Advance Ship Notice (ASN)

EDI Document 856

What is an advance ship notice (ASN)?

An advance ship notice or advanced shipping notice (often abbreviated to ASN) is an electronic notification of a pending delivery, similar to a packing list. The ASN is a common EDI transaction, known as the EDI document 856, Outbound Ship Notice/Manifest or DESADV.

The primary purpose of the ASN is to provide tracking and packing information. The 856 will contain the contents that have been shipped.

The key data elements included in an ASN are:

  • Purchase order number
  • Ship notice number
  • Location where the product is be shipped to
  • Ship from/supplier
  • Ship and/or delivery date
  • Product/service identifiers such as UPC/EAN/GTIN with their respective quantities

Additional data that may also be included in the ASN:

  • Carrier reference/tracking numbers and service levels
  • Vendor number
  • Freight terms
  • Additional item identifiers such as buyer item number and vendor part number
  • Item description

Benefits of using an ASN

There are benefits to both the purchaser and the supplier when implementing electronic trading of the ASN. Many of these are dependent on how automated and integrated the transaction is for both parties. To optimize benefits, the document should be sent at the time of the physical shipment. Some of the benefits include:

  • Provides visibility to when an order has been shipped and what was included in the shipment
  • Increased accuracy of shipments.
  • Allows cross referencing for purchase orders against shipments.
  • Increases the speed of fulfillment and allows the retailer to have lower safety stock needs.

The ASN for cross dock

In the cross dock fulfillment model, the 856 will contain the end/mark for locations for the orders being shipped to a distribution center. The cross dock model commonly utilizes bar code labels to assist with receiving reconciliation and allows for product to flow through, removing the put-away and picking operations.

Key data elements for cross dock ASN:

  • Packaging structure (i.e. SOTPI/SOTI/SOPI)
  • GS1-128 numbers to correspond to physical bar code labels
  • Mark for locations

Additional benefits for using the ASN for cross dock:

  • Provides visibility for planning warehouse resources (labor, equipment and space)
  • Facilitates the movement of product through the warehouse through the use of the ASN data and GS1-128

The ASN for direct to store/warehouse delivery

The direct to store/warehouse ASN allows retailers to better manage and automate their store/warehouse receiving processes. With the use of the ASN data along with GS1-128 labels, it assists with product reconciliation and facilitates automated receiving.

Key data elements for direct store/warehouse:

  • Packaging structure (i.e. SOTPI/SOTI/SOPI)
  • GS1-128 serialized shipping container codes to correspond to physical bar code labels

Additional benefits:

  • Provides visibility for planning warehouse resources (labor, equipment and space) when shipping to the retailer location (MOVE TO DC/CROSSOCK)
  • Validation of how the cartons were packed
  • Prepare for future automated receiving at the stores and DC
  • Improve product flow-through to the store floor
  • Enables automatic capture of the GTIN and batch/lot numbers of each case for track and trace (also used to support FDA
  • Food Safety Modernization Act, Drug Supply Chain Security Act)
  • Allows for advance order allocation (DC/warehouse shipments)
  • Allows for faster recognition of item(s) not shipped to allow for quicker reorder

The ASN for drop ship

The ASN is used in the drop ship model is used to confirm items shipped to the end consumer. Without the ASN, the retailer has no visibility to the shipping status and tracking information of the customer order. Labels are commonly excluded here as the end consumer does not need a GS1 label; however the packing slip is a standard requirement to provide consumers a list of products shipped and the carrier carton label is also sometimes utilized. Both the packing slip and carrier carton label are also sometimes branded.

Key data elements for drop ship:

  • Customer order number
  • Small package carrier tracking number

Additional benefits:

  • Creates the “Goods Received” indication in ERP system
  • Facilitates the communication to the end customer that the product has been shipped
  • Receipt of the ship notice data can trigger collection of payment from the retailer’s customer

Want to learn more about specific EDI files?

Here’s a long list of EDI transactions commonly used in retail.

graphic showing raw EDI data for EDI 997, EDI 850, and EDI 852 transactions

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