October 18th, 2021

What Is an EDI 856?

The EDI 856 transaction set (a.k.a. document type) is a ship notice/manifest in accordance with the ANSI X12 standard for electronic document exchange. It’s sent by the supplier or warehouse to the buyer as confirmation that their order is on its way (and so much more). The EDI 856 typically serves as a follow-up to the EDI 855 purchase order acknowledgement and virtually guarantees that the order will be delivered on time and as promised. 

Is an EDI 856 the Same as an ASN?

In North America, many use the terms EDI 856 and advanced shipping notice (ASN) interchangeably. When referring to the same “EDI 856” document type in Europe, it’s more common to refer to the transaction set as a dispatch advice or DESADV, both of which are more in line with regional preferences and EDIFACT specifications. 

In a basic sense, EDI 856 = ship notice/manifest = advanced shipping notice (ASN) = DESADV = dispatch advice. Five ways of referencing a single document that contains useful information about a shipment. From a technical perspective, however, the EDI 856 format differs from that of a DESADV (ANSI X12 vs. EDIFACT).

What’s Included in an EDI 856?

Regardless of how the data is structured, the document will always contain some variation of the following shipment-identifying information:

  • Order(s) shipped
  • Individual line item shipped quantity
  • Product descriptions
  • Carrier information and tracking number
  • Estimated delivery date and time
  • Packaging description
  • Barcode labels for receiving (if applicable)
  • Pallet codes (if applicable)

Interested in learning more X12 transaction sets like the EDI 856? Visit our glossary