A Pinto vs a Ferrari: How to Drive NetSuite Full Speed

cloud computingThere’s no doubt about it: NetSuite is an extremely powerful software system.  As a fully integrated ERP and CRM system, NetSuite is like a Ferrari compared to most business systems.  But is it possible that your current business system is like a Ford Pinto, and not a Ferrari? How would you know?

When we talk about Pintos, we usually think of cars that are just slow and adequate. Yes, they do work – but that’s about all you can say about them.  Similarly, look at your current business system and ask yourself:  is my software allowing me to take full advantage of my business? With a Pinto-like system, your business’ growth will be choked and stifled. The limitations of individual CRMs, ERPs, spreadsheets and so forth are costing you lots of money, without giving you growth opportunities.   I will present some examples below.

NetSuite is similar to a Ferrari — A high performance machine that, in the hands of the right people, can allow you to take full advantage of your business.  A NetSuite system is a fully integrated CRM and ERP system that takes complete advantage of the strengths in your business model and can be adapted to your unique requirements.   With a Pinto, you may be stuck at a top speed of 65 mph. But with a Ferrari, you are capable of much greater speed.

The NetSuite User – Driving a Ferrari like a Pinto

So, now that you have a Ferrari, you need to know how to take advantage of it. The problem is that your business may still be acting like its driving a Pinto. Why does this occur?

Often, the problems that I have observed around NetSuite revolve around implementation.  If a company selects NetSuite, but fails to do a proper job of implementing the system, they will have spent a lot of money without taking full advantage of the system.   In the cases where employees are not clear how to powerfully use NetSuite, they default to just getting by.  For example, they may not be using purchase orders to buy goods; so when they get a vendor invoice as a request for payment, they manually look up the old paper invoices to check the last pricing.  That is a Pinto move.

Here are some common NetSuite Pinto moves I witness:

  1. Data is maintained in spreadsheets when they easily can be accommodated within NetSuite.
  2. Employees use email to each other to make inquiries versus looking up data themselves.  This is especially acute on order status and inventory availability.
  3. In service companies, billing is done by asking project managers if they are ready to bill – versus leveraging billing schedules.
  4. Product returns are not being managed with NetSuite’s Return Authorizations  – instead, a manual receiving system is developed to track inbound shipments.

Do any of these apply to you?  Do you intuitively know you can get more from NetSuite?  It’s time to ask yourself how much time, labor, and money may be wasted because you haven’t leveraged NetSuite’s capacities to streamline your operations.

This is where consulting a NetSuite expert is critical.  A NetSuite expert will understand your business concerns, as well as how to educate employees on its usage, and allow NetSuite to be taken out of first gear and kicked into fifth.  Read my article on NetSuite implementation to learn how to take advantage of a NetSuite system.

The moral of the story is that NetSuite is like a Ferrari, and should be used like a Ferrari.  One sure way to waste money is to pay the price of a Ferrari and drive it like a Pinto.  Get help.


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Marty Zigman

Holding all three official certifications, Marty is Southern California's NetSuite expert and leads a team of senior professionals at Prolecto Resources, Inc. He is a former Deloitte & Touche CPA and has held CTO roles. For over 25 years, Marty has produced leadership in ERP, CRM and eCommerce business systems. Contact Marty to set up a conversation.

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| Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Category: CRM, ERP, Management, NetSuite | 2 Comments


  1. Posted November 30, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Great analogy Marty. I concur.

    One other area of “underuse” comes to mind for me: the Item and Customer Records or “Master File” data.

    Often, companies coming off more “Pinto” like systems are in a habit of using only human-readable or “intelligent” Item Record names for their products or services. They work extremely hard to concoct naming conventions that are unscalable and, with NetSuite’s powerful capabilities, unnecessary.

    Additionally, the misuse of native tools like Departments and Classes can also cause unforeseen downstream challenges.

    And usually these missteps are simply the best efforts of non-experts during the implementation.

    If I could, I would forewarn everyone that these methods not only make record creation difficult, but also impede and slow a host of business processes, from efforts like Order Entry and Inventory management, to integrating with 3rd parties via tools like EDI, to web store development, and even email campaigns.

    A great deal of NetSuite’s power comes from it’s malleability, and understanding the capabilities to customize records of all types.

    From my point of view, when a business wants to grow and transact in a scalable, powerful, and graceful way, the first “Pinto” methods to examine when adopting a tool like NetSuite, would be the ones surrounding their Master File data.

  2. Posted December 31, 2011 at 4:21 am | Permalink

    Thanks Jan. I agree. We see all kinds of systems with bad data in it. Duplicates, missing information, and so forth. What then do you trust? This lack of care thwarts our client’s efforts to drive powerful action. But then they are too busy to clean it up. Just a quick fix please by adding a new feature. That’s a Pinto move. Our favorite clients invest in practices to care for those Master Records. That’s a Ferrari move. I would love to develop a list of Pinto vs. Ferrari moves.

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