It's well understood that the more efficient your operations, the less your operational expenses will be. While that may be true with all businesses, the added stress tests of compliance regulations make it a critical truth for the cannabis industry. Producing Cannabis is not cheap. The amount of money it takes to adequately grow, process, manufacture, package, and wholesale high-quality cannabis products is staggering.
You need a lot of capital to get started in this industry and do it well. It’s important that once you have your amazing product in hand and ready to sell, your wholesale program is online, effective, and not a time and money suck.
Here are some of the most common efficiency traps we see our clients fall into:
Manual inventory and order management. Some businesses have teams spend their days entering data into state-mandated systems like Metrc or Biotrack. Then manually enter the same information into a spreadsheet or order form before taking it back to Metrc.
If you don’t have some way of seeing a single source of truth for ordering, inventory, and fulfillment, your days will be filled with endless checking, double-checking, and errors slipping through the cracks.
Negotiations and communications via email. When sales reps are dealing with hundreds of customers on a weekly basis it’s impossible to keep it all straight. Sales teams need to have the ability to create a tailored experience for their different customer groups. A place where customers only see certain products or have quality limits or where you can incentivize bigger spending with volume-based discounts. With a rules-based inventory management system, reps can save over 20+ hours per month managing their wholesale offerings and invoicing.
Inefficient bookkeeping and billing. Paying for wholesale cannabis is complicated, to say the least. You can’t use credit cards, and most banks (with a few notable exceptions), won’t touch cannabis companies with a ten-foot pole. The cash workflow comes with a host of concerns, not the least being security. (Sidenote: We’re eagerly watching the outcome of the current incarnation of the SAFE banking act in Congress, which would hopefully address many of these issues.)
Keeping track of invoices and payment schedules should be the least of your worries. Thankfully, Quickbooks and Sage Intacct offer robust integrations with ordering platforms. These integrations have some pretty useful features, for example, keeping invoices associated with each order so they can be easily downloaded or shared.
Ignoring market trends. In Stephen Covey’s seminal classic, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” the author repeatedly uses the analogy of “sharpening the saw.” He writes that if you have four hours to cut down a large tree, you should spend at least one of those hours sharpening your saw.
How can cannabis operators sharpen their saws? By taking a step back and reviewing business insights and analytics.
But, it can be hard to parse out raw data just by staring at a spreadsheet. That’s why it’s important to make sure your wholesale sales data can be consolidated in a business insights tool such as Tableau. In order to be more efficient, you must listen to and understand the story that the data is telling. Business insights tools are a fantastic way to decipher that story in a visual way.
Efficiency isn’t just a matter of increased profits for cannabis operators. It’s a matter of survival in a fractured and nebulous industry at large. It’s not an exaggeration to say that an inefficient cannabis company is one that’s slowly failing.
Now get out there and sharpen your saws.
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