NetSuite takes a crack at discrete manufacturing

It has embedded partner Rootstock's software into a newly branded vertical ERP suite

NetSuite is stepping up its vertical strategy with an on-demand ERP (enterprise resource planning) edition aimed at discrete manufacturers, the term for companies that create customizable products by assembling parts.

NetSuite Manufacturing Edition includes functionality built by Rootstock Software on NetSuite's technology platform. The companies first announced a partnership some time ago. Until now, the product has been in beta with a few select customers, according to a spokeswoman.

Customers interested in the release will deal with NetSuite on both the sales and support side. In addition, the products' workflows have been integrated well enough that users won't feel they're using two different applications, said Mini Peiris, vice president of product marketing.

The on-demand model works well for discrete manufacturing because executives are often dealing with and flying around the world to multiple plants and need easy access to the system, according to Peiris. While companies could always use a virtual private network to tunnel into an on-premises system, that approach comes with financial and logistical overhead avoided by NetSuite's model, she said.

Pricing for the discrete manufacturing capabilities starts at US$2,499 per month for a companywide module. NetSuite pricing of $99 per user per month also applies.

NetSuite is hoping to entice manufacturing companies looking to move off their legacy systems, which may be difficult or expensive to maintain.

But it will face competition, as other manufacturing-oriented ERP vendors, such as Epicor and Lawson Software, have made recent moves toward supporting cloud-based deployments.

Meanwhile, the new product is "just one step along the way of NetSuite's self-described 'Year of the Industry,' with more announcements in the other vertical sectors NetSuite plays in very likely," said 451 Group analyst China Martens via e-mail.

"We'd definitely see NetSuite looking to sell Manufacturing Edition with its OneWorld financial consolidation module for manufacturers trying to manage sites in several countries," she added.

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