Many Toolio customers invest in Toolio either at the same time or soon after making the investment in NetSuite. Netsuite gives customers a solid foundation for a single source of truth to manage their business, inventory tracking and accounting, and Toolio helps merchandising teams to operationalize the data coming out of NetSuite to make faster and better merchandising decisions.
Below is a quick workflow that shows how Toolio and NetSuite work and are better together!
NetSuite Areas of Impact on Toolio Implementation
As a SuiteApp partner, Toolio integrates seamlessly into NetSuite. Toolio ingest information real-time from multiple tables: products, sales, inventory purchase orders and receipts. In response, Toolio can automate the creation of Products, Purchase Orders and Transfer Orders in NetSuite.
The most successful Toolio implementations happen when organizations have strong processes for managing and maintaining their NetSuite data. The decisions your organization makes for customizations to NetSuite can have a big impact on your Toolio implementation. For the fastest implementation of Toolio, here are the key areas to focus on with your NetSuite implementation. As always, it helps to think about it in terms of Team, Process and Technology.
Build a Strong Team to Support Your NetSuite Integration
For a successful Toolio & NetSuite integration, having a team that understands the data in NetSuite and is actively managing it is essential. Whenever there is a dedicated technology owner that maintains the data in NetSuite or a planner who intimately understands how NetSuite is managed, integrations happen a lot faster. If you don’t have a resource internally, the Toolio team is always happy to play a more active consultative role, or recommend some of our System Integrator partners.
Build Strong NetSuite Processes
It is essential that you have a good process in terms of managing your NetSuite data. In practice, this will vary depending on the different functions being managed in NetSuite. We'll highlight the most common below.
NetSuite Product Information
Products are core to any retailers NetSuite instance. Be sure your team has the following areas well defined in terms of roles and responsibilities for creation, updates and deletion.
- Product Hierarchy: Ensure that you have your product hierarchy defined and maintained in NetSuite. If you need pointers on what a good product hierarchy is, see Parker Avery podcast or check out our help article on Picking Merchandising Attributes.
- Non-Hierarchical Attributes: Make sure that all your non-hierarchical attributes, e.g. color, fabric, silhouette are all up-to-date in NetSuite and defined for each product. As the above Parker Avery podcast mentions, hierarchy should change rarely, whereas other attributes can be updated more frequently to reflect changes and provide additional insights needed for reporting.
- Pricing Information: Maintain an updated “Compare At Price” or “MSRP” for each item so that you can back into a Markdown value on the Sales feed.
NetSuite Sales Information
Each individual sale can be fraught with potential data issues, but we typically see two areas of concern when it comes to a NetSuite sales feed.
- Are all sales channels reflected in NetSuite? Often ecommerce sales are reflected well, but wholesale and sometimes even point-of-sale are coming in through another system and not synced with NetSuite. Toolio can still work with these scenarios, but it's best practice to have all sales channels eventually flowing into one sales table, whether that's NetSuite or another data warehouse solution.
- Assign sales channel to each purchase. As each sale line item comes in, ensuring a field exists to designate where that purchase originated will help segment purchases (and their corresponding metrics) by channel. This is critical for team-based workflows in Toolio.
- Discounts and markdowns. We talked about discounts at the product level above, but each individual purchase should also capture discounts and markdowns at a line level within NetSuite, so that you can analyze your discounts by different product lines within Toolio.
NetSuite Inventory and Location Information
Inventory is typically straightforward until location complexity is introduced. For retailers with multiple warehouses, stores and even workflows where "virtual locations" are set up to secure inventory for individual wholesale partners, inventory can get tricky quickly. Two tips can help alleviate this:
- Understand your inventory data points. NetSuite comes out of the box with two boolean fields, makeInventoryAvailable and makeInventoryAvailableStore, which only when flagged as TRUE will allow users to add inventory to an order or to an online store, respectively. Retailers will commonly use these flags (or other custom fields) to secure inventory for wholesale partners or various other use cases. Be sure you understand how flags like this are used and how you want them reflected in Toolio.
- Align location to channel. Say you have use cases where certain wholesalers have exclusive products, or you create web-only fashion pieces. Ensure these business decisions are reflected appropriately in the data.
NetSuite Purchase Order Management
Purchase orders are loathed by most retail teams. They're often seen as the tedious task no one with an ounce of experience wants to deal with, but they're critical for the business and almost everyone has that one nightmare story of a purchase order with an error resulting in a big headache. Here are the typical challenges we see around PO management in NetSuite.
- Every purchase order in NetSuite every time. It is essential to create and manage Purchase Orders for all vendor orders in NetSuite. Even if the vendor accepts orders via email or spreadsheet, the PO must also get created in NetSuite.
- Update POs regularly. Similarly, as your supplier (or logistics partner) provides updated information, such as adjusted due date, make sure to update this in NetSuite.
- Close out your POs. We often see POs left open, or appearing as not yet received, in NetSuite. Ensure your warehouse has an airtight and timely approach to PO receipt, which ensures all on-hand and available to sell information downstream is accurate.
NetSuite Receipts Management
Related to our last point above, in many cases, we see customers not actively managing receipts in NetSuite, but this also is essential, not only for Toolio, but for accounting. Every time you do receive, and this can happen in your 3PL partner, make sure that you create an Item Receipt object in NetSuite, and make sure that the received units are actively captured.
Another pro tip, ensure landed cost vs. FOB is accurate on receipts. Without it, margin calculations will not be accurate.
Build Strong NetSuite Knowhow
The final leg of people, process and technology is the technology. NetSuite is a robust and customizable platform. With that benefit, it can often confuse those new to the platform. We highly recommend learning about NetSuite objects, how they interact with each other and requirements. Again, we're happy to recommend NetSuite certified consulting partners to help assess NetSuite setup and augmentation.
The most important NetSuite understanding for Toolio's integration is NetSuite's Saved Searches.
Understand Saved Searches
Toolio leverages Saved Searches for integration. This gives you full control on what data is sent to Toolio and allows you to create consistency between Toolio and internal NetSuite reporting. The caveat here is that the team knows how to maintain Saved Searches. Toolio’s NetSuite app comes with out of the box Saved Searches, which you can then update to suit your needs.
Pro tip: Make sure Location attribution is aligned across all feeds (sales, inventory, PO, receipt, transfers). Even if you don't have stores today, the future looks bright and it's better to be prepared for eventual allocation, where location becomes critical.
In Conclusion: NetSuite & Toolio Enable Better Decision-Making
For retailers who choose NetSuite to maintain and manage their critical business functions, Toolio is the best-in-class addition to empower better, insights-driven decision-making for planning team. Inventory is a retailers most important (and expensive) asset, why not enable the teams managing it with the best technology and processes? To learn more about Toolio's NetSuite partnership, go here.