What Is Advanced Shipping Notice?
Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN) is a document prepared by a supplier (the shipper) and submitted to a retailer (the receiver) that specifies the shipping dates and physical attributes of the shipment so the receiving party can be prepared for delivery.
Other names for an ASN may include Outbound Ship Notice, manifest, DESADV or EDI 856.
In order to prepare for the shipment delivery, the ASN gives the retailer the following information:
- The order(s) being shipped
- Items in the shipment and quantity
- Date the order was shipped
- Date and time the order(s) will arrive
- Whether or not the order is complete
- Barcode information
- Tracking numbers
- Pallet codes
- Location information
- Shipment’s weight
- Number of boxes
- Details of how the shipment units are packaged
- Transportation method used
- Carrier information
Why Is ASN Important?
Walmart and other retailers hold suppliers accountable for ASN accuracy.
Why? If there is an error between what was ordered and what was delivered, the ASN helps find the mistake to correct it quickly. For the supplier, the ASN supports a claim for shipping insurance if items are missing or damaged in transit.
The information provided ultimately saves both parties time and money in numerous areas:
Inventory Cost Savings
When retailers and distributors have accurate updates on the status of their deliveries, it allows them to manage inventory better. When inventory levels are controlled accurately, safety-stock can be kept at a minimum.
Being able to keep inventory in check also supports the stores’ on-shelf availability and increases the retailer’s open-to-buy budget for greater customer satisfaction.
Benefits to Supply Chain
The accuracy of departure and arrival dates on the ASN helps improve supply chain performance. When the shipment is going to a warehouse or distribution center, the receiving team gets notification of when the delivery will arrive. This allows them to prepare for unloading and transition to an outbound store delivery.
ASN accuracy provides cost-savings at warehouses not only in labor but also in waste management. This is especially important in produce deliveries. Faster turn-around times from warehouse to store keep wasted produce levels at a minimum.
Online Ordering (Drop Shipments)
An ASN is especially important for purchases on the retailer’s website. Since the package is being shipped directly to the customer (a drop-ship order), accurate shipment information is key to a positive customer experience.
The customer is looking for tracking numbers, method of delivery (UPS, FedEx, or other carrier information), and arrival date. The ASN can further be used in payment from the customer’s credit card.
Submitting to Retailer: ASN EDI
An ASN is normally submitted online via EDI (Electronic Data Interchange). After the retailer receives the supplier’s ASN, it is entered into the retailer’s warehouse management system (WMS).
From here, the ASN is processed and the shipment is received at the store, warehouse, or distribution center.
ASN for E-commerce
Online shopping continues to grow, so the accuracy in drop-shipment information has never been more scrutinized. Correct and complete ASN information for drop-shipments to the customer is imperative for tracking information.
For online purchases, the ASN is submitted to the retailer normally. The retailer then provides tracking information to the customer.
Walmart ASN Compliance and Penalties
Walmart has raised ASN accountability standards for its suppliers. In addition to reducing manual processing and problem freight to reconcile, Walmart is trying to build faster invoice cycles for suppliers to improve On Time In Full (OTIF) performance.
To prevent receiving monetary fines for non-compliance, Walmart suppliers should verify the accuracy of ASNs in these areas:
- Submission – Walmart must receive the valid ASN prior to the shipment arriving.
- Purchase Order (PO) Line Coverage – All lines from the submitted PO must be represented on the ASN.
- Item accuracy – All items in the physical shipment are listed on the ASN.
- Quantity accuracy – The quantity of items submitted on the ASN matches the physical shipment.
To assist suppliers in their ASN performance, Walmart has created ASN and SQEP (Supplier Quality Excellence Program) dashboards.
Walmart Supplier ASN Penalties
Walmart suppliers will receive monetary fines for non-compliance with ASN expectations. Fines will be issued as a result of two defect types:
- ASN not downloaded – Any physical shipment that does not have a corresponding ASN will result in a fine.
- ASN inaccuracy – Items and/or quantities in the physical shipment that do not match the information on the ASN will result in a fine.
A complete and accurate ASN saves you time and money (in penalties and lost sales). Walmart holds its suppliers accountable for ASN compliance to ensure a better customer experience.
If you have any questions about ASNs, dashboards, or how to improve your supply chain, speak with a Walmart expert today.