Jun 2018
What is Advanced Ship Notice (ASN) 856 transaction set?
(Last Updated On: June 7, 2022)

This post was updated to reflect current trends and information.

What is ASN?

An Advanced Ship Notice (ASN) is an X12 electronic document EDI (electronic data interchange).

In different EDI standards, this electronic document can have different names, for example, in ANSI standard this electronic document is called ASN or “Advanced Ship Notice” or 856 transaction. In EDIFACT the same document is DESADV “Dispatch Advice”. Nevertheless, no matter how this document is called: Dispatch Advice, 856 Ship Notice, Advanced Ship Notice, Advance Shipping Notice, 856 transaction set, 856 Ship Notice/Manifest, ASN, ASN message, EDI 856, ANSI x12 856,  it has the same mission and has the same business meaning.

An 856 Ship Notice message is intended to simplify and speed up the process of receiving goods, detailed information about the cargo, transfer of information about the shipment, and tracking the delivery. This information is used for receiving and inventory control purposes.

856 Ship Notice/Manifest does not physically accompany a shipment but is used to inform the recipient in advance, about the contents of the shipment.

Who Uses The Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN)?

In the supply chain, the ASN message is widely used by retailers, manufacturers, and 3PLs. EDI 856 is frequently exchanged document, even in Drop-ship fulfillment and e-commerce.

For more information about Drop-Ship, you can read our blog: 4 Challenges of EDI and Drop-Ship in eCommerce

Basically, the sender of Advanced Ship Notice is the warehouse, raw materials supplier, and carriers who are responsible for specifying and communicating the contents of a shipment.

The 856 Ship Notice/Manifest may be the most complicated document to implement because different trading partners can customize their requirements for EDI 856. In addition, ASN has multitudes level of information and a great volume of data.

Hierarchical Levels of Information of 856 Ship Notice/Manifest

A key feature of the Ship Notice/Manifest is the hierarchical level of data. The supplier can describe the details of a shipment due to a multitude of levels of data. Each level in the Ship Notice/Manifest describes the related details about a physical shipment. Usually, in the retail industry there are six defined levels in an EDI 856 (ASN):

  • Shipment – Information about shipment moving from a supplier (origin place) to a receiving location (Client), such as a bill of lading number, ship to, ship from, etc. There is only one shipment level in each transaction set.
  • Unit load – Information about a physical shipping item marked with a Serial Shipping Container Code and, consists of transport packages marked for multiple final destinations.
  • Order – Information related to the client’s original Purchase Order (EDI 850) such as purchase order number, buying place, division number, etc.
  • Tare – Information about the pallets. This level may be skipped if there are no identifiable pallets.
  • Pack – Information about the shipping package (cartons, racks, bags, etc.,) such as carton serial number. If there are no identifiable packs, this level may be skipped.
  • Item – Information about the shipped goods, such as SKU identification, quantity shipped, etc.

Ship Notice/Manifest Business Flow

Below we give you a simple example of Business processes that cause the Ship Notice/Manifest.

The order process begins with an EDI 850 Purchase Order from the client. To confirm the receipt of a purchase order, the supplier generates a Purchase Order Acknowledgement or X12 855 transaction set. Then, the supplier has to start the order processing procedure.

When the order is ready for delivery, the supplier collects all pertinent data relative to the shipment. Using this information, the supplier creates a Ship Notice/Manifest. The supplier must generate the Ship Notice, and transmit it to the client, immediately upon closing the truck. The client needs to receive and integrate the data of ASN 856 into his business systems prior to the physical arrival of the merchandise.

EDI- 850 example

Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN) Example

These two examples of Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN) 856 below show the XML file and the same file that was converted to EDI.

These two examples below describe how an Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN) 856 transaction set looks like in xml format, and then displays the same information in X12 format after it has been converted to EDI by our EDI2XML translation and communication service.

EDI 856 ASN (xml) Example:

EDI 856 example

EDI 856 X12 Example File:

EDI-656- example-levels

What Are the Benefits of Implementing the Ship Notice/Manifest for the Supply Chain?

1. Reduce off-loading time at receiving dock. Acceleration of goods acceptance, due to previously received information on the composition and structure (as packed) of the supply.

2. Reduce human errors on goods arrival, due to the partial exclusion of manual processing.

3. Automatic preliminary generation of acceptance certificates and discrepancies.

4. The EDI 856 (ASN) connects with bar code labels on transported pallets, boxes, or cartons, so there is the possibility of using the RFID scanner and transport package sequence number (SSCC) when accepting goods.

5. One more additional advantage of using the EDI 856 document is that customers receive information about shipments in advance so they can better manage their inventory coverage.

Advantages of Implementation Advanced Ship Notice

Implementation of the ASN document considerably decreases receiving costs and gives the possibility of warehouse automation.

  1. Eliminates the need for paper-based communications

2. Optimization of the process of goods acceptance.

3. No data entry errors.

4. Reduce administrative costs by increasing the accuracy of forecasting orders.

How to Get Started with Ship Notice/Manifest Transaction Set (856)?

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