NetSuite targets manufacturing as final industry to begin move to cloud

NetSuite has targeted manufacturing as the final major industry segment to move to the cloud, aiming to support the transition with the launch of new features to integrate with its wider ERP systems.

Addressing attendees at the SuiteWorld  event in San Francisco, NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson said that manufacturers have so far lagged behind in moving their complex systems to the cloud.

"The last industry to move to the cloud is manufacturing," Nelson said, claiming that the complicated nature of production processes has meant that companies have been slow to move from on-premise systems.

“It is really hard to run a manufacturing business, and incredibly complex to build products. You need a whole hodge-podge of systems to manage the shop floor, to manage the supply chain, shipping, and then they need to be tied in to your core business systems like financials and CRM system.”

The new manufacturing solution unveiled by NetSuite after two years of 'stealth' development will expand on its existing manufacturing tools to offer a more comprehensive, end-to-end overview of production processes, integrating with its full range of software, down to its SuiteCommerce retail systems.

“NetSuite has historically focused on outsourced manufacturing, but that is changing today. After two years of development we are now enabling people who actually make things to do it in a single cloud based system,” Nelson said.

New features on offer from Netsuite include enhancements for management of shop floor process around routing and scheduling, allowing customers to define parameters around run rates, as well as work-in-process inventory tracking. The cloud tools are aimed at helping manufacturing customers conduct demand planning, reduce inventory holding costs, and keep an overview of bill of materials.

In addition, NetSuite also unveiled a partnership with computer aided design (CAD) software vendor Autodesk, aimed at enabling product lifecycle management (PLM) tools to integrate into NetSuite's ERP systems. Nelson pointed out that the partnership will be instrumental in allowing a comprehensive overview of production design phases right through to customer facing systems by integrating AutoDesk's PLM 360 tools.

Taking a swipe at ERP vendor rival SAP, which is currently holding its own user conference in Orlando, Nelson said that customers at the NetSuite event were more interested in ERP applications and specific functionality than the database technology running underneath.

"We are bringing manufacturing to the cloud, with our own product and partnerships that are transforming how manufacturing is done around the world,” he said.

“What does SAP talk about at their conference? They are not talking about applications, they are not talking about manufacturing, they are talking about databases in the cloud," he said, adding that SAP is fighting a battle won by Oracle “about 20 years ago".

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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