Enhancing Vendor-Item Approval in NetSuite’s Purchase Order Process: Implications in the Life Sciences Industry and Beyond

By - December 7, 2023

*This is a scripted customization. For more information on implementing into your NetSuite instance contact a member of the RSM Development Team*

Native NetSuite provides robust functionality out of the box, but every industry has unique challenges. A customizable feature such as the Vendor-Item approval module becomes crucial for sectors that require stringent vendor verification, such as the Life Sciences industry. In this blog, we’ll delve into the significance of this module for Life Sciences and how it can improve the Purchase Order process, but also the customizable capabilities that can make this solution’s benefits universal.


In its default setting, NetSuite doesn’t allow for a Purchase Order’s item list to be filtered based on the available items from a selected Vendor. Our module, designed as a NetSuite Client Script works with NetSuite’s limitations to offer a transaction line-entity approval process fit for any use case:

(Vendor-Item Purchase Order Approval Scenario)

– The system verifies if the vendor of an item on a purchase order line is in the item’s vendor sublist.

– Validation takes place before saving a line on the Purchase Order record.

– A custom checkbox on the item record helps in determining if the Vendor check should be executed for a specific item.


The Life Sciences Edge

In the Life Sciences industry, ensuring the highest quality of products is paramount. Be it pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, or biotechnology products, the origin of every component can impact the final product’s efficacy and safety. Here’s how our module becomes an industry-specific solution:


  1. Vendor Approval Process: Life Sciences companies often need to purchase items only from vendors who have undergone rigorous quality checks and obtained necessary certifications. This module ensures that only approved vendors are considered during the Purchase Order process, thus safeguarding product quality.
  2. Regulatory Compliance: The sector operates under strict regulations, where the source of each component might need documentation. By allowing companies to limit purchases to approved vendors, this system can be a cornerstone in ensuring regulatory compliance.
  3. Reduced Risk of Contamination: In biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors, ensuring items like reagents, compounds, or equipment come from verified vendors reduces the risk of contamination, leading to safer products.
  4. Streamlined Auditing: With a predefined vendor list, auditing becomes more straightforward. Any deviation from the approved vendor list is flagged immediately, making audits more efficient and compliant.


Beyond Life Sciences

While this module holds particular significance in the Life Sciences industry, ensuring product quality through vendor verification, its benefits are universal.

  1. Cross-Industry Applications:
    1. Manufacturing: Verify raw materials come only from approved suppliers, ensuring product consistency.
    2. Retail: Ensure branded products are sourced only from official distributors to combat counterfeiting.
    3. Food & Beverage: Guarantee ingredients or components come from certified and safe sources.
  1. Beyond Purchase Orders: While the module significantly enhances the Purchase Order process, its logic and framework can be adapted to other transactions. Whether it’s Sales Orders, or even Customer Returns, a similar validation mechanism can be employed to ensure accurate and compliant transactions.
  2. Flexible Vendor-Item Relationship: This module can validate any such relationship, ensuring that specific items or services are only associated with approved entities.

Setting It Up and Functionality

1. Custom Field Creation on Item Record


ID: custitem_require_approval

Type: Checkbox

Overview: This checkbox on the Item Record indicates if an item needs vendor approval during the validation process of a purchase order.

2. Visibility and Selection

– Ensure that the checkbox is visible and correctly selected for the items.

3. Vendor Sublist Mapping

– Attach approved vendors to the native Vendor Sublist of items.

4. Functionality


In industries where vendor reliability directly influences the end product’s quality, like Life Sciences, a Vendor-Item filtering enhancement in NetSuite’s Purchase Order process isn’t just a feature – it’s a necessity. This module ensures that only the most trusted, verified, and compliant vendors are part of a company’s supply chain, reinforcing product quality and regulatory adherence. Whether you’re a biotech startup or a pharmaceutical giant, this tool offers an added layer of verification that can make all the difference in your NetSuite instance.


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