Today’s software market is filled to the brim with tools for businesses, but what about those in the cannabis industry? Cannabis software has historically been limited, but the last few years has seen a drastic influx in options for cannabis companies.
From dispensary software designed for front-of-house operations to inventory management software mandated by state regulators, the industry is now overflowing with software providers.
Finding a single platform to manage all plant-touching activities can be a nightmare, especially when all you want to do is improve your operation.
This article will cover the six most important types of cannabis software.
We’ll look at tools for operations of all sizes at every step of the supply chain, from the home growers to the multi-state, fully vertical companies. By the time you reach the end of this article, you will be able to choose the right platforms to build the perfect tech stack for your cannabis business.
Cannabis software are digital tools that industry professionals use to improve their business operations and products. For many years the cannabis industry have been underserved by professional tools. Companies have had to settle for platforms designed for other industries, or tools that over-promise and under-deliver.
The good news is that cannabis operators have good options now. There are a number of solid solutions out there that solve the challenges operators have been facing.
Before getting into the cannabis software and what it can do, it’s important that we address the most common question we get: “Why can’t I just use spreadsheets to manage my business?”
The answer is not that you can’t use spreadsheets, because you definitely can, but because it’s not a system that scales. Spreadsheets are not designed to manage your inventory, report on compliance, or track COGS. They don’t offer integrations, automations, reporting, user permissions, or any of the other tools that help a cannabis business grow and thrive.
According to G2.com, “Seed to sale software provides cannabis businesses with the ability to track and regulate their inventory from planting to final sale.” The primary feature offered by seed-to-sale software is traceability. Functionality can range from basic Metrc reporting to real-time inventory levels.
No two seed-to-sale software are similar. Each has its unique modules and extensions
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software does everything a seed-to-sales software does plus manage everyday business activities like supply chain operations, accounting, risk management, compliance, forecasting, business intelligence and project management. ERP software is essential as they help companies implement resource planning by integrating all process needed to run their business in a single system.
Cannabis ERP software is considered a step above seed-to-sale and a good choice for medium to large cannabis operations.
A point of sale (POS) system is a combination of hardware and software that allows you to accept payments from customers and make sales. POS, retail, or dispensary software allows for all types of payments, whether they are made online, at the counter, or picking an item from at a stand or booth.
Track and trace software helps pinpoint any item’s current and past locations in your supply chain. The software is an answer to regulations that mandate track and trace requirements and capabilities for recording and sharing supply chain data.
A marketplace software is a platform to create and manage digital storefronts that aggregate product or service offerings from multiple sellers. These tools simplify and streamline the entire process of creating hosting and managing an online marketplace, including shipping, website design, and vendor communication.
Laboratory information management software (LIMS) is a tool that allows you to manage test results, samples, and associated data to improve lab productivity and efficiency.
#1. Know your framework: When picking any software, it’s important to consider how it will fit into your operational framework. For example, if you’re a vertically integrated operator, you will want a software solution that supports more than just cannabis cultivation or just distribution. You will want a platform that can be used by all of your employees and departments.
#2. Do your research: Many software solutions can look perfect on paper, but that does not mean they are the best solution for you. Make sure you get demos from each of your options, ask about pricing, looks up reviews and testimonials, and ask trusted colleagues for their recommendation. Websites like G2 and Crozdesk are great for this.
#3. Consider the ROI: Investing in a business solution, especially software, can be pricey, so it’s important to know what the return on investment will be for you. Ask yourself a few of these questions to know if the prices is worth it:
How does this reduce my labor costs?
Does this optimize my workflows?
Will it help me improve my profit margin on products?
What does this do to improve data entry practices?
#4. Get to know the company: It’s important to know if the company behind the software is one that you want to work with. Imagine signing up for a solution and quickly realizing the customer experience is not what you were hoping for. Ask the employees if they care about the cannabis market and research the software company to see what they have been up to. For example, a company that secured funding and has a large customer base is much more likely to be a better choice than a startup.