“Never work with children or animals,” said W.C. Fields. If he’d been a manufacturer, maybe he would have added live plants to this list. They are certainly a challenge for the legal cannabis sector.
Cannabis products are a fast-rising opportunity in process manufacturing. Legal cannabis sales in the U.S. hit an all-time high this March, increasing by 46% in two years to reach $17.5 billion. But moving into this sector means more than just production changes.
When you’re cultivating components, many factors can impact yield. Weather. Soil quality. Sunlight. Nutrients. Discovering the optimum conditions for growing and harvesting cannabis is key to driving profit. To achieve this, you need to track and analyze plant data.
It’s possible to manage cultivation manually, but it takes a lot of work. And even then, your operation is vulnerable to human error.
To optimize growing conditions, many process manufacturers entering the legal marijuana space are looking into cannabis ERP software, with built-in features to oversee cultivation management.
As the sector becomes more competitive, making improvements to crop yield will help your business to edge ahead of your rivals—and technology makes it easier to identify and implement changes.
Using Cannabis ERP Software to Optimize Cultivation
One of the main challenges legal cannabis growers face is the sensitivity of marijuana plants. Sunlight, climate and nutrients need to be carefully balanced, or cultivational challenges can lead to supply shortages. But what exactly does the perfect balance involve?
Cultivation management software will help your process manufacturing business to work closely with suppliers, tracking the ideal conditions for cannabis plant growth. You’ll be able to monitor the entire production lifecycle from seed to sale—focusing on variables like light cycles, harvesting techniques, moisture content and nutrient applications in granular detail.
Of course, you can manage cultivation manually. However, it’s hard to record information in real-time or share it with colleagues and partners. And as we mentioned earlier, data is more vulnerable to human error.
Plus, if you’re dealing with several strains of cannabis and staggered harvests (potentially through multiple suppliers), a huge amount of information needs to be processed. Just keeping up with this data is difficult without manufacturing ERP technology; it’s almost impossible to do the number-crunching needed to look at every possible way to increase yield as well.
Investing in cannabis ERP software with built-in cultivation management tools gives process manufacturers access to instant data and analytics.
In addition to improving plant quality and harvesting more raw materials, you can use your ERP system to avoid overspending in the cultivation process. For example, calculating the exact nutrient and fertilizer volume needed, and managing energy consumption effectively to bring down utility bills.
Combining Cultivation Management Software with Compliance Requirements
Closely monitoring the cultivation process will help you to harness the full production value of cannabis plants. And it also plays an important compliance role.
Although cannabis is going through a declassification process, the success of the legal marijuana industry is dependent on tight regulation. This means suppliers and manufacturers providing detailed information on the strain, potency and quantity of plants being grown and harvested.
The major advantage of choosing a purpose-built cannabis ERP platform over general manufacturing software is its ability to integrate with legal compliance systems.
Cannabis manufacturing is incredibly complex in the US because products are legislated state by state. While the need for seed-to-sale traceability is universal, the exact data that must be captured and how it’s reported varies across North America. And other countries have their own regulations to contend with.
Rather than trying to manage this as a separate activity, cannabis ERP software integrates with seed-to-sale technology for complete accountability. This way, the detailed crop information you’re analyzing for profit purposes can also be used to validate quality and quantity governance.
Another major benefit of choosing an end-to-end cannabis ERP solution is that the data collected at the cultivation stage can be used for traceability initiatives throughout the production process. Product labelling and packaging is a good example.
The more joined-up your manufacturing operation becomes, the easier it is to trace materials for regulatory requirements.
Choosing Industry-Specific Cannabis Manufacturing ERP Technology
Any kind of process manufacturing that involves living ingredients is an intersection of math and science—and ERP technology is the formula needed to make sense of the equation. After all, you can have the most efficient manufacturing operation in the world, but if you haven’t got the raw ingredients the production line grinds to a halt.
Tracking every aspect of growth in granular detail enables your business to maximize crop yield, while staying within your legal limits. Both of which are critical to success in the emerging cannabis product space.
While your business may have invested in generalist ERP software or a manufacturing ERP solution, it pays to look for something designed for cannabis manufacturing if you’re pursuing opportunities in this sector.
Only industry-specific technology will deliver the features you need to manage cultivation closely, ensuring you and your suppliers are producing the biggest, best quality plant yield possible. Aptean Process Manufacturing ERP is a fully integrated cannabis ERP solution, streamlining workflow and providing scalable, flexible functionality. Contact us to learn more.