EDI Academy – Despatch Advice

EDI Academy – Despatch Advice

The use of electronic data interchange in business transactions has led to the creation of a plethora of different messages over the years. From all of them, today we dedicate this issue of EDI Academy to one of the most relevant, for both suppliers and distributors: the Despatch Advice.


What is 856 ASN?

The 856 ASN designation is the name given to the EDI shipping note message in X12 standard, the language most widely used in the US market. The letters ASN stand for Advance Ship Notice. However, this is not the only terminology used to define waybills or shipping notes. In the EDIFACT standard, widely used in Europe, it is known as DESADV or Despatch Advice.

In any case, all these designations refer to the same concept. The EDI despatch advice message serves to verify that the goods received by the customer match the purchase order. 856 ASN displays the contents of the package and some added shipping information. This includes the order data, item description, product features, packaging type, markings, freight operator information and the layout of the goods within the transport equipment.

One peculiarity of the despatch advice is that it can be as simple or as explicit as required by the business transaction being carried out. For example, a brief version includes reports on the sender of the package, the receiver, delivery time, products shipped broken down line by line and identified with a code (usually EAN, GTIN or SKU) and the quantity of each item.

However, it is also possible to issue a more complete ASN or DESADV, including additional information such as a list of all the products on the pallet with the batch codes, corresponding expiry dates and packaging numbers, among other details. This option is increasingly popular among businesses nowadays, as the traceability is better.


How does the Despatch Advice work?

For a better understanding of how 856 ASN or DESADV work, we’ll explain step by step the communication flow followed by this EDI message:

  • The supplier issues the customer (distributor) a despatch advice when the goods are ready for shipping.
  • The EDI solution from EDICOM integrates this message into the distributor’s ERP automatically so they can access it easily.
  • At a glance, the client compares the despatch advice with the initial purchase order, as both documents are traced and any differences will be obvious. In fact, this confirmation can be performed automatically by the platform.
  • If everything is correct, issues a confirmation note to the supplier.
  • The warehouses receive the information on the new items due to arrive, so they can plan the loading and storage in advance.


What benefits do we get from the despatch advice?

The use of 856 ASN provides considerable advantages for both suppliers and distributors. On one hand, suppliers improve the goods delivery management process. With this message they are able to announce the shipment to their customers beforehand, but they also have a document endorsing the goods being delivered.

On the other hand, distributors can make their stock controls and incoming order processing more efficient. This is due to total traceability throughout the process, which lets us know when the goods will be sent, when they will arrive and all the details of the shipment.

To these advantages are added the benefits obtained in general from using EDI, ranging from automation to economic cost savings.

Italian fashion industry joins EDI

L’EDI entra nel settore della moda italiano

The fashion industry is a key factor for the Italian economy, both for its level of turnover and the exports produced, mainly to the United States and Europe. In 2014, export sales generated 398,000 million euros, a record at the time. In addition, the figure forecast for 2016 is likely to reach 450,000 million euros. This internationalization is one of the sector’s principal defining features and has encouraged the spread of electronic document interchange (EDI) among fashion firms.

However, it is not the only one. In this area, beyond the challenge of communication across borders, companies handle a wide range of products. Everything ranging from sports clothing to footwear, through accessories, kids’ clothing and infant wear, to the high-end luxury brands. In this sense, EDI technology has also become an ally against the lack of uniformity in the sector.

How does EDI work?

With electronic data interchange, communications between different IT systems are standardized. This means that transaction and information sending take place in real time, automatically and safely, regardless of the features of the partners involved in the business or logistic relations.

In Italy, the spread of EDI throughout the fashion industry has mainly been driven by the big stores, such as Saks, Neiman Marcus, Harrods, La Rinascente, Printemps, El Corte Inglés, etc. These international brands usually act as a hub and require their suppliers to use this technology for the exchange of business documents like orders, shipping notes or invoices, as well as others of a logistic nature, such as product catalogues.

This is why so many Italian businesses of all shapes and sizes have signed up to EDI, a virtually indispensable requirement when exporting. But beyond the requirement, adopting EDI technology in B2B companies is now a key factor in optimizing logistics processes, boosting productivity, reducing the number of errors and, finally, maximizing efficiency through task automation.

A global solution

Some of the big brands already rely on EDICOM to implement their EDI solutions. To name but a few, Harrods, Cortefiel, Printemps or El Corte Inglés, four of the main fashion market hubs. This experience has enabled the EDICOM team to develop a Global EDI solution, which addresses the two needs of businesses in the sector: internationalization and product heterogeneity.

The EDI solution is integrated with the companies’ internal management or ERP systems. This way, the entire administration and logistic process is handled from a platform already known to the team, so there is no need to modify in-house working procedures. For example, when an invoice is generated, the EDI solution processes it automatically, translates it into the standardized language required by the partner and forwards it. This happens the same way with any other business, logistical and administrative transactions. Both in sending and receipt, all the processes are automatic, thus boosting efficiency and cutting economic costs.

France gears up for switch to e-invoicing

La France se prépare pour le passage à la facture électronique

As of January 1st, the country’s public agencies and corporations are required to use this system in the frame of their business relations. The spread of this technology will then continue until the incorporation of micro-businesses in 2020. To this end, last November the French government issued Decree n° 2016-1478, a text setting out the implementation modalities for e-invoicing in the public procurement framework. On December 9, 2016, the government further announced a Ministerial Order to complete the Decree, detailing the procedure for sending and receiving e-invoicing, as well as ways of processing these bills.

From this decree, which came into force on 1 January, we can highlight the following information:

  • Firstly, the text stipulates the information an e-invoice must contain to be considered valid. Among others, we note the presence of a date of issue, the identity of the sender and recipient, the unique invoice number and amounts, etc. In total, Article 1 of the Decree lists 11 mandatory requirements.
  • In second place, the Decree states that electronic invoices must be sent to public bodies through Chorus Pro, the portal developed by AIFE (Agence pour l’Informatique Financière de l’Etat), which guarantees the reliability, security, privacy and traceability of the data. However, the text also provides that in the event of non-compliance with this obligation, the relevant public entity must inform the sender of the mistake and invite them to use the portal.
  • Finally, the Decree states that the payment period cited in each invoice shall commence as of the time of receipt of the acknowledgement confirming receipt of the e-invoice by the recipient.

Are you ready for e-invoicing?

As of January 1, public administrations and large companies with over 5,000 employees must only use electronic invoicing, in accordance with Ordinance Nº 2014-697. A year later, on 1 January 2018, it will be the turn of midsize companies (250 to 5,000 employees). In 2019, SMEs (10 to 250 employees) are due to join the system, finally followed by micro-businesses (fewer than 10 employees) from January 1, 2020.

This is a technology project of vast scope. For this reason, EDICOM is working in collaboration with AIFE alongside other public agencies, carrying out pilot trial runs to get everything ready by the scheduled dates. EDICOM is already in the transition to production phase with the State and those businesses involved in the project voluntarily. If everything goes according to plan, France foresees annual savings of €710 million euros, of which 335 could involve the private sector.

Beyond reducing costs, the aim of this project also concerns the improvement of efficiency and simplifying tax collection. To achieve these objectives, EDICOM has developed a complete e-invoicing solution that automates the entire procedure for creating, sending, receiving and reporting of electronic invoices.

The EDICOM e-invoicing platform integrates with the ERP/internal management systems of businesses or public agencies and meets the requirements of the French legislation. Moreover, it ensures connectivity with Chorus Pro and any other national or supranational body, through a Public Administration communications HUB.

Download the white paper on e-invoicing

If you would like to know more about this technology project and how it works, you can download this free guide to e-invoicing with the Public Administration in France (available in French and English). In it, our team of experts presents an in-depth analysis of e-invoicing system features in France and Europe. In addition, the guide provides information on the adaptation tasks to be undertaken by companies and the options available for the switch to electronic invoicing.

Including nutritional information table on foods to be compulsory from December

Including nutritional information table on foods to be compulsory from December

For the past two years, foodstuffs traded in the European Union have been obliged to display labelling with information on the product, such as the list of ingredients or allergens. This is laid down in Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 which, from next December 13th, also makes it obligatory to provide the nutritional information table on food including calories, fat, saturated fatty acids, carbohydrates, sugars, protein and salt.

As happened in 2014 with ingredients and allergens, this obligation not only affects traditional stores, as it also applies to e-commerce or remote sales. The regulation states that consumers must be made aware of this nutritional information and other labelling details before making their purchase.

In consequence, suppliers and distributors are faced with a challenge: how to keep food product information synchronized so that the data shown to the consumer on the web portal are updated at all times. The aim of the regulation is to improve safety in relation to allergies and intolerance and raise awareness towards the consumption of unhealthy foods. In fact, the nutritional information table must show the percentage per 100 g or millilitres, so that users can compare the amounts in different products and choose the ones that most suit them.


Which products must comply with the obligation?

Regulation 1169/2011 states that all drinks and processed foods that are packaged are required to provide nutritional information on their labels. However, alcoholic drinks of more than 1.2% per volume of alcohol, unpackaged foods and unprocessed products that include a single ingredient are exempt from the ruling. A complete list of these products can be found in annex V of the regulation.

Foods that are liable and which do not comply with the regulations can result in fines for manufacturers and producers ranging from 5001 to 600,000 euros, depending on the type of offence that may have been committed.


How to adapt to the regulation?

To facilitate compliance, EDICOM has designed a solution that enables suppliers and distributors to synchronize their product information in real time. This is the EDICOMData e-Catalogue.

With this solution, suppliers record and update the nutritional information on their food products in standardized format, while distributors, who act as catalogue subscribers, access the data in real time.  In addition, the EDICOMData solution presents these data in a structured format for integration in the company’s information system or the online store content manager. This way, the process is not only simpler and faster, but is also more secure, as the nutritional information on the foods received by the consumer is updated at all times.

One step closer to e-invoicing in Costa Rica

One step closer to e-invoicing in Costa Rica

On February 14, Costa Rica is starting up its e-invoicing pilot project, which will include six large taxpayers and plans to spread this system throughout the country. The announcement of the breakthrough comes after the issuing on 7 October of Resolution DGT-R-48 on Authorization for use of e-invoicing and associated electronic documents. In addition, on November 3 the selection criteria for taxpayers required to issue e-invoicing once the pilot plan starts up were also published in the official state gazette.

The Directorate General of Taxation (DGT) has now defined the mandatory features for e-documents. The formats and technical specifications are detailed in the annexes and XML structures listed in the DGT web portal. In addition, the method for delivery, validation and preservation of electronic receipts is also stipulated (mandatory for a 4-year period).

Who will be required to issue e-invoicing in Costa Rica?

For the moment, the DGP has not revealed how migration to e-invoicing will take place, although it is foreseeable that it will be done gradually, in stages, as occurred in practically all the Latin American countries where e-invoicing use is now compulsory. Nevertheless, there is still no definite timeframe. What will be announced on December 15 will be the list of taxpayers required to start issuing e-invoicing from the start of the pilot scheme in February 2017.

In this regard, the DGT selection process will take into account the criteria published in the Gazette on November 3. Among them, the income level and activity sector of the taxpayers. These taxpayers will receive notification by email in the case of large companies, or through the Gazette for smaller taxpayers.

However, taxpayers who are prepared to face this technological leap can apply to join the pilot scheme voluntarily. To do so, they must send an e-mail to fe@hacienda.go.cr.

A system with great benefits

The spread of e-invoicing in Costa Rica will bring benefits, both for the public sector and private companies. With this technology, the DGT will be able to improve control and reduce tax evasion, as all the business transactions will be declared in real time. In addition, taxpayers will simplify tax compliance and automate part of their administrative procedures, which will increase productivity and cut economic costs. In fact, the savings from e-invoicing may reach 90% compared to the traditional process on paper.