So, you’ve received a sales order for one of your items, and you’re ready to fulfill the order. What does that look like in NetSuite? What are some key things you need to be aware of as you jump into the NetSuite order fulfillment process?

Fulfillment Preferences

Before you begin to fulfill orders in NetSuite, you need to have all the relevant order management accounting preferences taken care of. To see the options available to you, navigate to Setup > Accounting > Preferences > Accounting Preferences, select the Order Management tab, and scroll down to the Fulfillment section.

Dropdown Lists

This section allows you to decide if you want to filter the packing slip list by whether the orders have a picked or packed status. You can also set item fulfillment restrictions under the Fulfill Based on Commitment dropdown list. This field allows you to limit fulfillment just to items that have been committed; to allow uncommitted items to be included in the item fulfillment; or to ignore the item commitment altogether.

Checkbox Options

This section also contains six checkbox fields with fulfillment options. First, you can choose for items to default to zero received/fulfilled on new fulfillment transactions. If you leave this box unchecked, then new fulfillment transactions will automatically mark all the items as fulfilled, and you will have to manually deselect any items that have not been fulfilled. The second checkbox enables you to allow overage on item fulfillments, meaning you can fulfill the order with a larger quantity than the quantity left on the order. The third checkbox allows you to filter the fulfillment list based on the location marked on the sales order.

The final three checkboxes allow you to send order fulfillment confirmation emails; to use a website template to craft your fulfillment emails; and to update the date of the transaction when the fulfillment status changes.

Fulfilling Orders

Order fulfillment can look different depending on the features your company has enabled. The following three features can be used in the order fulfillment process: Fulfillment Request; Pick, Pack and Ship; and Advanced Shipping. Each of these represents an aspect of the order fulfillment process, and you can use all three of them, only one of them, or some combination of them.

Fulfillment Requests

Creating a Fulfillment Request form is the first step to fulfilling an order. If this feature is not enabled, you can turn it on by navigating to the Transactions tab of Enable Features. Under the section Shipping & Receiving, you will find the checkbox Fulfillment Request. Note that using this feature may incur additional NetSuite fees. After turning on this feature, you will need to determine the types of locations (like “Store” or “Warehouse”) that orders would be fulfilled from. You can do this by navigating to Setup > Order Management > Setup Tasks > Advanced Order Management and choosing a location type under the Fulfillment Requests tab.

So, how do fulfillment requests work? Fulfillment requests act as bridges between the sales order and the order fulfillment. They instruct individuals at either your store or your warehouse to start collecting the item or items on a sales order. Because some sales orders can have multiple items, and because you may not be able to collect and ship all these items at the same time, you can make multiple fulfillment requests for a single sales order. If items on a sales order have different locations listed for them, then you need to have a separate fulfillment request for each location.

Pick, Pack, and Ship

The next step in the order fulfillment process is pick, pack, and ship. You can turn on the Pick, Pack and Ship feature under the Shipping & Receiving section of the Transactions subtab in Enable Features. Essentially, this feature describes the process of locating and collecting the item you’re selling (pick); preparing it for shipping (pack); and finally, sending it out to the customer (ship).

When you’re ready to use this feature, you would start by picking the items. To do this, navigate to Transactions > Order Management > Fulfill Orders. On this page, you can choose the customer whose order you are going to fulfill under the Customer field. Then, choose the location you are fulfilling the order from under the field Bulk Fulfill From Location. In the Orders tab, you will now see all the orders associated both with that customer and that location. Select the Fulfill checkbox next to any of those orders you wish to fulfill and click Submit.

To change the status of the order from picked to packed, or packed to shipped, you would go to the Item Fulfillment page. Navigate to Transactions > Order Management > Fulfill Orders > List and view the order. On this page, you can see all the items on the order under the Items subtab. You can also see the shipping information under the Shipping subtab. The record will automatically show you what status the order is in currently, as well as give you the option to move the order to the next status.

Warehouses and shipping departments are the most likely entities to use the official Pick, Pack, and Ship feature. But what about smaller retail stores? For stores that ship orders directly from the store (instead of a warehouse), the Pick, Pack, and Ship feature may be overkill. But that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t still do the actions of picking the item from the store’s inventory, packing it, and shipping it. Businesses that aren’t operating with larger warehouses can mark items as picked, packed, and shipped, respectively, directly on the fulfillment request.

Advanced Shipping

A final key feature that can aid in the order fulfillment process is Advanced Shipping. If this feature is not yet enabled in your account, you can turn it on under the Shipping and Receiving section of the Transactions subtab of Enable Features. Advanced Shipping splits out the fulfillment process so that your shipping and accounting departments can fulfill and bill sales orders separately.

As part of Advanced Shipping, you may want to use the preference Invoice in Advance of Fulfillment. You can enable this by navigating to Setup > Accounting > Preferences > Accounting Preferences and choosing the Order Management subtab. Under the Invoicing section, select the checkbox next to Invoice in Advance of Fulfillment. This feature allows you to send an invoice for an entire order when only part of the order has been fulfilled.

Drop Ship and Special Orders

Before leaving the order fulfillment process in NetSuite, we need to look at a couple special cases: Drop Ship and Special Orders. You can enable both of these features together under the Items section of the Items & Inventory subtab in Enable Features. Simply select the checkbox next to Drop Shipments & Special Orders.

Drop ship occurs when you ship orders to your customer directly from your vendor. In other words, the item never passes through your warehouse and isn’t accounted for anywhere on your inventory. If you have an item that you will be drop shipping for an order, you would need to mark that either on the sales order for the item or directly on the item record. Special orders, on the other hand, describe orders for items that you don’t regularly carry. Unlike drop ship items, you would receive a special order from the vendor before passing it on to your customer.


NetSuite provides a variety of options for ways you can fulfill orders, allowing you to use different combinations of features to ensure that you are fulfilling orders in the way that makes the most sense for how your business works. If this post helped you understand NetSuite better, join the SuiteRep newsletter below to receive future posts directly in your inbox once a week!