One of our portfolio companies uses Netsuite for its manufacturing, wholesale, and retail operations. It uses two instances of the software: one for its United States manufacturing/wholesale operation and one for its Canada wholesale/retail operation. It is used across the entire organization for all business processes, including financials, order processing, inventory management, and CRM.
I like that it's 100% online and can be run through a web browser. No software maintenance is required.
It is relatively simple for its capabilities. I was able to implement it myself without outside support. I simply browsed a sandbox instance and read help files until I was comfortable moving forward. We have no dedicated support staff. I and our tech-savvy office manager provide all user support.
Reports are highly customizable, powerful, and relatively simple to create. Our users can create their own reports to get the data they need.
Workflows have streamlined our sales and purchasing processes. It is easy for our staff to follow the workflows to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. The processes have required very little maintenance or training since implementing them over four years ago.
We have all relevant accounting and operating data in one place, which helps decision-making. For example, we can make product mix decisions by viewing margins over time by sku.
The only negative is the cost. We could save on monthly subscription costs by using Xero combined with an order and inventory management solution like Unleashed. However, we would lose efficiency by not having all processes integrated into one system.
We use Xero in all of our other companies. I have used QuickBooks in the past. I have compared Netsuite to Xero in past responses so I won't rehash everything. The benefit of Netsuite is having all data and processes in one system with highly customizable reporting. The benefit of Xero is that it's cheaper and simpler.
It's well-suited for organizations who want a robust all-in-one solution for financials, order and inventory management, and CRM (plus other modules as needed). Since it's online, it's great for distributed teams or those who don't want to manage software, servers, networks, etc. It's highly scalable for growing companies. I wouldn't recommend it for smaller companies on a tight budget with simple accounting needs. Netsuite requires one-year contracts, and you pay per user, which can get quite expensive. I recommend most companies start with Xero to see if it meets their needs. If they have the need for additional features and the budget to support it, I would highly recommend Netsuite.
Implementation is relatively simple compared to other software packages. Carefully reconcile closing balances from the old system with opening balances in Netsuite, and lock the old system so changes can't be made.
Timing was a challenge. We converted from QuickBooks, and we had to pick a date to make sure we were ready to stop using QuickBooks and start using Netsuite. Luckily, we were able to cut over at our fiscal year end, which happens to be during our off season.
Netsuite is relatively simple, but it still takes time to map business processes to Netsuite and create the proper workflows and reports.