As the operator of a legal cannabis dispensary, every single gram of product that is bought on your watch is your responsibility. That means you need to make sure you have enough inventory for your customers so you don’t lose their business to a competitor. It also means making sure you’re not overstocked, which could lead to financial losses. When it comes to tracking your inventory, one small mistake can cost you your business due to compliance laws.
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Inventory Management is One of the Biggest Problems Dispensaries Face
By now you’ve done inventory so many times it’s all a big, green blur, so you know how crazy this process can get. Any discrepancies at all can get you into trouble, and quickly. Regularly enforced inventory audits are vital. If you’re not doing this already, it’s time to start. Use a seed-to-sale tracking system to make sure you don’t make any mistakes that could cause you to lose your license.
It’s a lot to think about and to stay on top of, but today there is software available that can make your job a lot easier.
How to Track Inventory at a Dispensary
If you aren’t already using a dispensary POS software tracking system, it’s time to consider it. In the meantime, the answers to the following questions will serve as a guideline to get your inventory under control and keep it that way.
Are You Sure You’re Compliant?
The most important aspect of tracking your inventory is making sure you’re compliant. Let’s face it, if you’re not compliant the rest of the best practices on our list won’t matter. No matter where you are, your local government has strict laws regarding how you track your inventory. You’ll need to make sure you’re compliant and be able to prove it.
Many states use METRC, which stands for Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance, to track compliance and ensure dispensaries are following the laws. This system was created to help the industry grow by facilitating the growth, sales, and transportation of legal cannabis while discouraging illegal growth and sales.
The data METRC tracks is accessible to the government agencies that oversee the industry. If you’re in a state that is using METRC, you can save a lot of time, money, and hassles by using a seed-to-sale tracking system that will allow you to make sure you are able to get them the data they need to know that you’re compliant and following the laws.
Are Your Scales Calibrated?
You may think if your marijuana is pre-packaged you can trust the weight to be accurate, but the truth is you can never be too careful. Even if you’re dealing with licensed distributors you have good professional relationships with, their scales could be faulty without their knowledge. No matter what your inventory is or where it’s coming from, it is critical that you weigh it as soon as it comes in.
Using a National Conference on Weights and Measures certified scale means you’ll be able to weigh even large quantities of product and be confident that you’re getting an accurate reading. Even if you purchase the top-of-the-line NTEP approved scale, it’ll still need to be recalibrated again before every intake. You can do this yourself or assign it to a member of your staff and make it their responsibility.
Are Your Product Categories Organized?
You’ve got flower, edibles, buds, tinctures, drinks, oils, pre-rolls, and more. It can be easy to lose track when you’re dealing with so much variety. By using a dispensary POS system, you can create categories and then assign each piece of inventory to a specific one as it comes in to keep it all straight.
Another benefit of using a system to categorize your products is you’ll be able to sync it to online menus on your own site, to digital display menus in your shop, and on sites like WeedMaps. By inputting this information once instead of during each portion of this process, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of time—something most dispensary owners have in very short supply.
Have You Assigned SKU Numbers?
If you’re in a METRC state, your products will come to you with a unique barcode. Once you receive inventory with a METRC barcode on it, add your own SKU number to it as well. Doing this will allow you to see which SKU is attached to which products so you can keep track for the entities you’ll need to report to and for your customers’ needs.
Have You Set Your PAR Levels?
In retail, your PAR levels are everything. As the operator of a dispensary, you need to understand which products need to be available and for how long. Your clients are counting on you to have what they need, when they need it, especially when you are dealing with medical marijuana patients who have special health needs.
Using a dispensary POS system means you’ll be able to coordinate your promos with your inventory to make sure you never run out, and it’ll also allow you to see when you’re overstocking.
What About Employee Theft?
No dispensary operator likes to think about their people stealing from them, but it happens. Another benefit of a POS system is your employees will need to log-in to use it. If inventory goes missing, this step will make it a lot easier to trace the disappearance to the source, whether it was accidental or deliberate. When your workers know every single gram of product is being accounted for and they are logged-in, they’ll think twice before trying to give themselves an unauthorized bonus.
Seed-to-sale POS systems require minimal training to use and can easily streamline the operations for a high-volume dispensary with a large staff. A POS system can help you generate greater profits while minimizing risks, especially if it’s designed for the cannabis industry. With the right POS system, you can profitably track the life cycle of every one of your products and remain compliant, safeguarding the long-term health of your business.Posted by Jeremy O'Keefe
Jeremy O'Keefe is the CEO of Yobi, an industry leader in the cannabis tech marketplace. Jeremy's extensive experience in designing and developing retail and operational software for partners such as Amazon and Zappos are what drove him to build a best-in-class platform to serve the burgeoning cannabis market. Prior to starting Yobi, Jeremy worked as a Project Manager/Software Engineer for some of the largest infrastructure projects in the US and served in the Air Force as an Electronic Warfare Technician for 8 years.