Code 21s are for concealed shortages. Concealed shortages are defined in three ways: Inner Ctn. Shortages / Inner Pallet Shortages / Part Supplier Pack. In any case, the shortage was not visible when the facility first received the shipment. The shortage was not found until the vendor pack was broken or the shipment arrived at the store.
Code 21s can be difficult to fight because the POD will often be signed in full based on the quantity of vendor packs.
How to Prevent Valid Code 21s
Item Setup and Invoicing
Submit only one Invoice per PO when possible
Confirm your item setups
Vendor pack quantities
Warehouse pack quantities
Transmit invoices with Walmart item numbers
Match your invoice to the PO and don’t make adjustments on the invoice that don’t match PO
match units of measurement on the Invoice to the units on the PO
If you don’t agree with the quantity ordered, do not short ship. Rather, coordinate with Replenishment Manager or the buyer to request an updated purchase order.
Confirm that fulfillment information is correctly flowing to the warehouse (check your EDI)
Packaging and Labeling
DO NOT MASTERPACK
Identify PO number and Facility number on labels
Be sure labels are clearly applied, not damaged or obfuscated
Use color-coding/imagery to differentiate between products
Use slip sheets between POs if palletizing freight
Use color-coding/imagery to differentiate between orders
It is best to avoid co-mingling inventory for different Purchase Orders. Walmart expects one PO shipment per pallet or per box unless you have an agreement with the RM stating otherwise. If you do include multiple POs in a shipment you must clearly separate them, though it is still not recommended as this is one of the most common reasons for invalid shortage claims.
Can it be Disputed?
Code 21s can be disputed, but are often more difficult to win than standard code 22 or 24 shortages. If you can prove that the shipment was in full then it is worth filing a claim in the Accounts Payable Disputes Portal (APDP) in Retail Link.
How to Dispute Invalid Code 21s
Proof of Delivery showing items received (prepaid) or BOL showing items shipped in full (collect). Be sure the PO# is clearly listed on the POD.
Invoice (EDI 810) showing correct quantities invoiced
Purchase Order (EDI 850) showing requested quantities (optional)