ASN or DESADV, a key EDI message in the supply chain


Large-scale retailers are increasingly demanding use of the ASN or DESADV message from their suppliers to enhance the traceability of their trading operations and optimize the logistics chain. ASN stands for Advanced Shipping Notice, otherwise known as a shipping note. ASN is also known by the abbreviation DESADV or the term Despatch Advice when working with the EDIFACT standard, widely used in other regions of the world and mainly in Europe.

What is the ASN/DESADV?

The ASN is an electronic data interchange (EDI) message designed to ensure that the goods shipped by the supplier match the purchase order placed by the distributor or retailer. This makes it one of the most relevant messages in sectors such as retail or the automotive industry, although it can be used in all kinds of business transactions.

What information does it contain?

An advanced shipping notice reports the content of the package and order-related details. For example, it includes the number of items, description of each article, brands and sender information, etc. In any case, there is no set file structure, as one of the main advantages of EDI is precisely its adaptation to each type of market or transaction.

Some distributors opt to implement a shorter version of the ASN, mainly focused on the quantity of articles, their description and the supplier details. Nevertheless, the usual way is to develop a more complete ASN message, which provides full traceability and facilitates loading and storage tasks. In this sense, the despatch advice may include other information such as how items are arranged on the pallet, expiry dates or packaging numbers.

What are the advantages of ASN?

The main benefit of the ASN message for retailers is that they can check at a glance whether the goods they are about to receive match their purchase order. With EDI, both documents are traced, so that in the event of any discrepancy the customer is notified.

Moreover, warehouses can plan the offloading of new products in advance, as they have advance information. This way, it is possible to speed up the reception process, optimizing space and human resources. It also allows better stock control.

For suppliers, the most notable benefit of using ASN is that product delivery activities are improved, thanks to faster action. Bear in mind that EDI lets you work automatically. Once your customer’s platform receives the advanced shipping notice, the solution automatically responds with a confirmation note, which speeds up the process. This confirmation document is another advantage, as it constitutes an endorsement ensuring that the goods have been delivered.

How to implement the ASN message?

The EDI solutions developed by EDICOM are ready to use the ASN message in the X12 standard, widely used throughout America, but also in other languages like XML or EDIFACT. The software is adaptable to each company’s needs. In this sense, there are two possible rollout options:

  • Integrated EDI. This solution is recommended for companies exchanging a medium to high volume of documents, as it is integrated with the ERP and can automate transactions with no need to modify in-house working conditions.
  • Web EDI. An alternative for companies handling low transaction volumes, as no technical implementations need to be carried out in the company. The process for sending and receiving EDI messages such as ASN takes place through a private, secure web environment.

More than 14,000 companies around the world already rely on EDICOM’s EDI solutions to optimize their B2B communications. You can check out some success stories here.

UNCTAD adopts Cargo XML standard developed by IATA


The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has announced that it is taking up the Cargo XML standard . This e-messaging standard developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is already used in over 90 countries worldwide to simplify communications between airlines, freight forwarders and customs authorities.

From now on, the Cargo XML schema will be integrated with  UNCTAD’s automated customs system, ASYCUDA World. This step towards digitization will cut down the information duplicated, optimize supply change management enhance security and modernize customs transactions. But beyond that, the use of this standardized e-messaging schema will also further the development of international trade.

Bear in mind that by using Cargo XML, based on EDI technology, shipping agents will be able to consult their cargo freight-related documents in real-time. This streamlines logistics operations and enables them to anticipate each task, saving time, something that was not possible with the previous standard, Cargo IMP.

Towards digitization of the air freight sector

IATA’s collaboration with UNCTAD in the spread of e-communications is just a small part of the modernization process the sector is going through in the global scope. The association’s goal is to completely eliminate the use of paper in air freight processing.

To achieve this aim, some years ago the IATA rolled out an e-freight initiative, to promote the uptake of Cargo XML in airlines, airports and customs worldwide. Estimates point to the implementation of a fully electronic system reducing the use of paper by roughly 7800 tons annually.  This would make the air freight sector more sustainable, but would also mean great economic savings arising from the simplified management of these documents and their physical storage.

For now, the statistics from the IATA confirm that global penetration of the electronic air waybill (e-AWB), the most important freight document, was 48.9% in December 2016. Although the figure was somewhat far from the 56% originally planned, the association expects to reach 62% by the end of this year.

Solution to join Cargo XML

EDICOM is part of the Strategic Partnership initiative, as a key IATA partner in the Cargo XML schema area. In this sense, the company has developed a platform that automatically generates the electronic messages defined by the IATA on the basis of this standard. In addition, the EDICOM Air solution translates the previous Cargo IMP standard and links up directly and securely with the customs authorities in each country, thanks to the Public Administration HUB.

Facturae growth up 31% in 2016


More than two years have passed since the rollout of compulsory Facturae for the public sector and its suppliers, a technological leap that has gradually become consolidated. In 2016, around 7,882,585 e-invoices were submitted to the different public administrations through the FACe entry point. The figure represents 31% growth compared to 2015, when throughout the year 6,011,813 bills were issued in this format.

These data are taken from the report published periodically by the Ministry of Finance and State Administration on the status of Facturae. Last December, the study announced that since coming into force in January 2015, FACe has processed 13,894,398 e-invoices, to the tune of €70 billion. Without this technology, these files would have meant millions of documents on paper, which would have had to be managed and stored traditionally with the economic costs entailed, both for businesses and the public sector.

Local Administration, the biggest invoice recipient

Although progress in the number of bills can be observed between the FACe report for 2015 and the 2016 version, there are other data which remain almost unchanged. Both studies confirm that the majority of Facturae are addressed to local administrations, closely followed by the regional authorities. In fact, in 2016 47.01% of electronic invoices went to city councils and 40.58% to regional bodies. In the two segments, the Community of City Council Madrid are the front runners, followed by the Government of Andalusia and Seville City Council.

In terms of monthly evolution in 2016, we saw a slight increase in the number of e-invoices sustained throughout the year. The figures only went down in August and September, two months affected by the vacation period. In contrast, December was the month in which most e-invoices were submitted via FACe, to a total of 802,343.

What will happen to Facturae in 2017?

For now, the Ministry of Finance and State Administration has already issued the FACe report for January 2017. According to the study, in the first month of the year 606,624 e-invoices were tendered, a figure well over that of 2016, when the number was 507,366.

We still have to wait to find out the details of the trend for the year. However, forecasts point to ongoing growth for e-invoicing in Spain. Although it is a mandatory technology for public sector suppliers, in some cases the exclusion of invoices worth less than €5000 is allowed. In other words, paper invoices are still being sent to the administrations, which have the potential to become digital.

Nevertheless, one of the main reasons leading us to expect a resurgence for Facturae in 2017 is rollout of the Immediate Information Sharing (SII) system. This new model requires more than 62,000 Spanish businesses to adapt to electronic VAT management by next July. With SII, submitting returns to the Tax Agency can be fully automated in the case of electronic invoices, but paper documents will mean a heavier workload. So, we expect an increase in use of e-invoicing, both in the B2G and B2B scope.

New SAF-T file version for Portugal comes into force on July 1 2017

New SAF-T file version for Portugal

The SAF-T standard in Portugal is to be updated with a new version from July 1, 2017.  The  New Ordinance 302/2016 (retificada pela Declaração de Retificação n.º 2-A/2017, de 02 de fevereiro, que procedeu à 4ª alteração ao ficheiro a que se refere o nº 1 da portaria 321-A/2007, de 26 de março) announced on 2 December 2016, includes two changes which amend the data cited in Ordinance 321-A/2007. First, it modifies the SAF-T file for invoices and delivery notes with entry into force on July 1, 2017. The Tax Authority also recently issued the XSD schema of the new file to be implemented by businesses, so from EDICOM we can start migrating our clients to the new version. This evolution of the file is designed to improve the quality of billing information.

The second change adds a number of codes (taxonomies) for the accounting file and came into force on January 1, 2017. These taxonomies are equivalence tables that allow identification of the accounts according to the accounting standards used by the different taxpayers.

Although rollout of the system began in 2008, it was not until 2013 that a legislative change came about and massive widespread use of the SAF-T standard commenced, obliging businesses to transmit their invoices, shipping documents and accounting movements in this format. December 2014 saw the end of the latest deadline extension granted by the Portuguese Customs and Tax Authority for migration to the SAFT-PT electronic system. Since then, companies have had to gradually adapt to the legislative changes, making changes in their ERPs and generating automated communication channels with the Tax Authority via web services.

Implementing this standard is bringing great benefits in terms of information control by the tax authorities and its data structures have gradually been adapted to reflect the changes in accounting or taxation. It also brings considerable advantages for businesses, which can now automate certain procedures which may tend to be long and tedious when performed manually. With an integrated solution, companies can simplify their in-house billing and business document interchange processes, resulting in a significant saving on economic costs associated with these processes.

EDICOM SAFT-PT: Certified Solution

Electronic billing and accounting systems of companies operating in Portugal must be certified and audited by the DGCI (Directorate General for Taxation). EDICOM’s solution for e-invoice issuing in Portugal has been audited and certified by the Portuguese Tax Authority DGCI in line with the requirements set out in Ordinance N.º 363/2010, and 340/2013, stipulating the certification requirements for billing software.

Our SAFT-PT has built-in value-added services making it a platform for issuing electronic shipping documents and invoices able to support everything involved in the creation, sending and storage of e-documents:

  • Data capture: EDICOM’s ASP solution automatically takes the invoice data required by the administration from the client’s ERP.
  • File Validator: Automatic validation model that ensures compliance with the specifications required by the Tax Authority.
  • Web services connector: Automates forwarding of the previously validated file for registration and authorization by the administration. In the case of freight documents, the Edicom solution receives the authorization code from the Tax Authority allowing shipping of the goods to their destination.
  • Storage: Invoices are stored in a document repository under strict security conditions for the 10-year period stipulated by Portuguese law.

Get acquainted with our SAF-T PT solution for billing and shipping documents. We help you adapt to the new schema as well as future changes.

France and Germany working on common e-invoicing format

France and Germany working on common e-invoicing format

The European Union works constantly to improve the effectiveness of economic activity in the internal market, with focus on digitization and business development so that there are no barriers to online opportunities. This is part of the European Commission’s Digital Single Market project, which aims to open up digital opportunities for people and businesses in the EU. Related to this transformation are European initiatives such as PEPPOL, a project focused on critical e-Procurement components and solutions for e-communications with any European government institution in the procurement process, increasing efficiencies and reducing costs.

Now, the head of the “Forum Elektronische Rechnung Deutschland (FeRD), Stefan Engel-Flechsig, has announced a Franco-German initiative on e-invoicing involving the development of a common technical standard for electronic accounting. These two countries started their bilateral cooperation in 2014, focused on two areas: a common Franco-German accounting form that can be used the same way in both countries and takes into account the requirements of the future EU accounting form, and dealing with legal requirements for e-invoices and scrutiny by the auditors in both countries.

The definition of this common standard is based on the concept of “hybrid calculation” consisting of a PDF A / 3 and XML UNCEFACT D16.B as ZUGFeRD, with the intention that SMEs can also take advantage of the process and exchange electronic invoices with their business partners. Five common profiles are defined (M, Basix WL, Basic, Comfort and Extended). The German-French standard will be given a common name and should be completed by March 2017 and in line with the data model and syntax with the European standard.

CEN agrees European e-invoicing standard syntax list

The CEN members have unanimously agreed that UBL and UN/CEFACT are the two syntaxes that shall set the future European standard. The next step will be creating the technical specifications to facilitate its implementation. With the new European standard for e-invoicing, the EU aims to encourage public procurement and e-commerce in the cross-border scope.

In this post we explain the new e-invoicing developments in the European Union for 2017 with a view to its becoming mandatory in 2018.