Posted by Ranga Bodla, Industry Marketing, Wholesale Distribution and Manufacturing, NetSuite
Manufacturers need their ERP systems to handle all aspects of their business. That includes everything from demand planning, costing, inventory and shop floor operations to HR, financials, marketing and sales. Unfortunately, not all ERP suites provide this full range of functionality. The good news: NetSuite's cloud ERP for Manufacturers supports all the functionality needs of discrete manufacturers.
Technology Evaluation Centers, a software analysis and certification organization, recently certified NetSuite's manufacturing solution, noting its support of all 52 features required in a discrete manufacturing business. Better yet, NetSuite scored 80 percent or higher for the majority of those features.
The full TEC report on NetSuite ERP for Manufacturers evaluated not only features and functions, but the product's ability to handle real-world business processes. In the report, TEC singled out five aspects of NetSuite's software and business model for praise in particular:
- Portlet-driven dashboard. The NetSuite user interface is a customizable dashboard that uses pluggable portlets to provide shortcuts to the functions or performance metrics most important to an employee's work. Administrators can create different dashboards for different roles. Portlets can do a variety of tasks, including display updated KPIs,execute reports or workflows, or display messages and alerts.
- Flexible reporting and analytics. NetSuite comes with 200-plus standard reports, and others are easy to create. KPIs and other metrics provide easy drill-down capabilities all the way to the source. A SuiteAnalytics tool lets users slice-and-dice data and drag-and-drop rows and columns.
- Business process design. Unlike other ERP applications, NetSuite is not built around isolated transactions, but around business processes, which makes them easier to customize and streamline. NetSuite's SuiteFlow workflow tool lets users customize business processes with graphical drag-and-drop features, no coding needed. Customizable records (e.g., an invoice or sales lead) can be set to trigger an automatic workflow when the record is updated or a new record is created. Using complex decision trees, with branching, it’s possible to create and automate many different processes such as the escalation of a collections action, or reassignment of a stale lead.
- Cloud-based subscription model. TEC cited NetSuite’s cloud architecture as a positive feature, and noted that it allowed companies to be more flexible, to try new technologies without a large investment, and to unburden their IT staff of tedious IT tasks such as backups and restores.
- Partner network. TEC also praised NetSuite's network of technology partners, which gives customers a wide selection of third party software to expand NetSuite's own capabilities. Adding partner applications enables customers to add capabilities in areas such as supply chain management and product lifecycle management. For example, TribeHR, which had been a NetSuite partner, adds many new HR features to NetSuite.
NetSuite ERP for Manufacturers doesn’t stop with discrete manufacturing either. According to the report, NetSuite ERP delivers, “a significant number of additional capabilities that are commonly supported by the other top tier ERP vendors. TEC also cited NetSuite’s integrated CRM and SuiteCommerce solutions.
One more characteristic that caught TEC's attention: NetSuite uses its own ERP software internally, as well as selling it to others. Apparently, the "eat your own dog food" philosophy is not in practice at many other ERP firms.
NetSuite's ERP for Manufacturers Top-Rated Features
NetSuite scored well on nearly all of the TEC certification criteria, but it rated well above average in the following areas:
- Financials: general ledger, accounts payable, cost accounting and cash management
- Human Resources: benefits, payroll and employee self-service.
- Manufacturing Management: product costing, field service and repairs, product data management, project management and product configurator.
- Quality Management: production quality management, non-production quality management and inventory quality management.
The full TEC report on NetSuite ERP for Manufacturers with competitive analysis may be downloaded from the Technology Evaluation Centers (www.technologyevaluation.com) in its Certification Reports section.