So you’re trying to improve visibility of your orders? There is a way – it’s called an advanced shipping notices (ASNs).

What is an ASN?

ASNs are provided by the supplier to let their customer know:

  • what is in the shipment
  • the delivery date and time
  • where the shipment is going
  • the product details
  • how it’s packaged
  • the carrier information.

Suppliers send the ASN to retailers once the shipment has been packed, allowing the retailer to plan to receive the goods.

How does an ASN work?

Retailers send the order through EDI as usual, and the supplier can respond with a purchase order response (POR) or acknowledgement (POA). When the supplier is ready to ship the goods:

  1. The supplier prepares the goods for delivery
  2. The supplier enters all the information on the ASN. This includes what goods are packed into what carton or pallet, if the goods are perishable or have a batch number, these details will go on there too, the supplier will enter the delivery date and more.
  3. The ASN will generate a serial shipping container code (SSCC) and label for each carton or pallet being created. The supplier will then print these labels and attach them to each package.
  4. When the supplier sends the ASN, the retailer receives the advanced shipping notice into their software for planning. It will include all the information the supplier had input in step 2.
  5. When the retailer receives the goods, they can simply scan the SSCC labels, which can be matched against the ASN information they received, to know exactly what’s come in.

The benefits of ASNs

It improves supply chain visibility

ASNs bring you a step closer to supply chain automation. ASNs will give you an understanding of what you’re receiving straight into your business systems. Your warehouse team can use this information to plan for the delivery in advance. They can also allow suppliers to add SSCC labels providing information of individual packing units (pallet, carton, etc). This allows buyers to cross check what has been received with what is in the ASN.

It can reduce warehouse costs

By knowing in advance what you’ll be receiving, your warehouse team can plan ahead. This ensures you can organise staff when you need them saving time and money. Cost savings in goods receiving activity can be as high as 40 to 50% .

It required much less manual data entry

ASNs are received directly into your business systems. No need for manual inputting of data which can produce costly errors.

It improves customer service

Customers want to know when they’ll be receiving their orders. Retailers, especially those using drop shipping, can send some of the delivery data from the ASN to customers. Customers will then be able to keep track of their order.

If you’re interested in ASNs and gaining more visibility of your supply chain, get in touch with our team.

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