Imagine a newly ordered consignment of yours arrives at your warehouse unannounced without any shipping document. Yes, it is good that it is early, but there is no space to house it. Your existing stock is yet to be dispatched or utilized.
Research suggests, more than 90% of clients expect post-sales correspondence regarding order updates and progress.
In this case, it would have been more convenient if the new consignment had been estimated beforehand. With advance knowledge, warehouse managers could have made space in the inventory for the arriving order, or, failing that, postponed the delivery.
To avoid such business hurdles business, you can use Advance Shipping Notices (ASNs).
ASNs are documents provided before an order is dispatched to alert the recipient and prepare them for delivery.
Gartner defines an ASN as: “an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) message sent from the shipper to the receiver prior to the departure of the shipment from the shipper’s facility. The message includes complete information about the shipment and its contents.”
An ASN is an EDI or XML format-based business document that contains shipment details, such as the arrival time, size, and weight of a delivery.
ASNs are known by various names, like “outboard shipping manifest”, EDI 856, and more. Yet they all serve the same purpose of informing the recipient of the order’s arrival with details.
What does an ASN contain?
Although the contents of an ASN may vary by business, commonly included content is illustrated below:
With these details, the recipient can be better prepared for each consignment. Even better, both parties can spot any potential problems in the order at an early stage.
These details about upcoming shipments can answer such questions as:
- What is the order?
- What items does the order contain, and how many?
- What condition are the contents of the order in?
- Does the shipment contain all of the ordered items?
- What is the order’s estimated arrival time?
- Are barcodes or pallet codes an option for easy acquisition?
- Who is the shipping company?
- What is the shipment’s tracking number?
How does an ASN work?
Though small, ASNs can play a vital role in supply chain management.
Once a Purchase Order (PO) is generated and sent to the vendor, the consignment is accordingly made ready for shipment.
Prior to shipping, the vendor then sends the ASN to the receiving party. The order is then shipped.
Next, the ASN is compared with the PO for validation. If any discrepancy between the two is found, it is reported to the supplier then and there.
In addition to simplifying GRN creation, ASNs also help enhance inventory management.
Once the consignment is delivered, the sent ASN and PO are used to create a Goods Received Note (GRN), along with order verification and quality checks.
Advantages of an ASN
ASN creation not only informs the recipient about an upcoming order or consignment but offers many other business benefits:
– Easy GRN creation with PO and ASN matching/comparing
As previously mentioned, ASN ultimately makes GRN creation smoother.
– Order visibility
An ASN that includes all the minute details of a consignment increases transparency for the entire supply chain management process. This not only keeps track of the upcoming order, but also ensures both parties are treated fairly and have the same information.
– Warehouse management and order confirmation
One of the core advantages of sending an ASN is that it provides the recipient with advance notice about the order’s arrival. Along with maintaining transparency, the ASN also makes it easier for inventory management by sorting order-related issues in the initial phase. It can help with production planning, too, in the case of manufacturing companies that wish to increase assembly line efficiency. Finally, an ASN confirms the final order that was placed and agreed upon by both the businesses.
The main purpose of the ASN is to make business processes easier to manage. However, improving this element would add more value to the business:
- ASNs, as well as other EDI documents (like shipment status updates from transportation providers), help to streamline the supply chain process. By providing insights into the whereabouts of goods in transit, ASNs allow for greater transparency and planning. As a result, companies can confidently adopt real-time inventory management, freeing up working capital.
- Automating ASN creation can improve the process even more. Automation not only has the potential to save time: it can eliminate the need for manual intervention and drastically cut down on errors.
- By making API calls, vendors can directly send automatically generated ASNs to the client’s portal.
A process automation solution like Compleo from Symtrax, can greatly enhance business processes and logistics management. This solution generates an ASN automatically and then offers to deliver it directly to the client ERP or portal through either certified connectors or API calls.
An ASN is not simply a shipping document. This document serves multiple purposes and can improve various elements of a inventory management. To find our more, schedule a consultation with us today.