Sorry, supply chain issues” has pretty much become the go-to phrase of 2022, and maybe 2023 if this global level of disruption continues.

The phrase has become a perfect ‘out’ if product delivery is impacted at a local or a larger level. It’s not necessarily a true excuse, since we’ve all have had orders delayed, canceled or come through incomplete, and we’ve also seen the photos of shipments stuck on boats, trains or trucks.

It says a lot about how far we’ve come in that last few years that most customers have become more sympathetic when discussing delays and disruptions with their distributors.

But what if you could find better ways to be more organized and efficient? Some of your products may still be stuck in the middle of the sea for the foreseeable future, but actively working with inventory that’s already on hand or truly in transit could put your company in a better light than competitors who are quick to dismiss every problem simply as a “supply chain issue.”

One tool that can make this process even more useful for distributors is NetSuite.

The regularly-updated application includes a variety of features designed to help with everything from better inventory management to reduced waste. Improvements and enhancements have been made in many aspects of this program which is good news for busy distributors.

Some of the features coming to NetSuite 2022 Release 1 include:

NetSuite Supply Planning Workbench

Think of this tool as a dashboard for your current orders. Here, distribution and supply chain managers can easily see supply and demand and the status of every order. It’s easy to look at things like location and supplier, as well as what’s in specific orders. This isn’t just a list of names or codes but detailed descriptions of each item and the vendor.

Managers can also see and adjust safety stock levels, so they always have a certain amount of an item on hand, even if inventory gets low. They can find out if they’re nearly out of stock, and also if they have too many of an item

View our NetSuite Supply Planning Workbench Demo to learn more.

Improved Pack Station

Netsuite 2021 Release 1 included tools to improve inventory management such as a touchscreen interface. Users can see what’s in the different cartons and their intended shipping routes. These features made it easier to pack similar cartons and also scan their weight from scales.

This year, the process has been improved. Users can now access this info via their mobile apps. They can designate vital details like whether a package is in pound or kilograms. Employees can also use the tool to designate a carton as “Ship As Is,” a process that used to be more time-consuming.

Zone picking

The updated Warehouse Management System includes some useful features including support for zone picking. This means that warehouses are divided into zones and items from these zones are gathered and put together before being packed.

Now, the system will scan items and also count them. This will provide everyone in the packing process with accurate information and quantities. It will also reduce errors and lead to less need for paper copies of manifests and other info. It will also allow employees to quickly see which tasks are in motion and how many copies of certain items are available.

Vendor performance scores

Part of the reasons companies like to work with certain vendors is that they’ve proven to be reliable and dependable and do their best to arrive even earlier than they promise. The opposite is true – occasional delayed orders can be forgiven but consistent delays can reflect poorly on future business with a vendor.

Now, these reasons can be quantified with an overall performance score displayed with every order. So next to information like expected delivery date, customers will see the predicted delivery date based on historical performance with this vendor.

This information on a “confidence score” can be helpful when making or approving a new order or negotiating larger contracts with suppliers. Having a more realistic delivery date can also help with planning.

Better waste management

Part of a trend toward better automation in warehouses includes avoiding duplication, spoilage or inaccurate orders, all of which can eat into profits.

Distributors can benefit from an inspection on demand tool. This allows for quick quality assurance inspections that don’t slow things down. Certain conditions can require a quick re-inspection.

The same program also focuses on a First Expired, First Out method which allows better management and better unpacking of inventory. It makes sure the oldest items are sold or packaged first, based on their production dates.

Take Advantage of New NetSuite Features With MIBAR

Do you want to enjoy the significant gains that come with NetSuite’s new features? The experts at MIBAR can help you optimize NetSuite’s offerings so you can leverage new features like the ones covered above.

As a leading NetSuite partner, we’ve established a genuine methodology to help maximize every dollar of your ERP budget and ensure NetSuite is meeting your needs. Learn more about our NetSuite support and optimization services.

Check out other new features in NetSuite 2022 Release 1: New Features for Manufacturers.