ETO and CTO Manufacturers: Three Ways NetSuite Supports the Customization Trend

Engineer to Order in Manufacturing

Consumer choice has come a long way since Henry Ford told customers that they could have a Model T painted any color, “so long as it’s black.” At the time, offering color options translated into higher production costs, more employees, more equipment, the potential for mistakes and a more complicated production process overall.

Fast forward to 2022 and Ford’s parameters have given way to work that’s much more personalized and customized. Knowing this, manufacturers that specialize in engineer to order (ETO) and configure to order (CTO) products are stepping up and extending their product lines.

These efforts led to higher sales and bigger market share, but also create new complexities for ETO and CTO manufacturers that have long relied on disparate software applications and spreadsheets to run their operations. Today, more manufacturers are turning to cloud-based enterprise software like NetSuite and Myers-Holum, a NetSuite Alliance Partner, for help. Here are three reasons why:

1. Speed of delivery is a critical business advantage.

Manufacturers that use spreadsheets for core activities like inventory management and outside applications for ecommerce sales are getting left behind fairly quickly. As customer demand for ETO and CTO products continues to grow and as the number of different product configurations expands, speed of delivery helps companies beat out the competition. With NetSuite, manufacturers can streamline inventory management that took place on spreadsheets and use that data to run their manufacturing, installation and/or service processes.

2. Customers want self-service options.

Myers-Holum provides a single solution that helps ETO and CTO manufacturers meet the growing demand for “self-service” on the part of their customers. Those buyers want to go online and place an order without having to pick up the phone, send an email or work directly with a sales rep. Previously, companies could easily lose insights into the associated costs during the “self-service” process. With a unified ERP platform in place managing the customers’ self-service activity, manufacturers can gain insights into the associated costs and price orders out correctly.

3. Operational visibility has become table stakes for all manufacturing firms.

NetSuite implemented by Myers-Holum gives ETO and CTO manufacturers granular levels of detail on all of their transactions. In addition, Myers-Holum leverages NetSuite CPQ, a configure, price, quote solution. This solution helps manage the complexities of ETO/CTO orders and software requirements and ties into the interface for opportunities, quotes and sales orders. Items, customer data, bills of material (BOM) and routings are shared between the systems meaning they can be managed in a single application.

Working with Myers-Holum, one ETO manufacturer obtained clear visibility over the profit margins for its individual projects and drilled down to find the disparity, something it wasn’t able to do with its previous system.

Efficiency, Profitability, Trackability

With NetSuite in place, ETO and CTO manufacturers can more effectively track and report costs, see profitability on every custom job, plus view both gross and net margins. Knowing how important speed to market is in the ETO and CTO manufacturing sectors, manufacturers can also more efficiently onboard new customers, process orders and expand their product offerings to meet their buyers’ needs.


Made to Order: NetSuite Supports Speed of Delivery for Engineer to Order and Configure to Order Manufacturers

ETO, CTO, MTO White Paper by NetSuite and Myers-Holum

Find out how ETO and CTO manufacturers use NetSuite ERP to support customized, dynamic and highly complex manufacturing processes and improve business operations.

This guide delves into how companies streamline manufacturing, installation and service processes as well as manage recurring contract and revenue recognition.

Download Business Guide