Inventory Management Part 2: Item Types

by | Mar 8, 2022 | NetSuite Fundamentals


Items are a key component of supply chain management and are necessary for any business involved in buying or selling products. NetSuite Inventory management supervises the flow of goods from manufacturers to warehouses, to the point of sale, and in NetSuite, the item record stores information related to what is bought or sold. This detailed record of each new or return product is crucial. NetSuite Inventory adjustment can be a complex process, especially for large organizations, but the basics are the same regardless of the business size or type.

First, items are ordered through the purchasing department. Then, items are delivered to a warehouse and placed in the stock areas. These items are pulled from stock and moved to the production facilities, to be made into finished products (items). And finally, finished items are shipped out to the customer through the sales department. Inventory management uses a variety of data to keep track of the goods as they move throughout the process, including serial numbers, cost of goods, the number of goods, and the dates when they reach each step of the process. Inventory management systems can be as simple as spreadsheets that track the quantities of goods in a warehouse, but can also be more complex Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. Software like NetSuite, can go several layers deep and integrate with the accounting and NetSuite ERP systems and is highly customizable for large organizations.

Here are other item types that are available in NetSuite…

Item Types:

Discount and Markup Items 

Discount and markup items can be used to decrease or increase the selling price of your items. These allow you to adjust the transaction total without changing the line-level selling price of your items. 

Description and Subtotal Items 

Description and subtotal items allow you to add non-financial lines to your sales and purchasing transactions. Description items will load pre-defined text into the body of your transactions when added as a line item, making it easy to add shipping instructions or other commonly used notes alongside the items being purchased. Subtotal items create an additional row on the transaction body that sums the preceding lines. This can be helpful when entering transactions that are broken into multiple sections (i.e., orders received from your customers that are broken down by department or job), as it makes it easy to see distinct subtotals for each section. 

Gift Certificate Items

The gift certificate functionality in NetSuite is much more limited than other functionality in NetSuite. They are created by creating a “Gift Certificate Item” and using that item in a Sales Order. Gift certificates can be created without an associated posting transaction (Sales Order) by importing a CSV.

Matrix Items 

For organizations that sell products that are fundamentally similar (i.e., t-shirts) but differ in one or two categories (i.e., size and color), matrix items are a great option for organizing and quickly creating products under a common parent.  

Lot Numbered/Serialized Inventory 

If the Lot Numbered and Serialized inventory preferences in your account are enabled, then you will have the ability to create many of the core item types as lot numbered or serialized products. Items with lot numbers have a one-to-many relationship, meaning that a single lot number can be shared across multiple items. Lot numbers are commonly used for products that are manufactured in batches and/or have expiration dates, as you can easily view inventory availability and shipment history by a specific lot number. Conversely, serial numbers have a one-to-one relationship, meaning that a serial number can only be associated with a single, specific unit. Lot numbered and serialized inventory tracking can be used with standard inventory items, matrix items, and assembly items.  


Inventory drives revenue, profitability, and customer satisfaction, yet companies lose money every year by not properly managing their greatest asset. I hope this blog post gives you a better understanding on the item types that are available in NetSuite. 


Administrator, Purchasing Manager, Inventory Manager, Item Management, Inventory 


Item Master, Inventory, Accounting, Item Configuration 

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