What is a VDA 4987 Message?

The VDA 4987 message, commonly known as Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN), is a document the supplier sends to the customer to notify about an expected delivery. The file follows the VDA (German Association of the Automotive Industry or in German Verband der Automobilindustrie e. V.) standards and is used by many manufacturers in the automotive industries.

The use of the VDA 4987 Message

VDA 4987 messages are used to inform customers about deliveries shipped by the supplier. The information contains all relevant details referring to the shipment like material numbers. With regarded shipped quantity, ship-to addresses, plant, terms of delivery (INCOTERMS), etc. Furthermore, a VDA 4987 message contains package information describing how the shipped materials are packed.

When the VDA 4987 arrives at the customer and after acceptance, the shipment information is automatically booked into the customer’s ERP system. In the next step, the ASN information can be used to plan the future inventory usage, and when receiving the goods, the physical shipment needs to be aligned with the data from the already processed VDA 4987 message.

How does a typical VDA 4987 Structure look like?

An ASN message uses segments and elements defined by the VDA 4987 guideline. It's worth mentioning that VDA 4987 is based on the EDIFACT DESADV D.07 standard and utilizes DESADV as a starting point for the usage of the automotive standard. EDI solutions can either be an on-premises solution or EDI Cloud Service – send, receive, or process EDI messages like VDA 4987. In automotive industries, it is required to follow the VDA 4987 standards to ensure high quality.

A typical VDA 4987 Message includes:

  • Information concerning parts that are shipped (Material Number, Material description)
  • Quantities that are sent
  • Shipment and Arrival date
  • Ship to address (Plant, Dock/Gate addresses)
  • Carrier data (Carrier name, Means of transport, etc.)
  • Packaging (Package Number., Package Type, Serial Number)

Processing of the VDA 4987 Message

The supplier would typically generate a VDA 4987 message from their system when a shipment leaves towards the customer. Once the customer receiving system gets the file, it then validates the ASN message from the supplier against the VDA 4987 specifications and sends back a receipt acknowledgment (VDA 4937 – APERAK). The receipt acknowledgment confirms the reception of the VDA 4987 message. Once this file is received, the ASN message is forwarded to the ERP system, where it will show up as planned shipment.

VDA 4987 Message in context of VDA 4984 messages

As a VDA 4987 message is used in the manufacturing and is a follow-up message on a delivery schedule, which is commonly sent via VDA 4984 message. In this scenario, the customer first sends a delivery plan as VDA 4984, indicating what the supplier has to deliver when. On the delivery step, the supplier is creating a VDA 4987 message on this delivery schedule.

EDI Workflow for processing of the VDA 4987 Message

Documents exchanged between EDI trading partners follow a typical sequence of business processes. The figures below show the role of the VDA 4987 standard in a manufacturing scenario:

How is the VDA 4987 format called in other EDI Message Standards?

As the VDA 4987 is actually an EDIFACT DESADV derivate and can be seen as an automotive-specific DESADV. EDIFACT formats like DESADVs are commonly known and used in the EU and ASIA. In the NAFTA region, on the other side, the ANSI X12 856 message is used to exchange such delivery data.

Benefits using EDI and the VDA 4987 Message

Benefits exchanging shipment information via VDA 4987 for both - the customer and the supplier are:

  • Reduces employee workload a lot as data has not to be keyed in manually and shipment information can thus be exchanged very swiftly
  • Fewer errors as data is generated automatically by the system avoiding human interaction
  • Reduces costs as less paper has to be exchanged

Benefits specific to suppliers

  • Automatic generation of shipments information in the form of a VDA 4987 saves time and reduces costs
  • Fulfilling VDA 4987 standards will lead to higher acceptance for new customer projects especially with automotive OEMs

Benefits specific to customers

  • Lesser workload and errors as information are already present with the VDA 4987 message and don't need to be keyed in by customer personnel
  • Shipment information is received for production planning, and enhanced inventory management Goods receipt is accelerated as the data referring to the shipment is already at hand on the customer side. With barcode labels, the data from the VDA 4987 message can quickly be aligned using RFID- or Barcode-Scanners, reducing human errors at goods receipt tremendously.
  • Enables JIS processes with suppliers

Typical Errors when using the VDA 4987 Message

Problems that occur when exchanging VDA 4987 messages are commonly based on wrong data referring to the shipment. Incorrect package information or reflecting the package structure incorrectly in the VDA 4987 message are errors customers typically come across. Because of that, some customers also started to introduce penalties for suppliers not sending proper VDA 4987 messages or no message at all. It raises significant effort on their side to correct or add the data. Typical issues when sending VDA 4987 messages are:

  • Quantity in ASN does not match with the amount shipped
  • Packaging numbers could be wrong or missing
  • Packaging structure (which boxes belong to which pallet) is not according to the shipment

Automate the VDA 4987 Message with flexible operating models

When you modernize and consolidate EDI solutions you worked with so far, you should evaluate all options for your next generation EDI solution being a part of the overall automotive supply chain. With SEEBURGER, you get on one hybrid integration platform without patchwork. Complement EDI with API and MFT at your own pace.

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