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. Still, 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.

We'll Cover:

This tutorial should take approximately 35 minutes 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 import basic details about your materials in bulk easily - 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 way to add new materials is either via the Material Expense page, where 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 while 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 MATERIAL NAME 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 SKU. 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 to 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.

  1. The IMAGE 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.


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.

4a. 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.

More 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.

4b. The TRACKING UNIT field is used to determine the unit of measurement you wish to use for this material. This will be the quantity displayed as your in-stock amount, and it 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 figure out what unit you should track each of your materials in. Typically, it is best to use the unit you manufacture rather than the unit you purchase.

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 it is best to use "bead" as her quantity type for this material rather than "bag."

4c. The PURCHASE UNIT field is an optional field for determining the unit in which you typically purchase this material. Examples of common purchase units are Litre, Pound, Kilogram, Jar, and Bag. This can be the same as your Material Purchase Unit, or it can be a completely different unit. If you 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. Still, it 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."

4d. The PURCHASE TO TRACKING UNIT CONVERSION field allows you to nominate the number of tracking units in a single purchase unit. This information allows Craftybase to calculate the correct tracking amount to increase your stock 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-convertible units (such as the bead-to-bag example above), you will need to define this manually.

4e. The last field in this section is your LOW STOCK LIMIT, which 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 it 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

5a.The next two fields 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.

5b. Your AVERAGE ACTUAL UNIT COST 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.

6a. There are three textboxes available under the heading: this is to create a code using the 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

6b. BIN LOCATION 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 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).

6c. The PREFERRED VENDOR  field can be used to set a vendor from which you most often purchase this product. 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, and this will appear in 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.

6d. The final field in the form is DESCRIPTION, which is a field you can use to note anything about the material that isn't covered in the code, name, or category.

Once happy with the information you have added to 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 help. 

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