NetSuite Workflows (SuiteFlow): Create and Optimize Workflows

October 9, 2023

A NetSuite Saved Search, A NetSuite Workflow, Women & man are talking

Learning how to create a NetSuite workflow helps you get the most from your ERP platform. Workflows enable you to boost business efficiency and streamline business processes through automation. Competing in the modern business environment is challenging. Finding a way to maximize your resources and do more with less is essential.

In this blog, we'll show you how to create a workflow for automatically assigning a particular task to a sales rep.

As an experienced NetSuite partner, Seller Universe can support your business by increasing your workflow functionality. Building complex workflow transitions and conditions can be challenging at first. We take the time to understand your business requirements and help you optimize your NetSuite implementation through powerful business tools and workflows.

Creating NetSuite workflows

Creating a NetSuite ERP workflow saves you time and money. NetSuite's workflow management tool, SuiteFlow, helps you automate business processes and boost customer experiences with a simple point-and-click user interface.

NetSuite workflow templates are no-code. This handy user interface allows you to create the time-saving automation processes that make the ERP solution so popular. Manual processes take up time and resources; workflows let your employees focus on value-generating tasks.

NetSuite continues to grow in popularity as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool. A big part of that growth is because it helps make business processes more straightforward and more efficient due to automation.  A powerful feature of NetSuite is workflows.

NetSuite workflows: Everything you need to know

NetSuite workflows help you manage and automate complex business tasks. The power of NetSuite software comes from allowing you to create custom workflows that meet your business needs and requirements. As such, you can use workflows to integrate your business processes into the NetSuite ecosystem.

Before we get into our NetSuite workflow example, let’s explain a little more about NetSuite workflows and SuiteFlow.

What Is A Workflow In Netsuite?

NetSuite workflows allow users to create dynamic custom processes that don't require SuiteScript knowledge. 

You can use workflows for various processes, such as automating purchase orders and instructing NetSuite to take set actions based on the approval status.

What is SuiteFlow?

SuiteFlow is NetSuite's business process automation tool. It allows users to build NetSuite workflows without coding knowledge. Users can employ these no-code tools to build a custom business process that suits their workflow rather than being constrained by out-of-the-box processes.

SuiteFlow Benefits

Here are some key benefits of NetSuite's SuiteFlow that you should note:

  • Eliminate the need for SuiteScript
  • Customize NetSuite to align with your unique business processes
  • Automate routine tasks and processes to improve operational efficiency
  • Scalability by modifying workflows to easily adapt to your business’ growing needs
  • Reduce the likelihood of errors associated with manual data entry and processing
  • Enhance visibility and transparency through a clear and visual representation of the workflow steps
  • Streamline approval and routing processes
  • Get real-time monitoring and notifications to track the status of tasks and processes
  • Seamlessly integrate and collaborate with other NetSuite modules and third-party

To sum it up, SuiteFlow gives you the autonomy to design, automate, and manage workflows within NetSuite so that you can achieve more efficient, accurate, and streamlined processes.

The Basics of Workflows In NetSuite

In NetSuite, you can refer to workflow states as the different stages that a record or transaction goes through. You can correlate these states to represent a particular step within your business process. Here are the common workflow states used in NetSuite:

  1. Start: This is the initial state of your workflow. Typically, this state initiates when a record or transaction meets specific triggering conditions.
  2. Conditions and Decisions: In this state, your workflow evaluates conditions based on set rules or criteria. Depending on the results, the workflow may transition to different states and enable different paths within your workflow.
  3. Actions: This state encompasses tasks you need to perform based on the evaluated conditions. Actions can be sending email notifications, creating records, updating fields, or triggering further sub-workflows.
  4. Approvals: The workflow may move to an approval state where it awaits approval from a designated approver. It can pause or continue based on the approval or rejection.
  5. Record Update: This state involves updating specific fields or data within a record based on the conditions or actions defined in your workflow.
  6. End: This is the final state in your workflow which indicates that the process is complete. This state might involve closing the transaction or sending a final email notification.

It is important to understand these workflow states as it allows administrators or developers to design workflows in NetSuite more effectively. By defining these states, you are one step ready to create a more streamlined NetSuite process flow to improve your business process!

Workflow Fields

In NetSuite, you can refer to workflow fields as data elements associated with the workflow which operate similarly to fields in records and transactions. The purpose of these fields is to simply hold values or parameters relevant to the workflow.

Workflow Actions

Simply put, workflow actions are the command of the workflow. The most commonly used workflow actions include sending emails, creating/updating a record, adding/removing buttons, setting field values, and returning user errors.

How To Create a Workflow in NetSuite

The best way to learn about creating a workflow is by doing one yourself. This tutorial is perfect for beginners and will give you a better context on how to build a NetSuite workflow.

Our workflow tutorial will use a NetSuite Saved Search to assign a task to a sales rep. However, it's important to remember this is just one of a considerable number of NetSuite workflow examples and use cases you can employ in your business.

If you're familiar with NetSuite, you will have encountered Saved Searches. They are one of the key features within NetSuite because they allow you to see and use your in-house data. Some of the critical benefits of Saved Searches are:

  • Excellent reporting and monitoring tool: You can add safe searches to your dashboards to monitor specific data
  • Accessible: Saved searches are simple to learn and execute
  • Flexible: Saved searches are customizable around your particular business flow or processes.

In this workflow example, we’ll show you how to automate a process for assigning a sales rep instructions to follow up with a customer whose master service agreement (MSA) is about to expire next month.  Let’s jump into workflows!

Step 1. Create a Saved Search

  1. Log in to your NetSuite account under the Administrator role. Navigate to "Select New" from Reports > Saved Searches > All Saved Searches
  1. Select "Customer" from New Saved Searches. Type in the name of your Saved Search, for example, “Customer Won Status.”
  1. Navigate to Criteria > Filter and do the following:
  • Under "Status," choose the name of your new Saved Search
  • Select "Set" on "Customer-Closed Won"
  • Select "Set" on "MSA expiration (Custom)">"on" "same day next month"
  • Click "Set" on **"**MSA Signed (Custom)" > Select "Yes"
  1. Next up, go to the "Results" tab and select "Add" on the following four tabs:
  • Sales Rep
  • Status
  • MSA Expiration (Custom)
  • MSA Signed (Custom)

Now, it's best practice to test if your Saved Search is working. Go to the top left-hand corner and press the "Save and Run" button.

Running the Saved Search will populate the list with customers that match your criteria, which were:

  • Customer-closed status won
  • MSA expiring in one month
  • MSA signed

Testing the Saved Search gives you a list of clients who meet the criteria for your workflow process.

Step 2. Create Your workflow in NetSuite

Now it's time to create your workflow in NetSuite.

  1. Open the "Customization" tab and select "New" by navigating through Workflow > Workflows.
  • Enter a name for your workflow, such as "MSA follow up," and insert an ID like "_MSA_followup."
  • Next, Choose "Customer" in both the "record type" and "subtype" tabs. Select value for the Owner.
  • There is also an option to add a Description Type. This entry is essentially a piece of text that describes your workflow. It makes it simple for anyone to understand the set of workflow actions you have built. 

         2. Now, you should:

  • Select "Testing" under release status, and choose "only when testing" under the instance and history options.
  • Select "Enable logging."
  • Under initiation, we want the workflow to run each morning at 07:00. You can achieve this by selecting "scheduled."
  1. Under Save Search filter, choose your filter from stage 1: "Customer Won Status," and do the following:
  • Click "repeat"
  • Set frequency to "daily."
  • Choose a start date
  • Select when the workflow runs (i.e., 07:00)
  • Click "Save."

        4. Now, your workflow should appear on the screen as a gray box or state diagram. Next up, you should:

  • Click on the gray box with the title "State 1". (Workflow states are stages of record within your business process)
  • Hit "+ New action" at the bottom of the right-hand side panel
  • Choose "Create record" from the menu options. This option will bring up a new page.

         5. Within this page, you need to select "Task" from Parameters > Record Type. Then, under the Field tab, select the following:

  • Under “Title," enter a description of the task, and click "OK"
  • Under "Due date," choose "five days from now," and hit "OK"
  • Under "Formula," enter "{}" and hit "OK."
  • Enter your NetSuite workflow Saved Search Condition "customer won status."
  • Click "Save" because your workflow is ready.

Step 3. Test your workflow in NetSuite

You should always test if your NetSuite workflow is functioning correctly. Here is how you can do it.

  1. Open the NetSuite Workflow edit mode.
  • Select the pencil icon in the top right-hand corner.
  • Choose "Execute Now"
  • From the drop-down menu, choose Activities > Scheduling > Select Tasks
  1. From here, you'll be able to see if choosing "Execute Now" actually assigned a workflow task.
  • Click "View" on the task and look at "Related Records'. This option will allow you to see the company assigned to your sales rep.
  • Select "System Information" to confirm the workflow appropriately created the task.

If everything is in order, your workflow is working, and it will automate the search and assign a customer to your rep at 07:00 each morning.

What other complex business processes can you build with NetSuite workflows?

Our guide above is just one example of a business process you can automate with NetSuite. You can also simplify things like the invoice approval process with a NetSuite approval workflow. Similarly, you can use SuiteFlow for managing and updating records, lead nurturing, sending emails, and anything else you can imagine.

The real power of the ERP platform is its flexibility in allowing you to create whatever automation makes your business more efficient. Once you understand your Netsuite workflow requirements, you can start to build custom workflows or select from various NetSuite templates.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, NetSuite is a powerful tool for making your business more efficient through automation. You can build workflows by identifying the manual tasks that take up too much time and creating them with the platform's user-friendly interface.

If you have a NetSuite implementation but are unsure where to start with building more complex workflows, a NetSuite consultant can help. Seller Universe has helped dozens of businesses like yours customize NetSuite to meet their unique needs and requirements for an effective workflow process. Get in touch today to find out more.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Benefits of NetSuite’s Workflows?

How To View Your Workflow In NetSuite

What Is SuiteFlow Workflow Manager (Function and Benefit)?

How To Trigger Workflow Processes When Specific Events Occur?

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