Logistics and Warehousing Reports
If you work in a warehouse or in a logistics department, and use NetSuite, this video is for you. We’ll look at just a few of the many reports NetSuite offers out of the box, that should help you make meaningful decisions based on data that is already in the system. The first ones we’re going to take a look at are related to inventory and transfers. If we hover over Reports then scroll down until we find Inventory Items, we see several reports related to inventory. Let’s open the Current Inventory Status, Physical Inventory Worksheet, Inventory Back Order, and Transfer Order Register reports. I opened these in a new tab by holding down the control key as I was clicking each item. I also want to point out this Inventory Turnover report, we won’t look at this right now, but will come back to it momentarily.
The Current Inventory Status report is used to see what’s in inventory and where, at any given point in time. You’ll notice there are no date pickers, here at the bottom, and that is because this report is always current as of when it is run. Right now, we are looking at all of our inventory, but it can be useful to only see items that are below their restocking levels. We can do that by clicking this “at or below reorder point” checkbox and then clicking refresh. Now we are only looking at what we need to reorder. Reorder points are usually managed at the item level, and we can get to any specific item by clicking on its name or description.
I’ll go ahead and deselect this reorder point checkbox, and refresh again, because I want to demonstrate searching in reports, and I need some more data to be able to do this. So, if I were searching for an item that I was sure was here, Tums as an example, I could go to the browsers search box, and type in that item. But you can see that the browser search does not find the item. This is because not everything in a report is initially loaded into the browser, and this is especially true the larger the report gets. NetSuite does this for performance reasons. If we want to find something in a report it is almost always better to use the Find box down here. We can see that this did find what we were looking for earlier.
When we look at this report, it is kind of wide. Because of this, one of the more difficult things to do is really see where we have inventory. What I tend to do is use the top of the report as a guide, and line up what I am looking for at the top. This way, as I scroll over to the right, I can more easily keep track of what I was looking for. For Tums, we can see how many we have across all of our locations and the total here at the right. We could also filter to a specific location by selecting it from this dropdown box. However, if we are just trying to figure out where we have a certain product, this can be very inefficient, because when we select one location we are eliminating our view of all other locations.
The Physical Inventory Worksheet is usually used when performing an inventory count. Unlike the previous report, there is a date picker for this one, so we can select to see what our inventory was as of any specific date. For this sheet, the inventory is summed up based on location. Since counts are usually done based on a single location, most of the time you will want to set this report to look at a single location. This can be done by selecting more, then selecting the location you want to view with this dropdown box. I’ll go ahead and choose Boston and click refresh, and now we are looking at just the inventory we have in Boston.
Since these physical inventory worksheets are often used to perform physical inventory counts, it often makes sense to print this. We can easily do that by clicking on this print icon down here. After we click print we get chromes print dialog box, where we can preview or print the report. For ours this is only 13 pages, but if you have a lot of inventory, this can be in the hundreds of pages. So, you should probably preview this before printing it, and that’s true for most reports. I’ll go ahead and cancel this though since I don’t really need to print it. We can also drill down into either the item or the vendor by hovering over either and clicking, so here we can see our record for Invacare as a vendor.
Coming over to the Inventory Back Order report, we can see what inventory we currently have on backorder. This report can be used by a number of different departments in a business, but often it is logistics that uses this, to make sure they have ordered anything that has run out of stock. In this report we can also see where a back order occurred. That is, what sales order or work order caused a product to go into a backorder state. We can also drill down to the specific work order or sales order by clicking directly on the document number. Hopefully by now, you are seeing a common theme. Most reports not only show you data, but also allow you to get to the source of that data very easily. This is one of the types of things that you really only get when you have a fully integrated system.
Coming over to the Transfer Order Register, we can see all the transfer orders we have, that have not been completed. We have these categories that show the date, document, status, and if we had dollar amounts tied to our transfers we would see that here as well. Not surprisingly we can drill down here too. We can select “From” and “To” dates, but one of the things I don’t think I mentioned, is that we can also choose from a preselected set of date ranges, using this date selector field. This is true in this, and most other, reports where there is a date range selector.
I’ll go ahead and close all of these and we’ll take a look at the Inventory Turnover. We can get to this report by hovering over reports, scrolling down to Inventory Items, and clicking on Inventory Turnover. I’ll open this in a new tab, and we can see already from this notice that the report did not load. This is because, for this report we have to restrict our view to a single subsidiary. We talked about doing this in chapter two. We can select the Restrict View link, which will take us to the correct page to restrict our view. Once we do that and click Save, the report is rerun with the selected subsidiary. When we’re done with this report, we can go to our home menu and select Set Preferences. I’ll open this in a new tab so we don’t leave our report. From here we can select Restrict View, and then we can derestrict our view by selecting this blank line for subsidiary and then clicking save. Instead of clicking save here though, I am going to click cancel because I still want us to look at this Inventory Turnover report.
This report is used to see how often we’re turning over our inventory and what that inventory is costing us. It is often used by proactive logistics managers who want to help make a difference to their companies bottom line, by adding efficiencies. In most cases though, this report will be just a starting point and you will want to heavily customize it for your specific business. There are a few filters that we have by default. If we click on the more link we have the ability to filter to a specific location and see inventory just as it relates to that location. We have a date range picker here as well, but this works slightly differently than others we have used. Let me show you what I mean. I’ll go ahead and set this to a two-year timeframe and click refresh, and we can see the error dialog telling us that the most we can select is 13 months at a time. This gives us a clue into how this report was intended to be used. Generally, this report is looked at on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly range. Let’s go ahead and close this tab and take a look at a couple of demand planning reports.
We’ll again hover over our Reports menu, scroll down to Demand Planning, and open Demand History by Item, and Item Demand Plan in new tabs. The demand history report lets us look at how much of a product we sold, or could have sold for a given period of time. We have date range filters just like most other reports. We also have this column filter, where we can select how we want our columns to be laid out. Right now, we are looking at the total, but we could just as easily break this down by location. I’ll choose that, and watch how the columns change when I click refresh. Now we are seeing everything, but we are seeing it based on the locations we have. Since most of our inventory is kept in San Francisco in this test account, this does not really do that much for us, but if you’re following along I suspect you saw a much larger change.
Where item demand history focuses on the past, the item demand plan focuses on the future. Initially I am looking at a range, going from the past, into the future. It’s early December 2017 as I am recording this. Like the other report, I can also setup my columns for this one, so that I see more meaningful data. I’ll go ahead and change this to a month view and click refresh. Now we can see the demand over time on a month by month basis. We could use this to look out into the future, but my account is not setup, nor do I have recent enough data to do this.
It’s very common to want to look at this in a graph format, with the goal being, to look at items and see their demand over time. While we can use a graph for this report, it doesn’t work quite like this out of the box. Let’s take a look by clicking on the graph icon down here. First, let me move this out of the way, so we can see the data behind it, as well as the graph. When we first look at this, it kind of looks like it is broken; it isn’t. What we are seeing is the data for column one, April 2014, and there isn’t really any data here to show, but we’ll come back to this in just a moment. We do have options to look at this graph as a pie chart, which unsurprisingly doesn’t give us anything since there isn’t any real data. We can also look at this as a line, which right now is totally flat. Let’s see if we can do something about this.
If we change this from column one to column five, we are now looking at data for August 2014. But what we are actually looking at is not a trend line for a single item, but rather ten items with points for the sales of each. With this report there really isn’t a way to get a trend line, which is what most people actually want. For that, we can use this report as a starting point, or use a different report, but we have to have the data viewed by a different dimension. We can add another column, say column six, which is the data for September 2014, and now we are sort of comparing the time ranges. If you do this just keep in mind that the data you are looking at is for each item, and these lines really don’t mean anything. In fact, this is a better chart to look at in bar or pie format. You can try that out on your own if you want, but I am going to close this for now.
The last report I want us to look at is for shipping, and is found under Reports and Order Management. This is a functional report that lists everything we’ve shipped between the dates we select. We have a variety of columns of data such as what order was shipped, and where we shipped it. We can drill down to most of these, but that is nothing new. This is one of the more common reports I see people export. That is because there is a tendency to want to sort this report by the columns. Unfortunately reports do not allow for this type of sorting, though saved searches do. Bringing this data into Excel allows this type of sorting though, and that is one of the reasons I think it is exported so frequently. If we want to export this, we can do so easily by clicking on this export button down here. This exports it into a comma separated value, or CSV format, though there is an option for Excel. CSV’s most often open in Excel on Windows based computers anyway. The biggest difference between CSV’s and native Excel file types is how visual formatting is handled. We can go ahead and open this, and we see the same data we had but in a spreadsheet. From here we could further manipulate the data outside the system. Whatever we do here though is local to our own computer, and will not be propagated back to NetSuite.
Like I said at the beginning, these are just a few of the reports you have to help your logistics and warehousing departments run smoothly. You should be able to take this knowledge, build upon it, and find reports that give you the day to day information you need.