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What is EDI 856?
An EDI 856 Advance Shipping Notice is an electronic version of a printed packing slip that tells a buyer how a supplier has packed their items for shipment. Most ASNs will follow either standard pack or pick and pack guidelines. Usually the buyer will specify how they want the goods packed.
The 856 Advance Ship Notice, or ASN, also tells the buyer that the goods have been shipped so they can be expecting the shipment.
The EDI Advance Ship Notice along with the GS1-128 (formely called UCC-128) bar code label contains the supplier's vendor number, ASN number, and carton number. Sample GS1-128 labels
The GS1-128 bar code label lets the receiving dock know what is in the supplier's cartons without having to open the cartons because the receiving dock can scan the bar code label and then check the EDI ASN that was previously received electronically from the supplier.
Companies use an EDI system to reduce the errors and costs associated with the manual keying of data, and to speed up the process of sending and receiving EDI Advance Shipping Notices.
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Related EDI Transactions
Most suppliers will also want to receive a 997 Functional Acknowledgement back after the buyer receives the 856 Advance Shipping Notice. The buyer sends the 997 Functional Acknowledgement back to the supplier to indicate that they successfully received the Advance Shipping Notice.
EDI documents are sent and received electronically using a VAN, Value Added Network. Part of the EDI 856 Advance Shipping Notice document will contain envelope information. The envelope information specifies which company is sending the document and which company is receiving the document. The sending and receiving companies are called trading partners because they exchange or "trade" the EDI Advance Shipping Notice and Functional Acknowledgements.
EDI is a mature electronic document format that has been carefully defined both by the companies that require their trading partners to use EDI and by standards bodies. The two recognized standards for EDI are ANSI X.12 and UN/EDIFACT. ANSI X.12 is by far the most widely used standard in the United States. UN/EDIFACT is more popular outside the United States, although it is used by US automotive manufactures.
Each EDI 856 Advance Shipping Notice document will have data organized into segments and data elements. Each segment contains at least one data element. Each data element is a data field. Examples of data elements on the Advance Shipping Notice include vendor number, item, quantity, price per item, street address, city, state and zip code, just like on a paper Advance Shipping Notice. The standards bodies have allowed for every conceivable possibility for data on the EDI Advance Shipping Notice document. Any one company will use a small subset of the available choices within the ANS X.12 or UN/EDIFACT standards.
Each company that requires its suppliers to use EDI will have an EDI Guide or mapping document. The EDI Guide will specify each segment and data element, the allowable values for each, and the applicable business rules that must be followed. EDI guides are detailed and extensive. It is not unusual for an EDI Guide to be more than 100 pages long.