Inventory Manufacturing

Groups vs Assemblies in QuickBooks

QuickBooks provides two item “types” that can have a list of component items – an Inventory Assembly and a Group. How do they differ, and when is it best to use one instead of the other? Today I’ll list the features of each and how you can use them.

Inventory Assembly Item

If you are a manufacturer you understand the basic concept of an inventory assembly item. This is the item that you are manufacturing. You pull some parts off the shelf, assemble or process them, and end up with a new part. Fairly straight forward. Let me list a few properties of an inventory assembly item in QuickBooks:

  • Inventory Assembly items contain a bill of materials (BOM), which is a list of the component items that you use to create it.
  • The BOM can contain other inventory assembly items, inventory parts, non-inventory parts, service and other charge items. You cannot include a group item.
  • You can have up to 100 component parts in the BOM with Premier, and up to 500 component parts with Enterprise.
  • QuickBooks Pro does not support this item.
  • When you sell an inventory assembly the sale decreases your quantity on hand of the inventory assembly itself, but has no affect on the component parts of the inventory assembly.
  • When you add an inventory assembly to an invoice (or estimate, sales order, etc.) QuickBooks will only list the inventory assembly item itself, it will not show the component parts.
  • You cannot change the composition of the inventory assembly item at the time you sell (or build) it. You can only change it by editing the BOM in the edit item window.
  • There is a special transaction called a “Build” that will consume the component parts (reduce the quantity on hand) and increase the quantity on hand of the inventory assembly. I discuss this in my starting with the basics post.

Group Item

On the surface, a Group item seems very similar. There are significant differences, however. I’ll list properties of a group item in the same order as I did for the inventory assembly item:

  1. Group items contain a list of component parts. It is not called a bill of materials but it is very similar.
  2. The component list can contain more item types – all the ones available to an inventory assembly item plus subtotal, discount and sales tax items.
  3. You can only have 20 component items in a group item.
  4. Group items are available in Pro, Premier and Enterprise.
  5. When you sell a group item the sale decreases your quantity on hand of the component items at that time. The group item doesn’t have a quantity of its own, so there is no effect on the group item itself.
  6. When you add a group item to an invoice (etc.) QuickBooks will list each of the component items on the screen. You have an option to show all of the components on the printed version of the form, or just show the group item itself.
  7. You can change the composition of the group item at the time you sell it. Once you add it to the invoice you can add or delete component lines, change quantities, and so forth. This does not affect the list of components as they are shown in the edit item window.
  8. There is no special transaction for a group item – you don’t “build” it. There isn’t a quantity on hand for the group item itself.

Understanding the Differences

It’s important to understand the differences between them because they take different processes to produce, and they show up in different ways in your reports.

An inventory assembly item is a real part – you build some and put them on the shelf, then you sell them or use them as a subassembly in another inventory assembly item. You will see the inventory assembly show up in your sales reports, but you will not see the component items show up as sales.

A group item is really just a shortcut, not a real part. You don’t have a balance on hand, you don’t see it in sales reports. It doesn’t exist, it is just a convenience to you to move a number of different parts through the sales process. You’ll never see the group item in your sales reports – you will see the component items showing up there.

In the traditional QuickBooks view, the inventory assembly item is what a manufacturer is working with. A group item is usually used more by distributors that are putting together standard kits or boxes at the time you are shipping.

However, group items can be used in some interesting ways to resolve certain kinds of problems for many manufacturers – and I’ll go into that in more detail in my next post.


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  • I’m still not 100% clear if I should use a group or assemblies or subitem? I have several products that are shipped in multiple pieces/boxes but equal 1 item from my inventory. I need to know the quanity on hand for a complete item as well as the quantity # broken down by piece/box. I have situations that come up where I need to replace a damaged piece/box, so will remove this piece from my inventory and need to have the qty to sell updated. Example: King bed, ships 4 boxes. QOH shows 10, I sell 1, QOH 9. However, I reship box 2 for another customer due to a damaged headboard, so I need the QOH to sell to reduce to 8 complete sets available to sell. How can I do this?

  • Derek, it is hard to make QB fit to all situations perfectly. It sounds like, for the most part, you are putting the item together when you are shipping? On the surface, that would normally be a “group item” kind of situation. However, you have a harder time seeing the number of complete sets you have on hand. After thinking about it, I’d probably lean towards an assembly item – but I’d need to know more about your situation before I’d be able to answer that. With assembly items you can still break things up and ship just parts, but it isn’t as convenient.

  • Tim, are you trying to delete the BUILD TRANSACTION, or the assembly item itself?

    To delete the transaction, find it in the “Build Assemblies” window, press ctrl-D to delete.

    To delete the assembly item from the item list you have to first delete all transactions that affect the item, then you can delete the item.

    Use caution because these changes affect your financial statements.

    If that isn’t what you are talking about, please be more specific as to what you are doing, where you are doing it, and what QuickBooks is telling you…

  • I am currently using QB Pro but have a need for some tracking of materials for assembling final product. I would rather not get into the Premier version since my business only deal with 3 costed items, fabric, sewing and printing. These are booked at different times depending on when a custom order comes in.
    Is there an easy way to handle the inventory and materials cost in PRO without having to move into Premier.

    Thanks for anybody’s help.


    • Cristy – the key word is “easy”. Premier has the inventory assembly item, that is what makes it easy. Without that, you have to use the Inventory Adjustment screen to adjust your parts as you consume them when manufacturing assemblies, and that can be tedious.

  • We have a small Mfg food company. Our finished good products consist of multiple items. For example Product 1 has subitem 1, 2 & 3. Product 2 has Subitem 1, 2 & 5. Product 3 has sub item 2, 3 & 4. In QuickBooks, I can’t assign the same subitem to multiple parents. How do I get around this without cluttering my inventory with the same item with three different names to assign them to different parents?

    • Lucy, you don’t normally use “subitem” notation in names to assign a part to a higher level item. You either use groups or assemblies. Subitems is a way to organize your item list, not to show how items are a part of a higher level item.

  • We are a equipment selling/leasing company. I create a build as an item when we add parts to a piece of equipment to ready for sale and then go to inventory and create the actual build assembly. During the time period we are selling the “build” as the piece of equipment, we add items to the build. How can I get the new item to appear on the build assembly without deleting the build and creating a new build to include the new item added? When I have to delete the item & make a new build assembly, if the inventory does not show the correct items needed for the build, it then shows up as pending. Thank you

    • Jane Z: You don’t have a lot of options. When you create the build, QB makes a copy of the BOM at that time. If you change the BOM in the item list, it won’t affect the build. This actually is a good feature for most businesses. You cannot edit the BOM that is in the existing build. Deleting the build and recreating it is the only option, and as you note if you don’t have all the parts you need, by the build date, you will end up with a pending build.

  • Thank you. I was hoping there was another option that I wasn’t aware of. Your site is very helpful. Thanks.

  • Hello Charlie,
    I have to admit even with your easy to follow explanation I am still a little confused. If I explain our situation perhaps you can advise:

    We sell telescopes which we build from let’s say 6 parts. We order those parts and build stock telescopes and build scopes to order but we also sell some of those parts seperately (such as a focuser).

    I want to be able to build a scope; put it on the website and when it sells, the respective component stock reduces by one of each component. Do I need Assemblies to achieve this or would Groups acheive this? Accurate stock levels are important as shipping times from suppliers can be long sometimes.

    Thank you,


    • Morris, if you have an assembly, and you sell it, that won’t consume the component parts. Only a “build” transaction will do that, which is independent of the sale. A Group item, if you sell it via QB, will consume the component parts when you sell. I can’t say what works best for you – if you are using a shopping cart system some don’t work with Group items (or don’t work properly). The problem with a Group item is that you won’t see sales figures for the group – just the individual component parts.

  • Hmm!

    So really neither works exactly as we would like.

    I will have to think this one through and also iterrogate Zen Cart information to see what it offers.

    I really appreciate the prompt response Charlie; thank you.


  • Charlie –

    Your site is fantastic, and has helped me solve many issues “on my own”. I have been struggling with implementing my pricing strategy in quickbooks, but believe that the best method will be to use groups. To accomplish my pricing aims, this will require that I add a pricing adjustment item to each group, no two pricing adjustment items are the same.

    The quick math is that I will be adding 3 groups and 3 pricing adjustment items for a couple thousand items. I can automate the addition of the items and groups, but am hopeful that (for simplicity and concern for future item list limits) there is the ability to create one pricing adjustment item for which the amount of the adjustment can vary depending on the group it is put into. Is this possible?



    • JT: Glad you like it. Don’t forget to visit our sponsors, that is what keeps this site going!

      I’m not clear I understand all that you are asking – but if you are adding an item that is a dollar amount adjustment, for example – so that you can add some amount, like $10 to one group, $11 to another group, then create one item for $1.00, and set the quantity of that item to be the number of dollars. So, a quantity of 10 would be $10, and so forth. If you are using some other scheme that might not work – let me know what you had in mind.

  • I have a problem that I hope can be solved.
    I work for a coffee company. We sell blends of coffee made up of different single origin coffees. For example Jason’s Blend will have 20% Sumatra, 40% Brazil, and 40% Ethiopian. In the past the selling of the Sumatra, Brazil, and Ethiopia has not been tracked anywhere, so we have no real sense of inventory unless we go look. We are expanding and this is becoming much more important. So I made groups for each Blend. The problem is that we were using a report to determine what labels to put on the bags. This report would say that we needed labels for 20 (5 lbs) bags of Jason’s blend. The roaster converting by hand the blends into his single origin roasts. So for a hundred pounds of Jason’s blend he knew to roast 20lbs Sumatra, 40lbs Brazil, and 40lb Ethiopian. Well, with the grouping, the same report shows him exactly what to roast, but the person printing the labels for the bags does not know which blend we sold, he just knows the various parts. What I need is a report that shows sales of group items so the bagger knows what
    bags to print.

    • Jason: I’m not sure what report you are using to generate the labels. However, here is something to play with, it might or might not work, depending on several things. Create a test company to try this out.

      Add a non-inventory part to your item list for each blend. You have to work out the names yourself, I’ll give you some samples but change it how you want. So, you have an inventory part for Sumatra, Brazil and Ethiopian. You have a non-inventory part “Jason’s Blend Tracker” (poor name, you can do better). The price and cost for this “tracker” item is zero.

      You have a group item “Jason’s Blend”, and in this group you enter the proper values for the Sumatra, Brazil and Ethiopian beans. Add a “Jason’s Blend Tracker” item, quantity 1. Since it has no price or cost, it doesn’t change the value.

      When you sell this group item and you look at the report, you will not see the “Jason’s Blend” item as it is a group. You will see each of the beans. You will ALSO see the “Jason’s Blend Tracker” item, with no price or cost, but it will have a quantity. Use this to determine your labels?

      Something to play with.

  • That’s a great idea that I hadn’t thought of. The problem is that the baggers would see, for example, 40lbs of Brazil and unless it is identified as to be put in a blend they would print stickers for 40lbs of Brazil. Even though the 40lbs should be combined with 20lbs of Sumatra and 40lbs of Ethiopian to become Jason’s Blend. It’s really close to a solution. One other piece of info that might be helpful is that we have roughly 35 single origins, but only use eight for blending, but we use those eight as single origins as well. Thank you.

    • Again, Jason, it is hard to be specific because I don’t know all the details of what you are doing. So all I can do is throw out random ideas that you can play with. I don’t know the details of your processing, I don’t know what reports you are using, and all of that.

      You can add custom fields to the invoices. Many invoice oriented reports allow you to incorporate custom fields. You could add a custom field to the item list (and then to the invoice) that has a small comment that says “Print Label For This Item” or something like that. Then you would see just those items that should have labels printed being highlighted in the report. Or something of that sort.

  • Hi Charlie,
    I have a manufacturing company that makes plastic water tanks. I am building assemblies, which are tanks, which are made up of powder, gas, etc. I have quickbooks pro2006. I would like to know if it is possible to give each tank that i build a unique number which i then can trace when i sell it? Does my question make sense to you?


    • Heiko, QuickBooks doesn’t have a facility for easily tracking serialized parts. You can purchase some expensive add-on products that can help, most likely.

      Within QB itself, there are some workarounds. However, it does depend on what you are trying to accomplish. WHY do you want to track this information – what will you use it for? Also, how many of these items are you creating in a year? You may find it easier to just keep a log in a database like Microsoft Access. However, I would need to know more about what you are trying to track before I could be more specific.

  • Hi There,
    I was making use of assemblies to manage inventory when it was included in Pro. We recently upgraded to 2009 and I made the mistake of editting a previous build. It is now in “pending” status and is pulled out of cogs. Is there a way to get it out of pending status without going to Premier. We are actually shutting down the company so upgrading is not worthwhile…
    Thanks for your input.

    • Ron M, I wasn’t aware that Pro supported inventory assembly items in the past. In any case, there isn’t anything you can do about it with Pro. The current version of Pro won’t work with those items.

      You could download a free trial version of Premier and do the work you need – you have something like 30 days, I believe. Or, if you can’t find a demo version, you can purchase Premier and then you have the 30 day window for returning it for a refund.

      Or find someone how has a copy of Premier who can do the work for you and then give the file back to you.

  • Question: How can I combine the Item Group feature with the “Select Billable Costs” option?

    I am using the Items Grouping feature with a subcontractor client because of the flexibility the feature brings to estimates & invoicing. The client is able to have the detail in the various groups for his records, yet the estimates and invoices condense the grouping information down to a single line for each. The problem comes in when using the “Select Billable Costs” option to create the invoice. Even if we structure the original bill so that the item purchased is clearly part of a particular group, when selected for the invoice, the item shows as an independent line item instead of as part of a group.

    • Wendy, to be honest, I don’t work in that arena that often. My first impression is that you are right, and you are out of luck, that is the way it is going to work. Intuit isn’t handling that the way you want. However, it is something I’ve just looked at so I can’t say if there is a workaround or not. Sorry…

  • I can’t seem to get record costs of the assemblies in the P & L. It records the income, but not the cost. Any suggestion as to what I’m missing?

    • Lot’s of places to look for things, Margaret. First, what is your COGS account in the assembly item? Second, when editing an assembly item, do you see a value in the “avg cost” field? If there isn’t a cost in the avg cost field, look at the component parts of the assembly. Do they have an average cost value?

  • I have a potential client that buys, develops, sells, and leases domain names. He would like to track each name that he owns (there are 1000’s and growing) and the cost for EACH for development. These costs will be incurred over time and in several different ways……SEO, website creation, labor, etc….

    Can I use Group items in Quickbooks Manufacturing for this? How would I add ongoing costs to each item?

    • Rhonda, off the top of my head, using items to track the “cost” of the Domain “item” seems to be a painful way to go. Group items won’t have any bearing, I think. Assembly items doesn’t work when you have ongoing costs over time. However, I’m not sure what the accounting is behind all this – what you are trying to track. I wouldn’t think that you would be moving these costs into assets, I’d thinkyou would be expensing them? But I’m not an accountant…

      I don’t know what your goal is – to track profit and loss for a domain? I’d almost think that you want to look at each domain as a job, and do job cost tracking?

  • Hi Charlie – Thanks for the response. You are exactly right on the goal……to track profit and loss for each domain. Because the list is so big I immediatley thought of inventory. I am trying to work out the accounting entries and go from there and once I have that done I will be in a much better position to know how to get it into Quickbooks….or if QB will work in this situation.

  • Hi Charlie- I have a hydraulic shop that has a valve rebuild exchange program. The problem I have is each of the valves requires different parts to repair them. I was told that in the assemblies you have to always use the same parts. For example I want to use a couple of different parts out of my inventory for the rebuild and then add the vale into inventory to sell. Thanks for any advice you may have.

  • Brian – what version of QuickBooks are you using?

    I haven’t talked about this yet (maybe next week), but Enterpise 10 has a new feature that would resolve your problem. When you issue a “build” it will let you substitute parts. This is ONLY IN ENTERPRISE V10. So if you have Premier, or a product older than 2010, you are out of luck.

    If you really want to get the value of the parts into the value of that assembly, you have to do “value” inventory adjustments, which is time consuming and a bit tricky.

  • Hi Charlie,
    This is such a useful site! I will apologize if this question has been answered somewhere in the site and I missed it.
    We want to keep track of all our materials but we do not keep an inventory of completed products; we assemble product after we receive an order from the customer. It would seem as though we need to have inventory assemblies to track the final product. But, how do we address creating a build when we build product as we take orders? Hopefully there is an option without having to create builds based on work in progress and “build away” negative numbers from the inventory assembly at the end of the day.
    Thanks in advance for your help.

  • Thanks for your time invested and the wealth of information. I have a question for you, if I may. I am helping a lady who has a food manufacturing company get started. No pay, just friend of a friend stuff. Anyway, I am struggling with the BOM problem and here is my problem. She purchases raw materials in weights & measures like 25# and then produces end product, in this case a gluten free bar. The problem is that the ingredients are all in grams, kilograms or fractions of kilograms. How can I order from a vendor, receive it, convert to grams (or whatever) and keep costs tracked and inventory accurate. She is using QBooks Premier Mfg. 2009. Is it possible to do this with this product? Thanks again.

  • Phil (other one): If you have a relatively current copy of QuickBooks, using an edition that supports multiple units of measure (like Premier Mfg & Wholesale), you should be fine. You should define the component parts with a base unit of measure that is the smallest unit they use. You can define the unit of measure to use in the BOM. So you can stock things in grams, buy them in pounds, and use them in the BOM for the final product in whatever UOM you wish.

  • Thanks for that, if you miss that one button in the inventory setup, you can bang your head flat trying to make it work. Once that’s checked it all falls in to place. Thanks again for the help.

  • Hi Charlie, I work for a small supermarket, and we buy items by the box and sell them both individually, in packages and by the box (depending on the item). So far i’ve entered all the individual items into quickbooks. Does that mean that if I want to sell ctns of items I have to set up groups for every item so it’s easier for the person on the till? Or is there a way around this? Perhaps using unit of measure? I can’t figure it out.

  • Going back to Phil on November 2nd – I can’t say what would be best for you, but you may want to consider Groups instead of Assemblies, as the components are pulled when you invoice. No “builds”. But that might not work for you…

  • That makes more sense, I know what I need to do now. Thank you so much for your help Charlie! I really appreciate it.

  • Question pose by Brian 0CT 22, 2009

    why not create another new build assembly for the valve with different parts….in other words, each valve, with different parts, should have its own assembly number……….Lou

    • Lou: In some cases that makes sense, in others it doesn’t. If you have a lot of valve assemblies (looking at Brian’s message) that are one-time assemblies, you clutter up your inventory list with one-off products. We would really need more information on the situation before giving a full answer.

  • If its just a one time rebuild…and Brian ships the rebuild back to his client….then why not list the individual components on the invoice…but if that same valve comes back to Brian again for repairs using the same replacement parts……then he can do a new assembly for that valve…..perhaps Brian rebuild exchange program invovles selling the client a new valve in exchange for the old valve…..that is another scenario………..Lou

  • With using group…..can you include assembly items, non inventory items as well as inventory items…am I correct……….Lou

  • Lou, you can use just about any item type in a group OTHER THAN another group item. However, using subtotals in the group might not work the exact way you would expect, and items with a % rate can be a bit tricky if placed incorrectly.

  • Charlie………I have another question

    If i am creating an inventory assembly item and that assembly has 3 sub assemblies and each sub assembly has a sub assembly which has a sub assembly….

    can Quickbooks handle all these sub assemblies…………..

    and is there a limit to the numbers of sub assemblies connected to the tree in Quickbooks………

  • Lou: QuickBooks allows you to create sub assemblies, and there is no limit to the number of levels you can indent to. There are limits to the number of items in a BOM at one level (100 in Premier, 500 in Enterprise).

    However, QuickBooks doesn’t do any PROCESSING of nested BOM’s. You can only print a single level BOM. You can only issue a single level build.

    You may want to look at a product my company produces, CCRQBOM, which allows you to issue multi level builds, print multi level BOM’s, and generate requirements/shortage reports based on multiple level builds. See it at

  • when is it feasible to use FIFO rather than average cost?…..If I need to know the actual cost of a part each month..should I use averaging or FIFO?……………when is LIFO used

  • Lou: QuickBooks is strictly “average cost”. It doesn’t do LIFO or FIFO. You can use an inventory add on to change to use other costing methods, but those are expensive and manage the inventory outside of QuickBooks.

    Another blogger, my friend “Rustler”, has an article about doing this in QB, but I have to say that I’ve not analyzed his article to see if I believe it (or if it is worth the effort).

  • Charlie

    Is there an easy way to create a report for all inventory “assemblies” that lists the Main Item and all subassemblies/parts that comprise the main item?

    Appreciate any help or reference. Thanks.

  • Tom, there isn’t a simple way IN QUICKBOOKS to do that. The only report listing assemblies and components is the BOM printout from the “print” button in the Edit Item window, and it won’t list components of subassemblies.

    Forgive me for the advertisement, but you should look at my CCRQBOM product at – this low cost utility provides a simple to use listing feature that lets you print the BOM out to full levels, and you can edit the template for the report to add the fields that you would like. There is a trial version you can try out.

  • We manufacter mattress and foundations we order rolls by 100yds to build a mattress we use 4yds plus a spring etc…. should I use group or inventory ass. being that I want to monitor when to reorder new materials

    • MG, both would let you see how much of the raw materials you have on hand, so either way works. It is more an issue of when you want to expense the materials (when you buy them, or when you sell the finished product), how you want to track the sales/cost of the finished product, and what your work flow is (in particular, how long you have the materials on hand before they go out the door). From a traditional viewpoint you would probably be using assemblies, not groups, if you are a traditional mattress manufacturer.

  • I have quickbook pro 2007 do you think I should upgrade to 2010 manufacturers, because I would like to track costs of raw materials for each mattress/foundations. Sorry if I’m confusing I’m farely new to quickbooks I have just been watching tutorials so thankyou for all your help.

    • It is difficult to answer that clearly without knowing a lot more about your business and your workflow. The traditional answer is that you are a manufacturer, and you would be better off using the Premier edition. If, however, you are custom manufacturing (for example) and every mattress is different, it might not be helpful. I’m guessing that you are not a custom manufacturer, but I don’t know.

      Note that you don’t want to pay full retail to upgrade to Premier 2010. See this article for some suggestions:

  • We produce assembly that includes numerous items, Few of the components may include three or more different items that we use to build it. For example I need pump to build my assembly, but in order to build pump I also need three items. I was going to do just all separate items, but if pump brakes and I have to ship it to a customer I need it to show as a group? May be? Or should I use subitem for the pump, should I put pump as a separate inventor item or just use the components of it?
    Thank you!

  • Oksana, if I understand what you are saying – the pump would be an assembly of its own. You would add that pump assembly as a component in the final assembly. Then you have to build the pump so you have some and then you can build the final assembly.

    You might take a look at my CCRQBOM product, which lets you work with multiple level assemblies in QuickBooks much more easily.

  • Thank you very much that really sold my problem, I was confused about groups and subitems, Thank you again.

  • I manufacture cast stone products. I can use assemblies for about 30% of what we produce but the other 70% is custom work and I need to adjust various units of components such as mold material, labor, rebar, etc, for each product manufactured. I need to make entries on a daily basis but night not invoice for the product for 30 days or more so I don’t think that Groups will work. I also want to track costs by job to see job profitability. A custom job may take 90 days, have progress billing totalling in excess of $100,000, and over 100 unique pieces. I have created an inv item “Custom Production” and use cubic foot for the U/M. It is not practical to create a new item for each part number for a job.
    Any suggestions?

    • Dave, if you are trying to track job costs on large jobs you probably should be using the job costing features of QuickBooks rather than assemblies. Putting each of the component items into an estimate and working from there. You don’t have specific assembled items, you have specific assembled jobs. That is a very different approach to things.

  • We use QB Pro 2009. We are a contractor that installs audio video systems, home theaters, etc. When we sell a component to a customer such as a tv, it will have the mount, cables etc parts. We need the details for our installers so they can pull the parts, but the customer only needs to see a summary. We’ve used groups but can’t get the it to print the details one time and not the next time. Can you think of a solution? I’ve thought about having 2 groups for each but we also provide the client an estimate vs actual report which might be compromised with this.

  • Hi Charlie,
    Thanks for all of your input on this topic!
    We have a web based studio lighting and camera support company that sells kits that include various combinations of product. We currently have the kits set up as groups. However, we need to track the kit profitability to determine which kits have the greatest profit margin. Is there a way to do that outside side of a manual computation?? QB reports only gives item profitability not by kit.

    • Craig, if you have Premier or Enterprise then you can use inventory assembly items. Using them, the items will be tracked in your sales reports unlike “group” items. But then you have the overhead of “building” them.

      The only alternative off the top of my head is for you to export information and generate a report outside of QB, which is a pain to deal with.

  • We have a skin care company. We have a product that consists of the following:
    Example of Product A
    1. container
    2. fill
    3. label
    We have an outside manufacturer that fills the containers for us and ships to us and we affix the label. However, we typically have extra containers and labels on hand which need to be accounted for in our inventory.

    When we invoice product A to our customer, we would like to select Product A, and have the container, fill and label pull from their respective inventories.

    Should we create an assembly or group? Based on your information, I was thinking we should do this through a group. Please advise.

  • “When you sell an inventory assembly the sale decreases your quantity on hand of the inventory assembly itself, but has no affect on the component parts of the inventory assembly.”

    Clarification please.
    The components are not removed from inventory?

    • Selling an inventory assembly has NO effect on the components whatsoever. Components are only removed from inventory when you do a “build” transaction. You may want to refer to my manufacturing tutorial articles…

  • We are currently using Quickbooks 2008 Manufacturing. I need help with the following: We have an item that we order from our supplier with the part number we’ve assigned to it via Quickbooks. Once we receive the part, we send it out to have a “process” done to it. This makes the part a customized part. We want to be able to show that the part left inventory, went out for processing (not sold/but added value), and then came back in to inventory as a different part number. This new part is just one piece in the main assembly item. We’re currently making this new part an assembly within the main assembly, but then it doesn’t reflect accurate inventory totals, because the original part is still showing a large quantity in stock because the item won’t be removed until the main assembly is sold. So, is there a way to way to remove a part from inventory, modify it, and bring it back in under a new part number? Thank you.


    Hi Charlie. Here is my problem. I sell 5 individual items which has a cost of $10, $12, $14, $21 and $30. If a customer buys the whole set of 5, he can then have a discount.

    If I group this, and call this group say a “deal”, then the group selling prices will come up as $87 (which is the sum of the items in the set), but I want the customer to only pay $71. How do I set this price?

    If I go the assembly route, I can set the price, but then the inventory item does not track, so I need to go the Group route.

    Help please!
    Thanks (from South Africa)

    • Trevor, I’m not sure what you mean about the “inventory item does not track” for the assembly…

      However, with Groups, the only thing you can do is to create another item, let’s say an “other charge” item, for the discount. Give it a negative price. Then add it to the group item.

      There are other variations of that to play with.

  • We want to use groups to track bundles of products. We sell software both a-la-carte and in bundles. The grouping will work perfect for us (using a tracking item at $0), but we need more than 20 items in some groups.

    Any way around this?


  • I have Quickbooks manufacturing & wholesale Edition 2010.
    i want to change the name of our product names.
    under inventory assembly can i change the name’s of the “Item Name/Number” more than one at a time? also can i change the ” Description ” more than one at a time?

    Thank you

    • Charlie, there isn’t a good way to change the name of more than one item at a time, although I’m not sure how you would want to do that.

      You can change descriptions in the add/edit multiple list feature, depending on the type of change you want, and item type. Or use an Excel export/import

  • Charlie,i buy items in bulk,then i separate them into parts and sell them as parts,am confused on how to treat the stock,do i use the assembly,group or sub item? i tried sub item and the quantity at hand was Zero yet at the the item list i had indicated the part as a sub item of the actual bulk item i had purchased.Kindly assist.

    • QuickBooks doesn’t handle that situation well. You can’t “disassemble” an item. If you only sell the parts, and you disassemble as you buy the items, you can use a group item. You aren’t stocking the full item, you are only stocking the components. And that is how a group item works – the “group item” is just a shortcut to save some work, it doesn’t really exist (as you have seen). If you want to track something about the purchased item you could think about adding a dummy, no-cost inventory part in the group to represent that item, BUT that gets messy if you aren’t careful and most people find that is more work than it is worth. If you do actually stock that purchased item, and only break it up when you need a part of it, that makes extra work. Don’t bother with an assembly item, since QB won’t handle breaking it up. Just make a single inventory part. Buy it, it goes into stock. Break it up, then you have to use inventory adjustments to decrease the qty of that and increase the quantity of the components. Lots of work, and no easy way to automate that. QuickBooks just doesn’t understand the issue, and they’ve ignored that forever.

      • You cannot un-assemble, but you can divide by using fractional quantities for an item in a BOM. So for example you buy rope in large 1000-foot spools and want to cut it into 10-foot pieces and sell them. The BOM to build the 10-foot pieces would consume a Qty 0.01 of the 1000-foot Spool item.

        • For that kind of situation it will work, yes, but within limits. For example, your situation was for a factor of 10. If you want three-foot pieces you will have rounding errors to deal with, or possibly “scrap”, another thing that QB doesn’t handle well. If you buy an item that is broken up into a variety of parts, like buying a computer and breaking into its components, this won’t work either. But you are right, for some situations where you are breaking up an item into a single type of item, where you don’t have rounding issues, you can do that. I’d like something better than that…

  • Am using premier 2017 , when I create the manufacturing account on item list it does not stock assembly it only giving group . How can I customize to give me what I need.

    • Gladys, your question isn’t clear to me. Are you saying that an item assembly isn’t an option when you add a new item to the item list? That would occur if you don’t have an edition of Premier set up that allows an assembly item. There are different editions, such as “Non Profit” and “Contractor”, and some of those editions don’t support assembly items. I think it is stupid that they hide some features this way. In any case, if you are set in one edition and don’t like the features, you can “toggle” to another edition. Just be aware that this changes the features that are available to you. You can see how to “toggle” at