You must track every single plant - that is the sentiment the US state governing authorities have on legal cannabis businesses. The scrutiny of cannabis legislation has developed state mandated track-and-trace & seed-to-sale systems. The most common government required track-and-trace system is Metrc. However, this no-frills government software doesn’t provide the services to run your cultivation operations. That is the value of seed-to-sale software which helps cannabis cultivators operate their business while remaining compliant with the local government regulations.

Definition of Seed-to-sale Software: A computer application utilized for plant tracking from the initial growth to the final sale or cannabis products. This also includes: inventory control, sales & CRM processes, business intelligence reporting, and compliance monitoring and government data submissions. 

In this industry there several terms used synonymously for these software solutions: Seed-to-sale vs. Track-and-trace vs. ERP. All three of these terms broadly describe the same things with subtle differences. 

Track-and-trace - This usually refers to the tracking of cannabis products through the life-cycle of the plants or the creation and distribution of cannabis products. The Metrc system is an example of a track-and-trace system. 

Seed-to-Sale - This refers to a system encompassing the features of track-and-trace and other business functions included in most common ERPs. 

ERP (Enterprise resource planner) - These are often used by large businesses that have a single system to run their business operations including finance, accounting, CRM, and other reporting features. By definition, a seed-to-sale system is a mini-erp with more focus on the cultivation operations and government reporting.  

Seed-to-sale systems track a variety of things through the entire process including data around the following processes for cannabis companies:

  • Growing & Cultivating - Tracking the phases of the plant life-cycle so inspection authorities can identify each plant in a specific growth phase (immature, vegitative, or flowering).
  • Harvest - Capturing the weights of harvested plants and evaluating yield metrics.
  • Packaging - Creating packages in accordance to state regulations and tracking inventory availability. 
  • Testing - Tracking testing results with associated packages in accordance with state regulations.
  • Transportation - Providing the information to create manifests and transportation documentation. 
  • Tracking & Analytics - The ability to submit state required information and retrieve important data to analyze the health of the cannabis business in terms of sales and yields. 

What makes a good seed-to-sale system?

  • User friendly and easy to use
  • Integrated with barcode tracking
  • Seemless integration with state systems. 
  • Integrations with other devices: Smartphones & tablets, bluetooth scales, scanners for barcodes & RFID tags.
  • Quality Reporting & Analytics to help you determine revenue by weight and strain analytics
  • Sales order management & other ERP functionalities

How do you choose the right seed-to-sale system?

Some factors in your decision should be: 

  • The type of cannabis business. Are the needs to the business for a cultivator, manufacturer/processor, distributor, or other cannabis business. 

Size of operation:

  • How large is the operation and what is the staff head-count. Management controls are needed at a certain scale and a lean operation will prefer a more simplistic application.

Necessary features: 

  • Many features of seed-to-sale systems can super-charge the operations workflows but not all systems are alike and some systems require more data entry than others. Find the right balance of automation and data requirements.