Netsuite Targets Manufacturing with New Release

NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson

NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson

The latest release from NetSuite will become the first offering from the cloud ERP vendor to support manufacturing companies.

NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson said the company has long supported business processes for those who use contract manufacturers, but lacked functionality required by those who do manufacturing themselves, such as standard cost lists, work-in-progress controls and routings. But now, the bombastic executive says it’s time to tackle “the last industry that hasn’t moved to the cloud.”

“There’s a whole sea change coming in manufacturing, with things like direct-to-consumer manufacturing and 3D printing driving manufacturing back on-shore,” Nelson said.

Roman Bukary, vice president of manufacturing and distribution at NetSuite, said that at current, the biggest and most complex manufacturing operations are out of the company’s range, but “discreet and even complex manufacturing” is the sweet spot, and the company will expand functionality from there. This follows Netsuite’s common tactic of building its offering for SMB customers, and then building in new functionality for large customers later.

Nelso said the market makes sense because of the inherent complexity of the number of systems manufacturers have to use to run their business, and the fact that all of those disparate systems have to be hooked into ERP. The company has long said it sought to avoid the “hairball” of interconnections between business systems by offering a full suite approach, and because of that complexity, Nelson described the typical manufacturer’s situation as “a hairball on steroids.”

Craig West, vice president of channel sales for NetSuite, said the company’s partners have been “clamoring” for capabilities for manufacturing customers, and that many of those partners have existing customers in manufacturing, but were unable to expand their work with those clients beyond core ERP. West said the company will look to equip current partners with or without existing manufacturing practices or customers, and onboard partners with industry experience but new to NetSuite.

The company announced a partnership with Autodesk to combine NetSuite’s back office systems for manufacturers with Autodesk’s design and product lifecycle management tools. Autodesk’s channel would be one source of new partners for the company, giving those partners the opportunity to get more entrenched with their manufacturing customers. West said he expects to see “a lot of cross-pollination” of the NetSuite and Autodesk channels as a result of the new product, and confirmed that a number of NetSuite partners have been in conversation with Autodesk at SuiteWorld.

Also at SuiteWorld, NetSuite introduced a “Built for NetSuite” program aimed at certifying ISVs’ add-on applications built on the company’s SuiteCloud development platform. The company boasts a developer network of some 300 organizations, with 270 add-ons, known as SuiteApps, available in the market today. To have an app certified as Built for NetSuite, applications have to be submitted for review, and meet the company’s standards for architecture, development, privacy, and security.

“The first step was allowing you to build all these apps, and the second step is making sure these apps built all around the world play well together,” Nelson said.

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