An Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN) is a popular form of communication in the warehousing industry. It is used to let customers know about an arriving shipment before it is completely delivered. A shipper will send out an ASN to a customer to alert them that a shipment is on its way. Then the recipient can prepare in advance for the order that is about to arrive.
Every client in a warehouse has a slightly different set of standards for how he or she wants to receive information about his or her inventory. ASNs are mostly used in the retail or wholesale industries, so merchants can provide their clients with up-to-date product availability information. A reseller and a warehouse will set up a communication agreement when they begin working together indicating whether or not the reseller would like to receive ASNs, and then it's the warehouse's job to abide by the terms of the agreement.
There are many different ways warehouses and shipping companies can send an ASN to a customer. Most commonly, an ASN will come in the form of an email or a fax, but it may also be incorporated as part of the inventory management system for the warehouse as a whole. The information on the ASN will vary from client to client, but it may include the weight of the shipment, the number of cartons or pallets the shipment includes, the carrier information, a tracking number or tracking numbers, the purchase order number, and an estimated date of delivery. Some resellers are more specific than others about the type of information they want to receive in their ASN.
Clients use ASNs to prepare their facilities for an upcoming shipment. This gives them a forewarning in case they need to adjust their staff or equipment availability to suit a larger load than usual. Along those lines, resellers do not want to overstaff for an incoming shipment if it is not as large as usual. An ASN with the right amount of information gives the reseller a chance to move their resources around well in advance.
Ideally, an ASN should be sent out as soon as the shipment is processed. Once the tracking information is generated, the sender should relay that to the client so they can start preparing for the shipment right away. For late shipments (those that are not sent out until the latter portion of the day), the ASN may not be generated or sent out until the following day. The goal is to get the information to the client as soon as possible.
Some resellers will issue chargebacks for late ASNs, which means that they charge the warehouse a fee for not sending them the shipping information in a timely manner. This fee may also be assessed if the ASN never reaches the reseller at all. Luckily, advances in modern technology keep most resellers up-to-date about their shipments in real-time, with minimal human error.
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