Communication is key for efficient interaction between cultivation and business functions at any cannabis operator. So, what are the top four things cultivation directors should be discussing with their operations manager right now, as we face an uncertain Summer 2020 and unique COVID-related challenges (product demand uncertainty, reduced workforce, and immediate response to problems and issues):
1. Labor Requirements
- Operators should be discussing “who, and what, do I need to operate this facility and how do I make operations more streamlined without diminishing quality, consistency, and yield?”
- Efficient operations should focus on labor workflow and circulation: document a clear understanding of how employees will move through the spaces while doing their jobs.
- Having a “less labor” philosophy and understanding—a first in and first out mentality—drives down cost of production.
- By limiting employees need to cross paths and segregating processes (harvest, distro, packaging) in a facility, you can maintain biosecurity and limit the risks of cross-contamination. BIOSECURITY – RISK OF CROSS
- Update and train your entire staff to be able to:
- Operate all necessary equipment
- Perform keys tasks like nutrient deliver or preventative maintenance
2. Supply Chain
- What sort of products do I use to cultivate, process, distribute and how will potential shortages affect my use/cost related to these?
- Consider products and supplies that you can order in bulk
- Examine and update your chemical regime to products that are cheaper to freight ship, located within the US or your state
- Mitigate risk of availability by using products that are have no shelf-life or expiration issues, and those where the supply chain not yet had disruption
3. Automation & Technology
What’s the availability to allow for remote monitoring and controls?
- Cultivators can take some of the load off the reduced staff by automating critical tasks
- Remote monitoring solutions will also allow for faster notification of crop issues
- Integrate preventative maintenance tasks like equipment schedules and maintenance can increase efficiency
4. Yield Expectations
- Ensure that conversations on yield expectations are as transparent as possible and set realistic expectations and achievable goals
- Build business models based on the correct numbers that take into account productions numbers on ‘high yield’ genetics versus lower-yielding plants (yield versus price)
- Ensure you have a detailed plan that combines both plant density and production goals