ASN stands for "Advance Shipping Notice". It is a notification of a delivery that is upcoming and is most commonly sent electronically via EDI. It is often requested by the buyer as part of its trading or EDI requirements. An ASN is sent directly in advance of the shipment from a supplier or third-party logistics company to a buyer to improve the efficiency of the goods receiving process.
An ASN is referred to as various terms depending on the EDI standard used. In the GS1 EANCOM standard, it is called the DESDAV, despatch advice message, whereas in the ANSI X12 EDI standard it is called the EDI 856 Advance Ship Notice, also sometimes called a Ship Notice/Manifest.
What is included in an ASN?
Not only does an ASN inform the buyer when the shipment will be delivered it also confirms additional information that help the buyer prepare for the delivery, enabling the receiving costs to be reduced (according to Supply Chain Digest the cost saving potentially is generally thought to be by about 40%).
The content of the ASN depends on the trading partners’ requirements, but typically includes:
- Order information - the purchase order number or reference should be included at a minimum
- Delivery details - the delivery date, time and booking reference
- Location information - Global Location Numbers (GLNs) to identify all trading partners involved in the transaction (supplier, buyer and carrier where appropriate) and the delivery address should be included in all ASN's
- Pallet codes - it is important that the buyer knows how many pallets will be included
- Physical characteristics - what package will be used, for example pallet type
- Product details - a description of the products should be included - some companies also include case size although this is not mandatory. GTIN's, which stand for Global Trade Item Number and are the unique number that identifies products, should also be included for each product line.
Why do buyers request an ASN?
In many cases, ASN’s are provided by the third-party logistics company making the delivery, and some buyers won't accept a shipment without them. Why? Quite simply due to the improvements they make in warehouses and distribution centres to the receiving process - the ASN gives the buyer an early warning if the supplier cannot fulfil the delivery in full and they can then plan and make decisions accordingly to ensure there are no disruptions to the supply chain.
ASN's and SSCC's
ASN’s are often used in conjunction with SSCC's which stands for Serial Shipping Container Codes to further improve the efficiency of the receipt and reconciliation process. SSCC's are used to identify and track logistics unit, which simply means items which have been packaged together for storage or transportation, for example outer cases, pallets or entire shipments. SSCC labels can be scanned and matched against the ASN to reconcile what is received, against what the buyer was told would be sent.
Do ASN's benefit suppliers?
Sending an ASN quickly and easily keeps buyers informed of upcoming deliveries and improves the level of customer service they provide. They can also be used by suppliers as an electronic document trail for each shipment, in case of discrepancies.
ASN's and TrueCommerce's EDI Platform
The ability to exchange ASN's is just one component of TrueCommerce’s EDI solution. The platform also includes the ability to create ASN’s with compliant SSCC labels, to find out more click here or simply fill in the form below.
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