What did NetSuite 2023.1 mean for Warehouse Management & Shipping?

Written by Martin Hislop

July 25, 2023

With talk of NetSuite 2023.2 heating up (stay tuned for our sneak peak), we take a look back at NetSuite Release (2023.1), which boasted new functionalities and features that enhanced our customers’ experience of the system. Excellent Zephyr clients can visit the New Release Portlet on their Netsuite dashboard with the official Release date and Release Preview notes for each biannual release upgrade. At Excellent Zephyr, we believe that every system update is integral to the performance of the NetSuite platform for our customers, and here we highlight some of the new features to expect. This article covers the key warehouse management and shipping updates which improve employee productivity, taking advantage of savings opportunities, whilst closely monitoring costs. Plus, there’s a cherry on top – we reveal a new SuiteApp by one of our key partners in the space.


Order Picking Items in the Warehouse

Warehouse Picking Individual items that are part of a set can now be divided for more efficient picking in this version of NetSuite Warehouse Management System (WMS). Previously, someone would have pulled five different items spread across the entire warehouse that were part of one kit. Now, they can more efficiently pick two items (from their designated area) whilst coworkers pull the remaining three parts from their respective zones to simply combine them for packing. This helps staff be more productive when picking kit items, reducing labour costs.

Picking flows in 2023.1 allow employees on the warehouse floor to mark partially filled orders as complete. This can be useful when stock is running low and you don’t want to use all remaining inventory for a single customer order. Once the picker marks a partially filled order as complete, the remaining stock is available for other orders rather than being reserved for the incomplete order. This helps businesses make the most of available stock when supplies are low and allows workers to resolve these scenarios independently without manager assistance.

Additionally, pickers can mark a bin as empty if there isn’t enough stock to fulfil an order, whether due to insufficient quantity or damaged goods, and choose an appropriate reason code. This prevents other pickers from wasting time and alerts relevant team members to replenish stock.


Item Counting

As of Release 2022.2, warehouse and store employees have been using mobile devices to count items with updates to NetSuite ‘Smart Count’. For supported inbound and outbound mobile processes, inventory managers can now (with 2023.1) scan updated HIBC barcode formats, including Code 128 and Data Matrix ECC 200. When they scan item barcodes in any of these more detailed configurations, the mobile app displays or stores its data. If employees find discrepancies between the recorded and counted quantities of products using any type of barcode, they can correct this with just a few taps. Frequent, hassle-free cycle counts with ‘Smart Count’ improves inventory accuracy and make it easier to maintain optimal stock levels. The tool also prevents errors in order fulfilment and lost sales due to stock issues, both of which can hurt profitability.


Quality Assurance for Manufacturers

You can’t mention warehouse management and logistics without factoring in merchants who also manufacture their own products before shipping them out…  With the new update, the ‘Manufacturing Mobile ‘SuiteApp’ now supports standalone assemblies without associated work orders. This is particularly helpful in simplifying manufacturing processes or for cases when products must be built on-the-fly, like when selling demo models that need replacing quickly. People can use the assembly feature to record the inventory they used to build the new demo product without creating an entire work order.

The latest version of the SuiteApp centralises all jobs and brings producers one step closer to paperless manufacturing. Many new businesses are turning to contract manufacturers to produce their goods because of the convenience and scalability these third-parties offer, but businesses still need to keep an eye on quality. With 2023.1, teams can now create automatic inspection requests in NetSuite Quality Management for items made by contract manufacturers. This gives businesses the ability to inspect items before they arrive in customers’ hands to ensure that they meet quality standards and customer expectations.


Packing & Shipping

With NetSuite 2023.1, Warehouse staff can now pack and prepare orders for shipping with the NetSuite ‘Ship Central’ mobile application, which adds shipping functionality to NetSuite ‘Pack Station’ (released in 2021). With packing and shipping information and instructions now all in one place, ‘Ship Central’ can consolidate shipments and reduce shipping expenses as well as allow fulfilment staff to determine the best carrier based on delivery date or location type. This application includes updated dashboards and roles designed for warehouse staff and management so that they can track the status of orders and pending shipments simply.

We are delighted to announce that our partner, Shiptheory, will further enhance the 2023.1 updates by adding more intuitive features and functionalities with the launch of its very own native SuiteApp integration which integrates its best in class shipping platform directly with NetSuite.

Shiptheory takes these new updates even further by fully integrating and automating the shipping process with NetSuite to help businesses book shipments, print shipping labels, and create order fulfilments even more easily. Building on 2023.1’s service offering, Shiptheory allows customers to book shipments for NetSuite orders from over 90 global carriers, including UPS, USPS, FedEx, DHL, Royal Mail and DPD. This enables both the business and the consumer to have more control over who they can choose to ship their products, the timing and the cost of shipping. 

The online platform allows businesses to automate their shipping by integrating NetSuite (as well as any other eCommerce platform, marketplace or WMS) with Carriers globally to produce shipping labels. It has a flexible shipping rules engine that allows you to control how orders from your online store, marketplace, accounting software or ERP are shipped. Shipping labels can be automatically generated via the shipping rules engine, which is just a reflection of your shipping habits. These can be made up around almost anything; weight, value, destination etc.

Excellent Zephyr is excited to see our partner, Shiptheory, making eCommerce merchants’ journeys with NetSuite even simpler by making positive contributions to the SuiteApp ecosystem. We look forward to supporting more brands as they look to grow with NetSuite and Shiptheory in the future.


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