What Is an Advance Shipping Note?

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  • Written By: K.C. Bruning
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2019
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An advance shipping note (ASN) is a notice of the imminent delivery of a package. It is also known as an advance shipping notice, delivery notification, or advance ship note. The document is typically sent automatically, via electronic means, when a packing slip is generated. A typical advance shipping note will include a detailed list of the items being sent, in addition to expected delivery time and methods.

It is common for an advance shipping note to inform the customer how a package has been packed in addition to what it contains. This will usually be a response or confirmation of instructions that the customer has given to the vendor while making the order. Many vendors have specific guidelines for packing and preparing ASNs according to both company guidelines and the specifications of certain customers.


Most advance shipping notes are sent via electronic data interchange (EDI), which is a messaging system similar to email. This kind of system is typically set up between a customer and vendor in order to expedite the transfer of various kinds of information. In order for the system to work, the vendor and customer must be in agreement about which kind of system to use and how to use it. Two of the most popular EDI systems are UN/EDIFACT and ANSI X.12. While there are many similarities among EDI systems, it is common for each company that uses them will also have specific guidelines for how to use them to send information such as ASNs.

An advance shipping note is typically generated once a packing slip has been created by the vendor’s system. This is also usually a way to let the customer know that the package is in transit. Part of the packing slip may be compiled as the order is being put together, such as in a warehouse. The picking list, which is created from information in the customer’s order, lets the employees preparing the package know which items to include. Information from this list can often be directly transferred to the ASN.

One of the most commonly used versions of the electronic packing list is the EDI 856. This document lists everything that will appear on the printed list that the customer will receive with the package. Most ASNs will also have client information, such as address, phone and customer number and order information, including pricing, quantity and vendor number.


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