What is an ASN?
ASN is short for Advanced Shipment Notice and informs the person receiving the shipment of the progress it’s making as well as an estimated delivery date. Nowadays, this happens electronically via an Electronic Data Interchange while previously employees sent it manually via fax.
Other information in the ASN includes…
- Location of the shipment
- What it includes and how much of it
- Weight of the package
- Sender’s & receiver’s location
- Information about the delivery courier transporting the package
- Tracking number, SSCC (Serial Shipping Container Codes), batch & lot numbers, pallet codes
Other Words for ASN
- Outboard Shipping Notice
- EDI 856
- Shipment Notification
What are the benefits of using an ASN?
Sending ASNs increases inventory accuracy and reduces shipping errors but most importantly, it can improve your level of customer service. They are crucial for companies that operate a global supply chain. A lot can happen from A to B and everyone involved needs to be up to date about the shipment. Without them, there would be a lot more stress, issues wouldn’t be addressed in a timely manner, and in the end, the customer might ask for compensation.
By giving all the important information beforehand, the receiver can check in advance if there are any problems with the order. And who doesn’t love to exactly know when a package will come?
Additionally, cross-checking orders is easier because the involved people along the supply chain can match information captured from the SSCC to the data provided in the ASN. That eliminates the dangers of manual verification and speeds up processes. The best case scenario here is when you implemented a barcode scanner system connected to your inventory/warehouse management system. If you haven’t, make sure to read our guide on boosting your business with barcodes.
What are the challenges with creating ASNs?
The creation of the ASNs itself doesn’t really pose any challenges. However, a business needs to initially invest in implementing RFDI (Radio Frequency Identification) and a barcode system to make the most out of the process. Also, employees need to be trained on creating them to prevent inaccuracies in the notices like item quantity mismatch or header errors. If you fail to do so, the mismatch in the data leads to delays since your staff needs to do the whole process again to resend the right ASN.
Who creates an ASN and how?
The shipper (3rd party logistics company or seller) sends an ASN to the receiver in form of a shipment notification email and as a final order fulfillment confirmation. Don’t get it mixed up with the BOL (Bill of Lading) which is a physical document attached to the shipment. The ASN is only there to update in advance of the physical shipping.
Depending on what industry you’re operating in, the information, as well as the form of transmission, can be customized to your needs.
Normally, the sender of the ASN puts barcodes on the shipment and adds that information to the ASN.