Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN) is an electronically sent notification of an upcoming or pending delivery sent directly to the buyer from a third-party-logistics or the supplier, well in advance.
The ASN’s structure or format basically depends on what your prospective customer might demand or what information you need to provide being a supplier or a 3PL partner. Typically an ASN includes:
- Order information
- Delivery date and time
- Pallet codes
- Product details
- Location information
- Physical details of the consignment (the type of packaging, etc)
- Freight information
The ASN is a notification sent before the shipment is dispatched, followed by an invoice post or at the time of delivery. Usually, ASNs are provided by the third-party logistics companies, but can also be done by the sellers themselves if there is no 3PL involved. Talking about the modern sellers, they never accept packages which are delivered without an ASN from the supplier.
What happens after the Advanced Shipping Notice is received?
ASN is sent via electronic data interchange (EDI) now, which was earlier sent via fax. Once the ASN is received, it gets uploaded to the warehouse management system (WMS) of the client. The WMS or the transportation management system then processes the ASN file and the shipment is received at the distribution center, warehouse, or store.
To make it easier for the seller, the supplier can either put barcodes on all the shipped boxes, crates and cases or maybe attach RFIDs and add that information to the ASN. When the shipment is received, the seller scans the shipment’s serial shipping container code (SSCC) with the ASN to maintain accuracy. Any sort of error identified is directly notified to the supplier and is rectified.
To make sure that the same shipment hasn’t been received before, the associated purchase order is pulled out from the inventory system. Again, there can certainly be times when the order would be the same but not the SSCC.
The Importance and Benefits
ASN-based shipping and receiving practices assist businesses and buyers with quick and accurate loading and unloading of shipment, never forgetting the efficient sorting and management of inventory. ASN-based shipping rectifies loopholes like human-errors like confusing variants of similarly titled items. The time that is saved, is always an add-on.
If at all there occurs to be any discrepancy caused between the order placed and the shipment received, ASN makes it very quick to figure it out. With this, the seller can always claim the shipping insurance if at all anything goes missing and there is a changed number of shipments received at the other end.
ASN offers multiple logistical and supply chain benefits; helps with accurate and on-time dispatch and delivery. If someone from the warehouse team, who is in charge of the incoming consignments, is notified regarding the shipments that are expected to arrive, s(he) can easily arrange an outbound transportation of the same, accordingly.
The Challenges Involved
To get the ASN system implemented, there are certain investments that you need to make. RFIDs and barcode scanning are the core participants for the ASN system to work effectively. Now, what does this mean? This means that your entire supply chain should fulfill the aforementioned requirement. Just because of a lot of finances involved, the bigger suppliers and businesses adopt ASN before the smaller firms.
When it comes to accuracy, there are two faces. The major challenges with ASN are item quantity mismatch, line or header errors, etc. All these inaccuracies in the data will lead to unexpected delays, lost productivity, etc. Once the error is noticed, the client can intimate the vendor about it. Once this is done, the entire process has to be followed again, with rectified figures and resending the corrected ASN.
Along with all the above-mentioned challenges, training your staff to get acclimated with the ASN system is also a task. Once and only when they are all set, can ASN assist.