What is an EDI 856?

EDI 856, also known as an Advance Shipping Notice or ASN, is an important, and frequently used EDI transaction among suppliers, distributors, manufacturers, and retailers. The ASN is used to advise the receiving party of a shipment and is required by many major retailers to be sent in a specific timeframe before the product arrives at the retailer’s distribution center or store.

EDI 856 documents follow the x12 format set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), a not-for-profit organization that regulates EDI formats in the U.S. For businesses using the EDIFACT standard, the equivalent of the EDI 856 is the DESADV, or Dispatch Advice Message.

Example of EDI 856

What are the Essential Components of EDI 856?

An ASN needs to contain important information about the order itself, as well as the details of the shipment. Key elements of EDI 856 include:

  • Shipment Number
  • Shipping Date
  • Expected delivery date
  • Ship from/to addresses and information
  • Purchase order number
  • Item details and quantities
  • Shipment tracking details (ex. BOL Number, PRO Number, Tracking Number)
  • Item tracking details where applicable (i.e. Serial number or lot numbers)
  • Packaging detail (ex. Which items are in a specific carton, which cartons on each pallet, etc.)
  • UCC128/GS1 Numbers

How do I Use EDI 856?

After receiving an order and preparing a shipment, the sellers or shippers then need to let the buyer, such as a retailer or distributor, know the details for the shipment they are about to receive.  This helps the buyer to plan ahead for incoming shipments, reconcile EDI 856 detail with incoming inventory, and automate receiving workflows. 

EDI 856 is a required EDI document for most major retailers. Using EDI to send this information makes it possible to rapidly provide retailers with the information they need for each shipment. Sellers can also use ASNs for their drop-shipping programs or to inform eCommerce marketplaces. These give the buyer expected delivery dates and tracking information.

ASNs are vital for distribution centers and warehouses. In many cases, the ASN may include additional details, such as mark-for locations and GS1-128 numbers for each carton or pallet. 

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What are the Benefits of EDI 856?

By using EDI 856 to send advance ship notices, sellers can quickly and easily keep buyers informed of upcoming deliveries. Because the EDI document pulls data directly from the order itself, as well as other shipping documents, this method also helps prevent errors. Suppliers can use ASNs to streamline partner communications, while creating an electronic document trail for each shipment, in case of discrepancies.

For retailers, using EDI 856 helps them track inbound inventory and plan labor based on upcoming deliveries. Additionally, ASNs allow buyers to automate the receiving process to quicker putaway.

After receiving EDI 856, a buyer responds with an EDI 997 Functional Acknowledgement.

EDI Format Example

EDI 856 is processed in a “raw” format, meant to be read by machines. The example below shows the raw EDI data, which is usually translated using integrated EDI software into a usable and human-friendly format. Translated EDI documents may look different depending on a business’s unique needs and systems.

Click to See Example

ISA*00*          *00*          *12*9622309900     *ZZ*AMAZON         *200604*1322*U*00401*         *0*T*>
N1*SF*Test Supplier DC*1*987654
N1*ST*Test Retailer*92*0574893


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