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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

GS1 issues ASN standards guidelines

Thursday April 26 2012

New Advanced Shipping Notification guide will help improve UK retailers’ supplier delivery processes

New Advanced Shipping Notification guide will help improve UK retailers’ supplier delivery processes


GS1 UK, the not-for-profit supply chain standards and solutions organisation, this week announced new guidelines to make it easier and cheaper for retailers and their suppliers to deploy advanced shipping notifications (ASNs).


The guidance, issued by the GS1 UK eCom Standards and Implementation Group (eSIG), whose members include, Sainsbury, Tesco, Waitrose, Heineken, PepsiCo, Nestle and Unilever, are intended to help drive cost and complexity out of the supply chain and enable faster and more accurate deliveries.


The eSIG members worked in partnership with GS1 UK to standardise the format of the ASN message, which is an electronic message that provides accurate information about the goods that are despatched by suppliers before they arrive at a premises.


Retailer standards collaboration


"We have joined forces to make it easier and cheaper for suppliers to start to use advanced shipping notifications for mutual benefit,” stated Jim Dickson, eSIG co-chair and Tesco stores inbound and flowthrough operations development manager for UK and the Republic of Ireland.


While several standards and message versions with retailer specific requirements have been used within the industry, the industry body said this lack of standardisation can cause undue complications within the supply chain. By ensuring the same GS1 standards are used, retailers can reduce the complexity for their suppliers, as well as cutting the cost and time it takes to implement electronic messages.


The new industry guidelines for ASNs align requirements across the supply chain, including which goods and how many are about to arrive, to make it easier for retailers to receive products and increase the efficiency of the receiving process through selective checking.


The guidelines are therefore designed to avoid costly and time-consuming delivery error resolution and payments reconciliation, which disrupts the flow and availability of goods throughout the supply chain.


Encouraging electronic adoption


Simon Tompsett, systems architect at Waitrose, said: “Standardisation should substantially reduce the initial effort required from any supplier wanting to adopt this efficient means of electronic communication and thereby provide the opportunity for efficiency savings which are to be welcomed in the current economic climate."


GS1 UK said the guidelines would enable retailers to plan for any delivery shortfalls through ASNs, thanks to accurate and timely information of expected goods before delivery. It can also make payment processes more efficient for both retailer and supplier through direct matching with invoices and a reduction in queries.


Phil Bach, UK distribution manager at Kraft, added: “This will enable us to benefit from a more efficient supply chain with reduced costs. The removal of paper, decrease in manual delivery checks, fewer invoicing queries and priority access to distribution centres will result in less errors and smoother and faster deliveries. Having a single ASN message standard, developed with GS1 UK, will enable our businesses to focus on the core business practice without worrying about different standards and versions being used in different operations.”