In the fast-paced logistics industry, time is of the essence, and delays can result in significant losses for logistics service providers (LSPs). In order to better meet customer expectations and be prepared in case of disruptions, many LSPs have begun investing in access to advance shipping notices (ASNs) and shipment milestones from real-time visibility providers.
In fact, according to our research with FreightWaves, the most important area of investment for freight forwarders this year is in visibility to their shipper customers. BCOs and shippers surveyed also agreed that real-time visibility would be their most important investment for 2023.See FreightWaves Research
Today, many shipper customers expect shipment updates to be directly imported into their own internal systems. For smaller shippers, if data isn’t available in their own systems, LSPs may have to track down shipment updates and provide it to them through a web portal or through emails to customer service. No matter their size, all shipper customers need to know where their freight is and when it will reach its destination, and they expect the LSP to provide accurate info on this.
Let’s dive into how ASNs and Milestones function to provide real-time visibility, and why integrating this data into your TMS or other internal system can help you make informed decisions, improve operational efficiency, and enhance customer service by ensuring timely and accurate deliveries.
What is an Advanced Shipping Notice <ASN>?
An ASN is an electronic notification sent by a supplier or shipper to the receiver or LSP before an actual shipment occurs. The purpose of ASNs is to provide detailed information about the shipment, including the contents, quantity, weight, and expected delivery date. These details help shippers and LSPs plan their operations better and ensure that the shipment is delivered on time.
Essential Features of Advanced Shipping Notices Include:
- Detailed information about the shipment, including the contents, quantity, weight, and expected delivery date
- Electronic transmission of the ASN to the receiver or LSP
- Improved visibility and transparency of the shipment's progress
- Reduced manual intervention, errors, and delays
- Improved coordination and collaboration between the shipper, LSP, and receiver
What is a Shipment Milestone?
A shipment milestone is a significant event or checkpoint in the shipment's journey, such as loading onto a truck, crossing a border, or arriving at a port. Milestones help track the shipment's progress, ensure on-time delivery, and identify any potential delays or issues.
Why Are Shipment Milestones Essential to LSPs?
Milestones are essential for LSPs and shippers as they help to monitor and manage their supply chain operations. By tracking a shipment's progress, LSPs and shippers can identify any potential delays or issues and take proactive corrective action to ensure an on-time delivery. Milestones also help LSPs and shippers improve their operations by identifying bottlenecks, reducing transit times, and optimizing routes.
With the proliferation of third party visibility providers like GateHouse Maritime, project44, Terminal49, Windward, Vizion, and more, shipper customers have numerous options to access accurate visibility data. As an LSP, if you are not able to provide that info, shippers can rely on third parties to get their data, which hurts your relationship in the long run.
The most accurate data on shipment visibility should come from the LSP directly and be sent directly to shipper customer systems.Demo ASN Automation
The Value of ASN and Milestone Automation
So why should logistics service providers automate and integrate their advanced shipping notices and milestones with their Transportation Management System (TMS)?
For Logistics Service Providers
From an LSP's perspective, ASN and Milestone automation helps you get more sticky with your shipper customers. Since you’re integrated into their system or providing them crucial information in a format they need, your relationship gets grounded further and it becomes much more than just about price.
From a shipper's perspective, ASN and Milestone automation can help them improve their overall planning by providing real-time updates on shipment progress and delivery times. This can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty for you as an LSP.
The Benefits of ASN and Milestone Integration
With all of the uncertainty in today’s shipping market, visibility into what has shipped and where goods are in real time is an absolute necessity. Connecting your ASN and Milestone data to your TMS or other systems helps:
- Reduce Lead Times: Real-time visibility and easy access to ASN and milestone data can help reduce lead times by up to 50%, enabling faster order fulfillment and improved customer satisfaction. (Source: Supply Chain Digest)
- Improve On-Time Delivery: Companies with real-time visibility into their supply chain and milestone data can better prepare and respond to risks or disruptions, helping them proactively manage shipment delays and meet delivery deadlines.
- Better Manage Inventory: Real-time visibility into ASN and milestone data enables better inventory management by providing accurate and up-to-date information on shipment status, allowing companies to optimize stock levels, reduce stockouts, and improve overall inventory accuracy.
- Increase Supply Chain Efficiency: With real-time visibility, companies can proactively identify and address bottlenecks, delays, and disruptions in the supply chain. This leads to improved efficiency, reduced costs, and better resource allocation.
- Minimize Risk and Improved Resiliency: Having real-time visibility into ASN and milestone data helps identify potential risks and supply chain disruptions early on, allowing companies to take proactive measures to mitigate those risks and enhance supply chain resiliency.
- Better Collaboration and Communication: Real-time access to ASN and milestone data promotes collaboration and communication between different stakeholders in the supply chain, including suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and customers. This facilitates faster decision-making, issue resolution, and coordination.
- Enhance Customer Satisfaction: Real-time visibility into shipment status and milestone data enables companies to provide accurate and timely updates to customers, improving transparency and reliability. This, in turn, enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty.
- Meet Compliance and Regulatory Requirements: Real-time visibility and access to ASN and milestone data assist companies in meeting compliance and regulatory requirements, such as traceability, product recalls, and customs regulations. Non-compliance can lead to fines, penalties, and reputational damage.
- Data-Driven Decision Making: Real-time visibility into ASN and milestone data provides companies with valuable insights that can be used for data-driven decision making, process optimization, and continuous improvement across the supply chain.
ASN and Milestone Integration from Chain.io
ASN and shipment milestones provide a comprehensive and real-time view of the shipment lifecycle. They empower businesses to make informed decisions, improve operational efficiency, and enhance customer service by ensuring timely and accurate delivery of goods. Chain.io can help integrate your ASN and milestone data with a TMS, customer system, or other internal system.
How ASN and Milestone Automation Works
Chain.io extracts ASN and milestone data from your TMS and plugs it directly into your customer’s systems, providing proactive status updates throughout the lifecycle of a shipment.
The ability to provide proactive status updates on Milestones and ASNs increases customer satisfaction, loyalty, and profitability. Plus, if you’re directly connected to your customers’ systems, it will be easier for them to do business with you and make them more likely to become a repeat customer.
With pre-built integrations to the leading logistics software companies, we help shippers and LSPs optimize their supply chain operations, boost positive customer experiences, and improve their bottom line. If you’d like to learn more about integrating your ASN and Milestone data, get in touch with our team today!Explore AutomationBook a Demo