. As an Ace Hardware supplier, you will be expected to send X12 (version 4010) messages through an AS2 connection.

Contact and Resource information. 

ACE paperwork

Before you begin your Babelway configuration, you will have to complete the following paperwork:

  • A vendor compliance EDI agreement: In essence, this document is your "EDI contract with ACE". It formalizes your agreement to use EDI to exchange legally binding business documents. It also indicates that if you opt for a third party to assist you in your integration you take full responsibility for any problems which arise from this collaboration. The document also provides conditions for this content exchange: properly signing transactions etc. At the time where we write this 'how to', Babelway technically supports all these security requirements. If you have any technical questions concerning these clauses feel free to email them to support@babelway.com.
  • EDI partner profile form: This document will include all the specificities of your exchanges with ACE hardware.

To complete your EDI partner profile, after filling in the contact section information, you will run into more technical questions:

Figure 6.3. 


To complete this section:

  1. Select the flows you wish to enable with ACE. Note that 810 CM is credit memo, and 820 RA is remittance advice. If you are a Drop Ship Only vendor, then you won't be implementing the 850 and 856 flows. Those are mandatory however for other vendors.
  2. You will have an AS2 ID to communicate after configuring your gateways (see next section).
  3. Indicate your EDI qualifiers. If you're not certain what to use here, see X12 communication identifiers for more information on the subject.

Once your form is completed, and you send it back to ACE an EDI recruiter from ACE will get back to you to explain the testing process and next steps.

Configuring your gateways

In order to communicate a valid AS2 ID in your EDI profile form, start by configuring an AS2 gateway in with dummy information:

Figure 6.4. 


Go to the properties section of your gateway and download the AS2Specifications.zip.

Figure 6.5. 


It contains a PDF document. The ID required to complete your EDI partner profile form is the "Identity" in that document. With this complete, you can send back your form to ACE.

Figure 6.6. 


To proceed further with ACE, you will need to exchange URL and certificate information with them. The zip you downloaded previously is all ACE will need from you. You will require from them:

  1. Their AS2 ID
  2. Their certificate for verification
  3. Their AS2 URL

Completing your gateway in:  Use the above information to complete your gateway IN as follows:

Figure 6.7. 


Completing your gateway out: Use ACE's information to complete your gateway OUT as follows: 

Figure 6.8. 


For pure connectivity testing purposes, you can set up simple incoming and outgoing channel with "Not defined" message definitions.

This will allow you to postpone connection to your ERP and your content mapping efforts to a later stage.

Configuring your channels

You will have to automate the following flows with ACE:

Figure 6.9. 


Drop Ship Vendor Only. EDI compliance is reached after sending out invoices (810).

For other vendors.  EDI compliance is reached by implementing the following flows:

  1. Receiving Purchase Orders (850)
  2. Sending back functional acknowledgements (997)
  3. Sending advance ship notices (856)
  4. Sending out invoices (810)

Sending out advance ship notices allows you to receive product activity announcements (852). Similarly, once you are able to receive invoices, you can start receiving remittance advices (820).

If you only implement the mandatory flows you will already be configuring three channels to send content to ACE:

Figure 6.10. 


Make sure to reuse the same gateway out every time. Additionally, you will have to configure four channels to receive ACE content. For each of these channels (except the one sending out 997s), ACE will send back functional acknowledgements within 24 hours of your original transmission. If you wish to correlate these functional acknowledgements with the original messages you sent out, you can check out Babelway's support for X12 functional acknowledgements. If you decide to automate the reception of purchase orders (receiving 850s), you will have to send back functional acknowledgements and you will have to automate the 856 - advance ship notice flow as well as ACE expects an ASN per purchase order they send out through EDI. You can choose to do this automatically using Babelway [1]:

Figure 6.11. 


You can configure this using Babelway's 997 implementation or by letting your ERP send acknowledgements back that you can map to meet ACE's requirements. Again, be careful to share your AS2 gateways IN and OUT throughout these channels.

Note that depending on your own message formats, you may choose to configure separately a channel for invoices and one for credit memos. Similarly, you may wish separate channels to handle payment orders and remittance advices.

Message definitions.  To configure your X12 (version 4010) message definitions in these channels, you can use the samples provided on ACE Hardware's message specifications and samples page.

Once this is set up you are all set to test and validate your integration flows with ACE.

This documentation is based on our integration projects but we'd love to enhance and update it with your own feedback and experience: support@babelway.com.

Last update: Dec 1 2017



[1] ACE's requirements for 997s include the use of AK1, AK2, AK5 and AK9 segments. The functional acknowledgements we generate meet those requirements.