Now that we have covered purchase orders and invoices in previous posts, it is time to talk about ASN’s, that is Advance Ship Notices. We will cover what they are used for and how they work. Here is the summary – An ASN is basically an electronic version of a printed packing slip. It communicates to your customer how you have packed your items for shipment and it shows the destination of the shipment as well as the delivery schedule.
The purpose of ASN’s
The ASN allows the sender to describe in detail the configurations and contents of a particular shipment in the levels of detail that your customer requires which then helps them be cost competitive in the management of their supply chain. The benefits have been studied and proven over many years and consequently most large customers make it mandatory that all of their suppliers send them ASN’s through EDI.
Barcode Shipping Labels and Receipt of Your Product
Customers that require ASN’s almost always also require GS1-128 barcode labels (formerly UCC-128). The barcode label works with the ASN. Here is how they are related: The barcode label is placed on each carton to be shipped. When the carton arrives at its destination, the label is scanned by the personnel on the receiving dock at your customer’s warehouse, distribution center, or store.
Using a scanner to read the numbers on the barcode label on a carton enables your customer to quickly retrieve the exact ASN you previously sent to them describing the contents of that carton. Consequently they know what is in the carton without having to actually open up it. The carton can then be routed efficiently and your shipped items can be automatically released into your customer’s inventory system without them having to key them in. This saves your customer time, speeds up acceptance of your shipment, and improves the accuracy of the whole process.
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