Many MSOs and leading cannabis companies today are taking steps to streamline their operations. The end result is they’re saving time and money while improving their efficiency and increasing productivity.
Talking with cannabis industry leaders and through my own experience I’ve identified some pretty innovative ways large cannabis companies are streamlining their operations. A lot of these are achievable for companies of all sizes and can aid in the journey to scaling and growing a business.
Let’s look at some ways you can streamline your cannabis business’s day-to-day operations across dispensary operations, cultivation and processing, and corporate processes.
Streamlining Dispensary Operations
Most dispensaries are run on numerous technology platforms for their day-to-day operations. Your point-of-sale solution, loyalty program, kiosks, digital menus, eCommerce site, etc., are all separate platforms, and none of it’s integrated.
It takes a lot of manual labor to power these systems. Anytime you need to update product info, brand images, store hours, or promotions you have to login into each individual system across each location and/or market you operate in and make those changes one at a time. This can take hours and requires a full team dedicated to just syncing tech systems across locations.
For companies like Verano and Curaleaf which have 120 and 147 dispensary locations respectively, operating all these systems across each location isn’t sustainable. That’s why companies like these are turning to solutions that can streamline operations by bringing them all into one platform.
Having a singular system that manages your day-to-day operations and syncs updates across locations is a huge time saver. Retail tech platforms like Sweed help enable seamless inventory management, procurement, menu updates, and product promo all from one system. If you can leverage a system like this you’ll save money by reducing your tech stack and save time by being able to manage everything from one platform.
Procurement can also be a challenging and time-consuming process for dispensaries. Typically this takes numerous phone calls or messages, multiple spreadsheets, and a lot of manual tracking. Building relationships in the industry and leveraging a technology solution can be instrumental in streamlining the process.
Working with a company like Leaf Trade you can easily connect with wholesalers in your region and build relationships within the platform. Leaf Trade has built-in workflows to ensure the products you purchase comply with regulations in your market. When you can order inventory through an easy-to-use online ordering system you can place orders faster and get your inventory when you need it, saving you time and streamlining procurement.
Streamlining Cannabis Cultivation, Processing, and Manufacturing
A lot goes into growing and harvesting your cannabis plants. There’s monitoring, harvest scheduling, tissue culturing, and so much more. It’s a very involved process and requires skilled, time-intensive manual labor and a large staff. The streamlining opportunity here lies in AgTech (Agricultural Technology).
To monitor your cannabis plants as they grow you can now install roaming cameras in your grow house. These cameras take pictures of your plants to ensure there isn’t mildew, bugs, or other various crop issues. The cameras then use AI to prevent issues from occurring. They can help you make decisions around watering and needed nutrients to lead to successful cultivation.
Another benefit roaming cameras provide is being able to monitor your grow house from anywhere. If you manage 20 facilities from your main headquarters it can be hard to get an accurate read on how your plants are doing. There are several people involved in growing at each facility which can sometimes lead to a bad game of telephone and misinformation. With roaming cameras, you have the information you need right at your fingertips to make informed decisions.
A critical aspect of a thriving grow house is making sure your HVAC and controls are functioning properly and adjusted to best suit the plants as they grow. Things like temperature and humidity can be all the difference between a successful and unsuccessful harvest. This is another space where technology can streamline operations by automating your temp and humidity controls.
Technology can detect when adjustments are needed so your cannabis plants are always growing in the best possible environment. By automating this process you can reduce the number of tools and hours needed to manually oversee these settings.
The next opportunity for streamlining lies in extraction. Typically to roll joints, pack gummies, jars, or vapes you’d need a large team of up to 30 people and two shifts a day spending hours individually rolling and packing each container.
You can now invest in technology that takes care of the rolling and packing for you. Most companies who invest in a joint rolling machine can expect to see a return on their investment within 8 months. These machines can be instrumental in helping you streamline operations while enabling you to move quicker than ever to get your products shelf ready.
Now that your product is packaged and ready to go, you’re ready to sell. But, how do you streamline getting it to market and delivered? Usually, this would involve numerous phone calls, spreadsheets, and manual reconciliation on inventory counts.
Again the answer to streamlining here is tech. Working with a company like Leaf Trade can help you significantly streamline the cannabis wholesale selling process. Leaf Trade has built-in integrations with seed-to-sale software so you can seamlessly import your product catalog, inventory, and lab results directly into our platform.
Once your products are uploaded onto our platform you can build out a customized storefront and begin selling your products and brands directly to licensed dispensaries in your market. All orders can be directly managed and tracked in Leaf Trade cutting down on back-and-forth communications and manual reconciliation.
Streamlining Corporate Cannabis Operations
The last few areas I’ll touch on revolve around the corporate side of cannabis — sales, marketing, accounting, and IT.
Let’s start with sales. In sales, you always want to be moving the sales and delivery process forward without having to go backward and reconcile. The issue we’re seeing is people going backward in this process. They’re pre-selling without having the correct inventory and end up over or under-selling.
By having a tech solution to track sales and monitor inventory you can ensure your sales team is moving forward with the right numbers and saving time in the process by having a simplified and more streamlined way to sell.
If you’re a new brand or wholesaler or launching a new product or just generally want to promote your business this can be a complicated process in the cannabis industry. There are limited avenues where you can promote your business and find new buyers.
Finding a technology platform that offers marketing can streamline the process and get your products directly in front of qualified buyers. Leaf Trade, as an example, offers Leaf Trade Advertising which markets your brands and products directly to qualified buyers. Leveraging a tool like this you can guarantee your products are seen by an audience capable of making purchases.
Just like with dispensary operations, corporate cannabis operations also require a lot of different technology platforms to get the job done. Accounting teams often have multiple systems where items have to be manually updated and reconciled.
If you can instead integrate your accounting tools you can streamline and automate these processes saving your team time. Leaf Trade for instance offers integrations with both QuickBooks Online and Sage Intacct so data no longer has to be manually populated between systems.
Speaking of accounting, payments are another cumbersome process in the cannabis industry. Accounting teams spend numerous hours tracking down and reconciling payments. Companies are typically relying on checks and cash in the mail which can lead to delays.
It’s important to get paid as a growing company and leveraging payment tools to automate and streamline this process is key. One such solution offered by Leaf Trade is Leaf Pay. With Leaf Pay, dispensaries can send payments directly to wholesalers via ACH. Payment tools like Leaf Pay streamline the payment process and improve your team’s efficiency.
A similar area to accounting is seed-to-sale tracking. Again here, you have numerous systems where this information needs to be updated and integrations are key to streamlining this process. Technology like Leaf Trade offers integration with leading seed-to-sale technology solutions such as BioTrack and Metrc. Leveraging these integrations you can seamlessly import your product catalog streamlining the tracking and fulfillment processes.
Enable Your Cannabis Business to Focus on Growing
Streamlining your operations and evaluating your tech stack can allow you to become a company that manages products, instead of a company that moves its own products. When you have numerous systems and processes you’ll continually need to have meetings about these systems and processes causing you to lose sight of your goal.
MSOs and leading cannabis companies are picking up on this and focusing on streamlining their operations to work better for them so they can focus on growing.