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What is an Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN)? Key Benefits of Advanced Shipping Notices


By Komal Puri | June 29, 2023

A strong ASN allows firms to improve logistics operations, make Inventory management more effective, and keep customers happy. But there are more benefits when you acknowledge its importance within the supply chain and learn how to use it to your advantage. This blog will tell you everything. Let’s start.

What is an Advanced Shipping Notice

It's easier to know the basic idea. Put simply, an ASN is the electronic confirmation sent by a supplier to a recipient with details about a future delivery. Therefore, ASN is necessary for making supply chain functions run efficiently, and inventory management smarter through exact details of pending deliveries

What Does an Advanced Shipping Notice Include?

ASN is a multi-purpose document containing various information about the upcoming delivery, such as:

  • Product Description

  • Quantity of different items

  • Packaging type

  • Item weight and dimension

  • Supplier information

  • Carrier details

  • Estimated delivery date

  • Purchase order numbers

  • Tracking number

  • Barcodes

As you can see, ASN can also contain information (last three) to identify the correct recipient of the order.

Key Benefits of Advanced Shipping Notices

Here are some key benefits of implementing a robust ASN for both suppliers and recipients.

a) Improved Supply Chain Visibility and Planning: ASN provides real-time updates on upcoming shipments. This enables both suppliers and recipients to plan their operations more effectively. Further, this real-time supply chain visibility can also help to reduce inventory levels, implement resource allocations that are not overly expensive or dangerous, and avoid stockouts in storages continuing to fill up.

b) High Receiving Efficiency: ASN notifies the recipient about the upcoming shipment prior its arrival at either warehouse or distribution center. This allows the recipient enough time back up storage, recruit manpower and streamline other procedures involved to minimize delays.

c) Better Order Accuracy: Shipment errors regarding missing or incorrect item deliveries are rare but might happen with customers. In this regard, ASN provides details of the product shipped to the recipient when the item leaves the source site. Therefore, customers get enough time to check order accuracy to avoid lengthy exchange procedures.

d) Low Lead Times and Fast Processing: Advanced shipment notification powers recipients to process administrative tasks for order fulfillment in advance. On the other hand, shippers can save this extra time at the recipient end for other value-added activities to up customer satisfaction.

The Advanced Shipment Notification Process

The ASN process goes through a series of well-coordinated steps between the supplier and the recipient.

  1. Order Placement: The process initiates with a basic business transaction between the buyer and the supplier. The order received contains products required in quantities with an address of delivery.
  2. Shipment Preparation: The supplier prepares the order for shipment and gathers all data for ASN creation, such as product details, package details, carrier selection, and ETA.
  3. ASN Creation: Next, the shipper generates ASN through an electronic data interchange (EDI) or other compatible systems using the shipment info.
  4. ASN Transmission: The supplier sends this ASN to the recipient before the package leaves the source.
  5. Receiving and Verification: The recipient receives the ASN and verifies it against the order placement to check accuracy and prepare the facility for hassle-free unloading.
  6. Shipment Arrival and Reconciliation: As the shipment arrives, the recipient cross-verifies items against the ASN to check for discrepancies and update inventory records accordingly.

Importance of Advanced Shipment Notice in the Supply Chain

Let’s explore how ASN plays a critical role in the modern supply chain in fostering collaboration, improving work efficiency, and enhancing customer satisfaction.

a) Demand Planning and Inventory Management: You get enough time to manage inventory levels when you receive the shipment details in advance through ASN. It also helps businesses minimize stockouts and plan other dependent operations more efficiently.

b) Warehouse Operations Optimization: ASN allows the recipient to prepare the warehouse for the upcoming delivery. This involves many tasks such as storage space allocation, planning labor work distribution, and preparing necessary documents (gate passes, security documents, etc.).

c) Effective Communication and Collaboration: ASN ensures the supplier and recipient stay clear about the order from the start. Additionally, on-time information exchange prepares both parties to synchronize their operations and address any issue before it gets too late. While the seller meets on-time delivery, the buyer experiences service satisfaction with synched operation.

d) Supply Chain Visibility and Responsiveness: ASN offers a bird’s view of the entire supply chain to both parties involved in the product transaction. The real-time update about incoming items prepares companies to avoid unwanted delays or disruptions at the receiving end with ease.

What Information Does the ASN Include?

ASN typically includes all information necessary for effective planning and coordination from both ends of the supply chain.

Here is a quick overview of the details mentioned: 

  • Product Details:  SKU, Description and Quantity.
  • Packaging Details: Weight, Dimensions, and Packaging Type.
  • Supplier Information: Name, Address, and Contact Details.
  • Carrier Details: Carrier Name, and Tracking Number.
  • Estimated Delivery Date
  • Relevant identifiers: Purchase Order Number and Barcodes

How ASN Helps Buyers

An advanced shipment notification helps buyers with:

  1. Systematic Check-in Operations: Buyers can check ASN details to acknowledge the exact date and approximate time of goods arrival. This helps in preparing for the process in advance with efficient warehouse and labor management.
  2. Verify Order Accuracy: There is hardly any room for any discrepancies as ASN verifies the orders received are as per the agreement between both parties. This reduces the time-consuming reprisals for incorrect or missing items.
  3. Easy Inventory Management: ASN helps buyers acknowledge incoming shipments in advance to adjust the inventory levels easily to avoid stockouts or overstock situations. That said, buyers become able to optimize working capital while keeping customers happy at the same time.
  4. Quick Order Fulfilment: As ASN offers a quick way to check and verify order information of incoming shipments, buyers experience faster order fulfillment with shorter lead times.

What is an EDI Advanced Shipping Notice?

The term EDI stands for Electronic Data Interchange. Likewise, EDI ASN means the electronic data exchange of shipping information between trading partners without any human intervention. There is no manual data entry involved. Buyers receive real-time updates and instant communication regarding the shipment. Due to process automation, EDI ASN offers more accuracy, a quicker processing window, and higher supply chain efficiency than traditional ASN communication.

When Do You Use ASNs?

If you are in a business that deals with high order volumes, handles time-sensitive items, or involves a complex supply chain, you need ASNs. They will help you maintain prompt and clear communication throughout the supply chain.

ASNs are mostly used in the following:  

  • Retail
  • E-commerce
  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution

Clear visibility into specific details about the shipment ensures any discrepancies can be spotted and addressed through open communication between suppliers and receivers.

Future Trends and Innovations in Advanced Shipping Notices

Let’s look at some possible technological innovations that current ASN technology looks forward to in years to come.

A. Possible Technical Upgrades

  • Automation and Robotics: Advanced automation systems can process a vast amount of shipping data with real-time updates for ASN generation. On the other hand, companies can use robotics to handle and sort goods to align physical logistics according to ASN data.
  • Cloud Computing: When dealing with lots of shipping data for managing ASNs that require fast real-time data exchange speed via any corner of the supply chain, cloud computing becomes the inevitable option.

B. Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

  • Predictive Analysis: Logistic operations are full of unpredictable potential issues that hamper meeting customer demands efficiently. However, AI and ML algorithms can analyze past customer demand patterns and historical ASN data to predict future shipping requirements and potential issues to prepare for to ensure happy customers.
  • Intelligent Routing and Resource Optimization: Shipping operations can leverage AI-powered ASN systems to reduce operation costs and improve efficiency. AI can fetch real-time traffic conditions to optimize routes, while ML can analyze delivery windows and carrier capacities for efficient resource allocations.

C. Internet of Things (IoT) and Blockchain Technologies

  • Internet of Things (IoT): The use of IoT in ASN can help with the proactive monitoring of shipping items in real-time. In this regard, companies can use advanced IoT sensors and RFIDs. They can monitor weather conditions and the location of containers in real time to tackle dynamic shipping conditions easily.
  • Blockchain Technology: Blockchain is based on the distributed ledger concept. It can be used to provide tamper-proof access to confidential ASN data and protect it from unwanted breaches.
  • Smart Contracts: Nowadays, it is possible to imagine automatic contract execution and payment processes through smart contracts powered by blockchain-secured ASNs. Blockchain technology can automatically verify and validate ASN-based transactions without any administrative interference.
  • Supply Chain Traceability: Each transaction in the supply chain can be recorded as a permanent and unaltered block inside ASN using Blockchain. This will offer access to real-time shipping transactions to manufacturers, shippers, and receivers to foster trust and reduce discrepancies.

End Thoughts

The correct use of ASN can greatly benefit you managing the complex and demanding supply chain process. The shipping industry benefits from improved supply chain visibility, better order accuracy, and reduced lead times in a robust ASN-driven process. Using ASN with advanced technologies like AI, ML, and Blockchain can help companies stay ahead of the competition, reduce costs, and build strong relationships with trading partners. All they need to do is to select an ideal

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Who issues ASN?

ASN is typically issued by the supplier to the receiver before the order shipment from the warehouse.

Q2. How Do I Get an ASN?

If you’re a recipient, you will receive ASN from your supplier. Your supplier can transmit ASN through EDI systems, supply chain management software, or a direct communication channel.

How can FarEye Help with ASN?

FarEye is a leading provider of supply chain management and logistics software solutions. Our industry-leading technology helps businesses automate and streamline ASN processes to improve their logistics operations quickly. FarEye's advanced solutions helps you easily generate, transmit, receive and restore ASN data without any manual effort. This means complete transparency of operations, high efficiency and happy customers.

Komal puri

Komal Puri is a seasoned professional in the logistics and supply chain industry. As the Senior Director of Marketing and a subject matter expert at FarEye, she has been instrumental in shaping the industry narrative for the past decade. Her expertise and insights have earned her numerous awards and recognition. Komal’s writings reflect her deep understanding of the industry, offering valuable insights and thought leadership.

Komal Puri
Sr. Director of Marketing | FarEye

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