Wholesale Distribution – Shipping Container Management Solution

By - July 27, 2015

NetSuite has done a wonderful job of consistently adding new functionality to support wholesale distributors and manufacturers.  But, there is still some functionality lacking to support product-based customers that purchase goods from overseas using large shipping containers.  These types of companies desire real-time access to container information such as the status of the container, items on the container, purchase orders being fulfilled on a given container, etc.

NetSuite may have a solution for this in the future but in the meantime I’ve outlined a few simple configurations that can be implemented using SuiteBuilder and SuiteAnalytics features.

Step 1

Create a container record using the Custom Record feature of SuiteBuilder as shown below.  The fields I have used are just for demonstration purposes, so feel free to use as many different container fields as required.  It is important to check the Include Name Field checkbox, as we will see in step 2 below.

ContainerRecord

Step 2

Update the standard form and rename the Name field to represent a container ID field.

ContainerForm

Here is an example container record using the updated form.

ExampleContainerRecord

Note:  I created a custom list and added container status values such as Initiated, Packing in Progress, Packing Complete, Shipped, etc. and tied this list to the Container Status field on the container record.

Step 3

Create a custom transaction column field of type List/Record and tie it to the name of the container record you created.  Make available on Purchase Items so it shows on the PO and optionally show on Item Receipts.

TransactionColumnField

Step 4

Generate PO’s to overseas vendors.  Once the vendor determines one or more containers that will be required to fulfill the PO, request the container number they will be using for each item on the PO.  From the custom Container ID field on the NetSuite PO, create a new container record for the first item that is on the container.  For subsequent PO lines that will be on the same container simply choose the container ID from the drop-down list.  If multiple containers will be used for the PO then follow this same process for items requiring a different container ID.

PO w Container 1

Note:  The transactions and items used in this post are for demonstration only.

Step 5

Create a transaction saved search and in the Criteria section filter on Type = Purchase Order and Main Line = False.  Also create Available Filters so you can search all the PO’s by PO number, Item, or Container ID.

Saved Search

By filtering on a PO number you can see all the items on the PO and which containers are being used to transport each item.

Filter by PO

Filtering by Item will show all the PO’s containing this item and all containers being used to transport the item.

Filter by Item

Filtering by Container ID will show you all the items on the container and the PO’s that will be fulfilled by the container.

Filter by Container

If you have any customization needs, including the creation of the container management solution idea above, the NetSuite professionals at RSM can help.  We are a NetSuite Solution Provider and a NetSuite Systems Integrator partner, and have more than 30 years experience implementing ERP solutions.  We’ll provide you with industry insight, project management and the technical resources you need to make your project a success. Contact RSM at erp@rsmus.com or by phone at 855.437.7202.

By: Gary Leitner – Colorado NetSuite Solution Provider

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