10 Feb, 2022

Manufacturers Sneak Peek: NetSuite 2022 Release 1

As 2021 wound up, there are indications of numerous opportunities for manufacturers. According to the Institute of Supply Management (ISM), the Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) reached 61% in November, marking its 18th successive month of growth (anything above 50% signifies development).   

The PMI also indicates that manufacturers face challenges such as constant supply and labor shortages, along with a steady increase in raw material prices. In response to these issues, manufacturing businesses are exploring techniques to predict output more accurately and automate operations. NetSuite 2022 Release 1 offers the latest and upgraded features to address these challenges, giving manufacturers a competitive edge.

Increasing Efficiency, Predictability in the Supply Chain

In 2020, NetSuite ERP introduced the Supply Organizing Workbench, a dedicated page showcasing distribution and demand orders. It empowers operations teams to delve into details on the location of components and finished goods, ensuring enterprises have all necessary parts available to meet delivery dates and make adjustments on the fly. 

In the 2022 Release 1, significant advancements were made to the Supply Planning Workbench. Production heads can now choose the items that are incorporated and apply specific filters in their workbench to view details only pertinent to the work they supervise. They can maintain multiple templates to shift between various views and set one as their default view. The workbench also includes item illustrations, vendor details, and safety stock to provide more context and facilitate quicker decisions. 

NetSuite’s latest vendor functionality scores approximate how fast or delayed orders for some products will be based on that vendor’s past performance, with a confidence ranking (1-100) assigned to each of those anticipations. This data facilitates better organizing and purchasing decisions and helps negotiate amiable deals with vendors.

Manufacturers with a limited quantity of inventory recognize the significance of allocating that inventory in a manner that best supports the business. NetSuite’s new release allows production organizers to click into assigned demand to observe whether supplies are committed to consumer orders, work orders, or transfer orders. Operations heads can learn how to allocate their available supplies by giving importance to profitability, critical consumers, or sales channels.

Making Warehouse More Efficient

In NetSuite 2022 Release 1, the NetSuite Warehouse Management System (WMS) promotes zone picking for both exclusive and multi-order picks. This picking procedure enhances the picking rate for certain manufacturers by controlling picker movement in the warehouse, replicating pick paths, and providing more flexibility to those who utilize multiple picking techniques 

The WMS also encourages tally scanning, where products are summed up as scanned, eliminating the need for manual entry of quantities during lay aside, cycle counting, and inventory transactions. 

Moreover, warehouse administrators can select multiple waves and release them all in a single action. They can inquire about and print item labels, as well as quickly assess the picking status of orders and waves - all from a mobile device. 

The NetSuite Pack Station, released the previous year, has undergone several improvements to streamline the packing process. Employees can now bulk pack and unpack "ship as is" items. For example, customers can choose "ship as is" when, for instance, 10 items have been picked for different orders, eliminating the need to select "ship as is" for each item separately. Additionally, users can review packing guidelines for items before commencing the packing process, and employees have the flexibility to switch weight units between pounds and kilograms when weighing packages.

Better Understand Your Cash Position

While cash remains a top priority, managing rapidly rising costs is a specific concern for manufacturing businesses. In the 2022 Release 1, Cash 360 is introduced—a single dashboard presenting a company’s real-time cash status and a six-month cash flow prediction. The prediction includes a graph charting the projected cash status weekly. To enhance forecast accuracy, finance experts can manually incorporate events such as loans, investments, or significant purchases. Financial heads can easily delve into these numbers to examine the data behind them.

For manufacturers lacking complete workflows for inter-firm transfers between subsidiaries, NetSuite allows accountants to mark inter-company bill credits and credit memos that match invoices. This release builds upon the inter-company netting features introduced in the 2021 Release 2, providing directors with a comprehensive view of inter-company account balances. This advancement reduces manual work for transfers between subsidiaries and facilitates quicker error detection.

Keeping an Eye on Inventory

As items become more costly and challenging to obtain, it's crucial for manufacturers to minimize wastage of constituents or elements. NetSuite’s Quality Management now allows companies to reevaluate items on-demand outside of the standard survey scheme through ad-hoc, timed, or repeat surveys. Inspections can be triggered if an item that failed inspection has been rectified or if it warrants a second look due to a rare failure the first time. 

Operations teams can now access a comprehensive view of every tracked lot, encompassing both forward and backward tracking. They have the flexibility to customize the report with item and transaction limits.

The implementation of the First Expired First Out (FEFO) principle helps businesses reduce wasted inventory by prioritizing the use of items before they lose some or all of their value. FEFO relies on lot numbers that indicate the production date, and it's now straightforward to allocate these numbers to items that require them. In this update, FEFO can also be applied at fulfillment rather than just when committing inventory to orders, streamlining the process into a single step.  

Better Analytics

To meet requirements while keeping costs low, manufacturers need to make component-based decisions. The enhancements to SuiteAnalytics and the recently released NetSuite Analytics Warehouse contribute significantly to this goal. In the latest release, NetSuite Analytics Warehouse offers over 18 newly developed transaction types, marking a nearly 50% increase from its current offerings. It now includes historical datasets for inventory, work orders, and expenditure reports, facilitating point-in-time analyses. Additionally, the solution introduces two new dashboards, complementing the existing ones. 

In the past, examining multiple data sets in a specific SuiteAnalytics Workbook required coding using the SuiteScript API. With NetSuite 2022 Release 1, SuiteAnalytics introduces a new interface that allows users to connect various datasets, including custom records, into a single workbook effortlessly. Business users can associate different datasets in their workbooks without relying on developer resources. This streamlined interface reduces the time and resources needed to analyze business operations, enabling more efficient evaluation in areas such as budget to actual, forecast to actual, or planned to actual for better data-driven decision-making.

Easily Manage Commerce Integrations

The NetSuite 2022.1 release for manufacturers is designed to enhance performance, optimize operations, and address supply chain management challenges, ultimately facilitating better purchasing decisions.