4 Habits You Need to Better Manage NetSuite Inventory

Does this sound familiar: You've got inventory organized at the bin or location level, and no matter how vigilant your efforts are, you still find yourself with misplaced stock. Maybe you're noticing that your bin and location numbers don't match or that misplaced inventory is causing your numbers to be out of balance. Because of these errors, you are finding it hard to keep up with the demand of your growing business. Unfortunately, these mistakes are easy to make - and they aren't just made by rookies.

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Whether you are new to NetSuite or an old pro, there are a number of steps that you can take to maximize efficiency. Implementing these healthy habits will decrease inventory management issues across warehouse operations, as well as reduce time and effort spent fixing issues after they occur. We've compiled four easy processes you can incorporate into your week to keep your inventory running smoothly.

The Basics

Before we dive in, here are some NetSuite inventory basics to keep in mind:

  • Inventory in NetSuite can be managed at the Location level and/or at the Bin level.
  • Location and total Bin quantities should always match, but they are actually stored as separate values in NetSuite.
  • The default receiving process in NetSuite brings the quantity into the Location level, which then needs to be put away into the correct bins.
  • The default fulfillment process in NetSuite leaves items On Hand (but not Available) in the original bin until the order is marked as shipped.

1. Review Negative Inventory

Negative inventory can happen for a lot of reasons. Many times it is caused by a lag between the movement of your inventory and the transaction actually being recorded, causing the amount of inventory that you actually have to be less than what is shown.

You should check for negative quantities at both the location and bin level. Remember, location and bin quantities should always match.

Checking the location level is easy. Just a few clicks and you can find negative inventory: Transactions > Inventory > Review Negative Inventory

To check the bin level, you will want to create a saved search on the Bin on Hand fields. At a high level, creating a saved search starts by creating a new Item search: Navigate to Lists > Search > Saved Searches > New, then selecting the Item needed from the list of search types, and filtering using the Criteria tab to create your search.

How to Resolve:

  • Bin Transfer the negative quantity of the item into the Bin to bring on-hand quantity back to 0.
  • If desired, a Directed Stock Count can then be completed on the specific item/bins to validate physical quantities.

2. Check for Inventory Available at Location Level

If inventory is received using the default NetSuite process, it will be received into the location level instead of the bin level.  If using bins, these items then need to be “put away” into a bin.

You can use a Bin Put-Away Worksheet to print a list of bin numbers for inventory that need to be re-stocked in your warehouse. You can use Bin Put-Away to quickly check if there is any available inventory sitting at the location level. If you aren’t using bins, there will always be available inventory at the location level.

Run a Bin Put-Away Worksheet: Transactions > Inventory > Bin Putaway Worksheet

Simply choose your location, and NetSuite will generate the quantity that is available at that location that can then be specifically put away.

How to Resolve:

  • Complete the appropriate inventory detail for each listed item and then save the worksheet. This will create Bin Transfer records to put the items away into their respective bins.
  • Using a built-for-NetSuite solution like RF-SMART when receiving will bypass this issue as it receives into a default receiving bin.

3. Resolve Items Committed to Old/Invalid Open Orders

Invalid orders are ones that started to work through the fulfillment process but were never marked as packed or shipped. When this happens, items in these orders will be on hand but committed to an order, which can throw off your inventory counts. We recommend that you review these weekly.

Picked Orders: Transactions > Sales > Mark Orders Packed

Packed Orders: Transactions > Sales > Mark Orders Shipped

This will create a list of open orders that are in a picked but not packed state or a packed but not shipped state. 

How To Resolve:

  • Pack and ship any valid orders.
  • For old or invalid orders, follow recommended process for deleting fulfillment/bin transfer to picked bin, and then close out the original sales order.

4. Update Required Item Fields

The most common inventory issue that we run into are items that are not being appropriately included in stock counts. Inventory items that do not have a “Next Count Date” or “Count Interval” defined prevent them from appearing as expected items in stock count sheets. If using Stock Count, ensure that all existing inventory items at any location that you are counting have values in these fields. To do this, create a Saved Search on Item Records and export your CSV. Fill in the intervals and run the CSV import in NetSuite: Setup > Import/Export > Import CSV Records.

 How To Resolve:

  • The best option for updating these required fields is to create a CSV import. This will allow you to update your inventory items across all locations.
  • Manually update any missing values.

Want to learn more about healthy inventory habits? NetSuite Customer Allied Hygiene was able to increase inventory accuracy from 75 to 99.6% by implementing scanning.

Read the Case Study