Introduction to Materials

Materials are the raw ingredients that you use to create your products. Materials by themselves don't really do much other than hold basic information about prices and stock levels, but when you add them to recipes and use them in manufactures this is where the magic happens: you'll instantly start to see exactly how much you use and thus exactly how much your products cost you to make.


Once you've completed this tutorial, you'll be able to:

✔ Import your material spreadsheet (optional)

✔ Understand inventoriable and non-inventoriable materials

✔ Choose your units of measurement

✔ Configure a low stock limit for a material

✔ Set your starting inventory adjustment

✔ Upload an image for the material

This tutorial should take approximately 35 mins to complete.

What are Materials?

Materials are the raw ingredients that you use in order to create your products (i.e. beads, fabric, clasps, wood, flour).

Craftybase offers an excel importer feature that can be used to easily import basic details about your materials in bulk - this can be a great way of getting up and running with a large existing inventory. We'll be covering how to add materials manually in this tutorial, however if you are interested in finding out more about our importer see our help article here: How do I import my materials list?

Adding Materials

There are quite a few ways around Craftybase where you can add to your materials list. Generally, the fastest ways to add new materials is either via the Material Expense page as you can add both the material and its purchase data at the same time, or via the Recipes workflow where you can add your material whilst building your recipes. For this tutorial we will be starting on the Add Material page as although it isn't the most optimal flow, it is the simplest way to add a material.

This method should also be used if you are moving your material tracking from another system without backdating expenses and manufactures as it allows you to set a starting quantity and unit price - this will be set as the Starting Adjustment for the material. For more information on backdating and starting adjustments, please refer to our Quickstart Guide eBook.

Adding Materials Manually

Materials can be added individually via the Add Material page.

To find your material page:

1a. Click on your Material tab to get to your Material List

1b. From here click on the  button that appears in the top right hand corner of the page.

Let's take a closer look at the form:

2a. Your  is the title of the material that will be displayed in all lists and searches. It is best that this is unique and specific to the material to make searching and locating materials easier.

2b. The field next to this is for your . If you use codes to identify your materials, this is where they should go. SKU Codes are fully searchable in the system, so they can be a nice shortcut way of quickly finding your materials without needing to type the full material name.

The SKU should be considered your unique reference for your material. A separate vendor code can be added further down the form if required.


The next section called INVENTORY contains some of the most powerful fields: these allow you to set your quantity of measurements and low stock limits.

3a. The first field in this section is the  checkbox. If marked as Inventoriable, this tells the system that this is a material that is consumed in the production of your products and should thus be included in your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) calculations.

Most often than not, your material will be inventoriable as this is the most common case for tracking your materials. As Craftybase is a flexible system, you can also add non-inventoriable materials if you wish and add them to your recipes to keep a full list of all equipment and tools required however they will not hold any cost values.

3b. The  field is for determining the unit of measurement you wish to use for this material. This will be the quantity displayed as your in stock amount, and is also the unit used in recipes and manufactures. For many materials you may just wish to leave this as the default item but for others you may wish to be more descriptive (e.g. ml, ounce, bead).

The Tracking Unit field is not for tracking the quantity itself - you'll be doing this later by adding Manufactures, Expenses and Inventory Adjustments.

As the quantity unit is completely configurable, it can be tricky to begin with to figure out what unit you should track each of your materials in. Typically, it is best to use the unit you manufacture in, rather than the unit you purchase in.

Jill purchases her Green Beads from a vendor packaged in a bag of 100 beads. She manufactures her products by always using a certain number of beads, so she is best to use "bead" as her quantity type for this material rather than "bag".

3c. The  field is an optional field for determining the unit of you typically purchase this material in. Examples of common purchase units are: Litre, Pound, Kilogram, Jar, Bag. This can be the same as your Material Purchase Unit, or can be a different unit completely. If you do select a different unit, then you'll need to set a Conversion below if one needs to be made (this is explained in the next section).

This unit will be available when entering new Expenses for this Material so that a quick conversion to tracking units can be made, but will not be able to be used when Manufacturing or creating Recipes.

For the example above, Jill purchases bags of beads so her Purchase Unit should be set to "bag".

3d. The  field allows you to nominate the number of tracking units are in a single purchase unit. This information allows Craftybase to be able to calculate the correct tracking amount to increase your stock by when you add a new expense and enter the purchase quantity.

Each bag of beads that Jill purchases contains 12 beads. She should set her Purchase to Tracking Unit Conversion to "12"

You'll find that some common conversions are supported by Craftybase (e.g. ounces to pounds) and in these cases the box will automatically populate for you. For non convertable units (such as the bead-to-bag example above) you will need to define this manually.

3e. The last field in this section is your material's  and allows you to define the minimum quantity of this material that should be available in stock before it is marked with a stock status of "low stock". You don't need to use this feature if this isn't important to you, but it can be a good tool for being aware of materials you are running low on so you can reorder before you run out completely.

Starting Adjustment

4a.The next two fields  and  are for setting your starting adjustment. This is useful for situations where you're moving from your old tracking system into Craftybase as it allows you to choose a date to start your tracking from. If you choose to set the starting quantity and unit price here, this will be set as your starting adjustment and current stock on hand and you will add inventory increases and decreases to this quantity after this point. For more information on backdating and starting adjustments, please refer to our Inventory Bootcamp eBook.

4b. Your  is the cost of the material per unit - this should take into account shipping, tax and discounts. This should be information that you have directly calculated from your previous system.

Additional Details

This section of the form is hidden away by default to speed up data entry in cases where you may not wish to add these details right now. To open the section, click anywhere on the heading and fields will appear below it.

5a. There are three textboxes available under the  heading: this is to create a code using location based system for your material. You can use one or all of the available fields, depending on the naming system you use. How to label your material inventory locations

5b.  is for your use to classify your materials so that they can be grouped together. It is optional and you can set this later via the edit material form if you wish. You can either select from your list of existing categories by typing a couple of letters in the search box (if this is a new category, just add it to the textbox and it will be saved as a new one for you).

5c. The  field can be used to set a vendor you most often purchase this product from. This appears on your restock reports as a quick way of grouping together all materials that need reordering from a specific vendor. You can also add the preferred vendor's code for the material into the field immediately below called  and this will also appear on the same report.

You'll be entering in expenses to handle the actual amounts purchased from your supplies, so this field is purely for reference only. If not set here, it will be automatically set from the first material expense you create for the material, so you can either select this here if the vendor already exists or allow the system to set this automatically from your expense data.

5d. The next field is  and is a field you can use to note anything about the material that isn't covered in the code, name or category. The final field on the form is your  field allows you to upload an image that represents your material. This is optional, but it can be a good way of quickly identifying your material in your lists and expense records.

Once happy with the information you have added on the form, click the  button to submit the details. Once saved, you'll be taken to your newly saved material.

Have some questions?

If you have any additional questions, please get in touch and we'll be happy to give you a hand. 

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