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Familiarizing yourself with Katana: A comprehensive setup guide
Familiarizing yourself with Katana: A comprehensive setup guide

This guide provides a comprehensive overview for new users to add products, materials, and set up their Katana environment efficiently.

Dayvid Lorbiecke avatar
Written by Dayvid Lorbiecke
Updated over a week ago


Welcome to Katana! This guide is designed to help new users quickly become acquainted with the key features of Katana, focusing on how to add products, manage materials, and streamline your production process efficiently. Let's embark on this journey to optimize your manufacturing workflow with Katana.

Welcome to Katana! This guide is designed to help new users quickly become acquainted with the key features of Katana, focusing on how to add products, manage materials, and streamline your production process efficiently. Let's begin the journey to optimize your manufacturing workflow with Katana.

Glossary of Terms

  • Products: Items that your business manufactures and/or sells.

  • Materials: Raw materials or components used in the manufacturing process.

  • BOM (Bill of Materials): A list detailing the raw materials, assemblies, and components needed to manufacture a product.

  • Integration: A software platform connected to Katana (e.g., Shopify, WooCommerce) to streamline processes.

To get an idea of what would be the best way for your business to use Katana, we recommend playing around with the demo data some before you start adding your own:

  • Play around with the demo data
    Go ahead and edit products, recipes/BOMs, production operations, etc. Try creating or editing sales orders and see how make-to-order or make-to-stock flows work straight from the Sell screen. You should also follow the onboarding tour to get up and running quicker.

  • Add your own data to Katana to decide how to map out your business
    Add some products, materials, product recipes and production operations, a sales order, and a manufacturing order. Follow the guided tour, which will walk you through adding products and running different workflows.

Tip: To remove demo data, click your name in the top right corner and select Demo data.

  • Import or upload your real data
    We have integrations for Shopify and WooCommerce, so if you're running a webshop through either, you can integrate and bring your products and stock levels into Katana. If you store data somewhere else, we have spreadsheet templates you can use to upload all of your products, materials, and BOMs/Product Recipes.

Tutorial videos

Take a look through the large collection of videos which cover several aspects of the Katana experience. Videos usually range from short 5-minute walkthroughs to longer all-encompassing demos.

Take a look:

Getting Started

If you prefer to learn through a step-by-step checklist, we've put together a basic 8-step one for you. Remember, since Katana is built to handle multiple types of inventory management and manufacturing setups, you may want to skip or adjust steps to what best fits your needs and process.

Regardless of your setup, your starting point should be the products you sell.

Steps checklist

Step 1: Add products

To kickstart your Katana setup, begin by adding your products. Katana offers three methods for product addition:

  • Manually: Ideal for businesses with a limited product range or no pre-existing product list.

  • Spreadsheet Import: Efficient for adding multiple products simultaneously. Head to Settings screen > Data import to find a downloadable template you'll use to upload products.

  • Integration: Connect Katana with your e-commerce platform for automatic product syncing. If you have a Shopify or WooCommerce account, head to Settings screen > Integrations to connect your account. We also have third-party integrations with Etsy, HubSpot, Squarespace, or Wix which you can use to add products.

Outcome: Your product list is now in Katana, ready for inventory management and sales tracking.

Step 2: Managing materials

Next, input the materials required for your products. This step is crucial for inventory control and production planning.

Tip: If you plan to sell some materials, add them as products.

  • Manually: Best for a small number of materials.

  • Spreadsheet Import: Use when you have a comprehensive list of materials to add in bulk. Go to Settings screen > Data import to find templates to import your materials and their stock levels

Outcome: Materials are cataloged in Katana, setting the stage for precise production scheduling and cost calculation.

Step 3: Setting Up BOMs

The Bill of Materials (BOM) is your blueprint for product assembly and cost calculation.

With BOMs, you can also run subassemblies. Subassemblies are when a manufactured product is also used as an ingredient for making another product.
Read more here.

There are 3 main ways to add BOMs:

  • Manually - When creating manually, you can quick-add new materials to save yourself from later adding materials separately

  • Spreadsheet import: Go to Settings > Data import and find a template for importing

  • Copy from another product: If you have products that use similar materials, copy the recipe and make any edits you need later

Outcome: Establishes a clear manufacturing and costing framework for each product.

Step 4: Production operations

Production Operations (aka routing) are the operations required to make a product (cutting, assembly, quality control, packaging, etc.).

By defining your production operations, you'll have:

  • Additional control of manufacturing process tracking

  • An operational task lists for employees

  • Estimates for production completion dates

  • The operational costs of products

There are three ways to go about adding production operations:

  • Manually: Inside the Settings screen or individually on a Product card

  • Spreadsheet import: Go to Settings screen > Data import > Add new product operations to the template

  • Copy from another product If you have products that use similar operations, copy the process and then make any edits you need later

Use our Shop Floor app to automate the information flow on the production floor and digitize your process.

Tip: Once you’ve finished, have a look at your Products table inside the Items screen. Here you’ll see all the product variants, default sales prices, cost, profit, production times, and more of your products. Try filtering and sorting to optimize the view.

Step 5: Selling, making, and buying

Here is the most critical step. It's time to start selling products, creating production plans, distributing tasks, managing raw material requirements, and running purchasing.

Your workflows in Katana may differ depending on whether your products are made-to-order, made-to-stock, or both.

Learn more about each workflow:

Step 6: Invite your team

Make sure your whole team is synced by inviting the team members you need and have a single reference point for what’s happening in your business.
Here’s how to add your team.

Step 7: Connect accounting software

If you manage accounting through either Xero or QuickBooks Online, you’re in luck as we’ve created integrations for both.

Take a look at the integrations for QuickBooks Online and Xero.

Step 8: Enter initial stock levels

If you already have an operating business, you'll likely have existing product and material stock in the workshop or warehouse. Add your stock levels to make sure the transition into implementing Katana is smooth.

You can enter your initial stock levels to Katana through three methods:

  • Create a Stock adjustment - if you entered your products and materials to Katana manually, create a stock adjustment to record your stock levels

  • Spreadsheet import - our import template for products and materials also lets you import initial stock levels in bulk. You can import your stock levels with your product and material items (see steps 1 and 2 above)

  • Import from Shopify or WooCommerce - if you connect Shopify or WooCommerce to Katana, you can choose to import all your product stock levels into Katana. Materials are typically not tracked in Shopify or WooCommerce, so you'll need to enter material stock using one of the other two options

Ready to go

Your account is now set up, and you are ready to start running a smart inventory process.

If you need additional help, just click on the tooltips inside Katana or browse the Knowledge Base by clicking the question-mark icon in the header menu and choosing Knowledge base or by going directly to the Knowledge Base.

Helpful dropdown menu inside katana containing useful links

Our support staff is also here if you need any assistance. The fastest way to reach them is via the chat widget at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen.

You can also contact us by sending a message to [email protected].

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