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About Advance Shipment Notification (ASN)


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An Advance Shipment Notification (ASN) is an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) formatted notification of pending deliveries. It is a message that informs the customer of the actual dispatch of a shipment and indicates its expected arrival date and other detailed information.

In the EDI system, it is known as an EDI 856 document. It can be used to list the contents of a shipment of goods as well as additional information relating to the shipment, such as order information, product description, physical characteristics, type of packaging, marking, carrier information, and configuration of goods within the transportation equipment. The ASN enables the sender to describe the contents and configuration of a shipment in various levels of detail and provides an ordered flexibility to convey the information. Modern receiving operations rarely have time to break down a shipping unit (carton or pallet) and identify its components. They depend instead on quick scans of bar codes on shipping labels. An ASN can provide a list of all of the bar coded ID numbers of the shipping units and the contents of each one. The time required to receive the load is then greatly reduced.

Suppliers can also send ASNs with billing information. These contain the same information as ASNs plus invoice and tax information. Once an ASN with billing information is validated in the receiving open interface and imported into the purchasing routine, an invoice for the shipment is created automatically.

ASN types

Type Description
New ASN The initial ASN. An ASN can also contain substitute item information. To accurately handle substitutions, the supplier must indicate both the buyer’s original item number and the buyer’s substitute item number on the ASN. With both identifiers available, substitutes can be validated as allowed, and a valid substitute item is referenced against valid purchasing document information.
Cancellation ASN Once validated, it cancels the initial (New) ASN if the New ASN has not yet had a receipt created against it. The shipment number on the Cancellation ASN is matched to the shipment number on the validated, New ASN.
Test ASN This type of ASN is sent by the supplier usually to make sure that the ASN transmission works between you and your supplier. A Test ASN is verified as if it were a New ASN. A Test ASN is not available for creating a receipt against it and is not visible as inbound supply.