Best Practices for Streamlining Cannabis Supply Chain Management 

Learn how to optimize your cannabis supply chain with best practices for compliance, inventory management, and quality control.

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    There’s simply no way around it – your supply chain is one of the most important links in your cannabis operation.   

    You can sell all of the flower you want, but if it can’t reach your customers in a timely (and consistent) manner, well…that’s a serious problem. And if there’s an issue with one of your cannabis supply chain partners, you can bet there’s another headache for you too. 

    The solution? 

    Streamlining your processes.  

    It requires efficiently collecting data on the performance of your supply chain and sharing the data with your team to find gaps and areas for improvement. To help you take on this challenge, let’s look at four best practices you can use to streamline your process. 

    Regulatory compliance 

    In the cannabis industry, compliance should be top of mind across the entire supply chain.  

    Both you and your suppliers need to accurately track the quality, composition, and the state of materials while they are in your possession and during the handoff. 

    Trying to track materials manually is bound to produce errors or discrepancies between your records and the records of your suppliers. Manual tracking also requires you to rekey data into state track-and-trace compliance systems and…  

    Redundancy doesn’t equal efficiency.  

    By using an ERP system that automatically produces documentation on the source of cannabis material and then tracks the material all the way through to a customer sale or its destruction, you can always trust the data is accurate.  

    Plus, it’s easier to spot discrepancies with a supplier’s system so you can correct the data before getting hit with a state audit.  

    Inventory management 

    Cannabis growers and producers require real-time visibility of inventory on hand as well as supply chain partner purchase orders and sales orders from retail customers.  

    Then (and only then) can you predict when you will run short or be over-stocked on an item.  

    Both situations require adjustments with your supply chain partners, and with an ERP solution, you can check the inventory availability report to easily see what’s available based on product line and strain at each of your locations—today and over time.  

    You can further track quantities distributed for specific VIP customers to make sure they get what they need, when they need it. 

    With this info, you can manage your existing supply chain partners to stock the right inventory levels. You will also know which partners are not delivering the right material quantities or not delivering on time.  

    That’s when you know it might be time to shake things up or find a new partner. 

    Quality control 

    Just as important as it is to work with supply chain partners who deliver the right quantity of materials on time, it’s just as critical for them to deliver quality materials.  

    And you probably guessed it – by using an ERP solution for quality testing and record-keeping, you know the materials are up to your standards before hitting the door.  

    It simplifies quality control by assigning the required testing to each item and capturing vital information. As a bonus, it helps with compliance by tracking state-required data for certificates of analysis, like we discussed above.  

    You also gain the ability to make sure inventory that has not passed testing will be quarantined so it is not used in production or sold.   

    Technology integration  

    An over-arching best-practice for cannabis supply chain management that ties compliance, inventory, and quality together is technology integration.  

    And it all starts with your internal systems.  

    A centralized ERP platform that includes modules or is connected to processes for managing sales, production, and warehouses ensures accurate data flows across your operations in real time. This makes it easier to manage transactions between you and partners that span: 

    • Compliance  
    • Inventory 
    • Quality 

    Another integration concept to consider is connections with your upstream partners and downstream supply chain customers. Online portals can allow you, your partners, and your customers to self-service purchase orders and sales orders with real-time visibility into inventory availability.  

    While such ecosystems require a high level of collaboration, they save the supply chain a lot of time in processing orders and speed up the time it takes for cannabis materials to make their way into sellable products available to consumers.  

    An ERP solution built for the cannabis industry 

    A great way to overcome the cannabis supply chain challenges is by deploying SilverLeaf for Cannabis running on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.  

    Our industry-leading ERP platform features workflows tailored for cannabis management and integrates financials with production, inventory, shipping, and other business processes.  

    With SilverLeaf, you can easily manage, measure, and track the performance of your business in real time. For managing the compliance, quantity, and quality of the materials you get from your suppliers, SilverLeaf helps with: 

    • State tracking 
    • Strain management 
    • Test results tracking 
    • Plant tracking by tag 
    • Replenishment triggers 
    • Lot and batch traceability 
    • Internal controls for quality control 

    If you want more info on ERP implementations and what that process would look like for you, check out this 6-Step Guide for Cannabis Operators