NetSuite beefed up manufacturing support in the latest and one-before releases with the addition of enhanced assemblies and work orders coupled with new routing and work centre features. You'll want to keep up to date with these new features if you use assemblies in any way in case your business can benefit. Here's a quick trip through the changes to manufacturing.
If the components of your assemblies change over time - possibly due to design, engineering or sourcing reasons - the new Effective and Obsolete Date fields on each component are what you need. You'll find these on the Components sublist of each assembly item. Using these fields you can specify the lifespan of each component, effecting changes to the BOM over time. When you build an assembly the BOM effective at the date of the build is used.
Assemblies also sport new fields to support WIP (see next) - WIP checkboxes on the Locations list to indicate that an assembly should be tracked for WIP at specific locations, plus WIP, Scrap and Cost Variance Accounts on the Accounting tab which point to the GL accounts that will be used to track work in process for the item.
Work Orders and WIP
If you're building assemblies then you're probably using using work orders. Work orders commit components before the assembly is built, allocating inventory when the order is created (just like a sales order does) to give you real-time component availability. Before this release work orders were either pending or built, so you would mark the work order built in NetSuite once manufacturing/assembly was completed. Now with the new Manufacturing Work In Process feature enabled, you issue components to work orders, indicate the work order process is complete and finally close the work order all as different steps, enabling NetSuite to track WIP over time.
The new WIP workflow is enabled on the Work Order itself by ticking its WIP checkbox.
This new feature enables complex work orders that involve multiple people or processes to be set up and executed. NetSuite tracks progress of the work order through its manufacturing/assembly process and enables machine and labour costs to be rolled in to the assembly's asset value. WIP is updated as the work order executes and can include a number of elements calculated during the process.
Routing uses Work Centres to define groups of employees that perform specific roles in the work order process, for example a Spray Room group. Once you've set up your work centres (and a few other things that are needed) you can define a Manufacturing Routing, which is a template containing the list of steps in the work order process. Each step can involve a different work centre and have different overhead and run rate (duration) costs.
Once your routings are ready you can attach them to assemblies on the item's new Manufacturing tab, and specify them on Work Orders in the new Manufacturing Routing field. When you save the work order a list of manufacturing tasks are created based on the routing template. As work progresses you update the tasks by marking them In Progress and finally Completed, and also record actual overhead and run time for the task. NetSuite uses the routing template to calculate machine and labour costs for the task and adds this to the assembly's WIP.
Please see NetSuite Help for more info on the above features, and also for Standard Costing for Manufacturing which is not discussed here, or call or email our support team.
Finally, an update on the upcoming release 2013.2 (hopefully you've now finished getting your head around 2013.1!). The next release rollout to customers starts 19-July and is scheduled to finish 6-September. It's worth adding the New Release portlet to your dashboard if not already there, to keep an eye on your preview release and upgrade dates as well as access the new features release notes: on your dashboard click Personalise Dashboard, then add the New Release portlet. We'll have more on 2013.2 in my next post; in the meantime if you'd like help with planning or executing your release testing just give us a call or email our support team at firstname.lastname@example.org.