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The $20+ billion cannabis industry as we know it today emerged from humble roots, driven by determined entrepreneurs with a passion for the plant. Now, cannabis is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States, with more than 280 new jobs created each day on average in 2021.

Despite strict and ever-evolving regulations, the cannabis industry continues to grow in both size and complexity. Facing fierce competition, today’s cultivation facilities must do everything possible to ensure their operations are as efficient as possible. One way to do this is by adopting business practices from innovative methodologies, such as “Lean thinking.” 

What can cannabis cultivators learn from Lean?

The Lean philosophy originated in Japan at the Toyota Motor Company as a process for continuous improvement and sustained success. Lean thinking focuses on streamlining processes by eliminating the root causes of waste, enabling businesses to improve efficiency without sacrificing quality. The proven principles of Lean can apply to any business, especially the cannabis industry, which relies on coordinated workflows to deliver a fast turnaround. 

So, how can your cultivation facility implement Lean thinking and eliminate unnecessary sources of waste? Here are a few ideas: 

#1: Reduce Motion Waste with Mobile Cannabis Traceability Carts

Motion waste is often considered the “silent killer” of productivity. In a warehouse, employees often lose time by walking to and from equipment or workstations. The same issue happens in cannabis gardens, too! Think about it: How much time do your employees spend moving from room to room to check on plants, scan barcodes, enter data, print labels and other daily traceability tasks? Now, how much are all those inefficient footsteps costing your business?

At Delta9 Systems, we know that the best way to reduce motion waste and improve speed and productivity in cannabis cultivation is to bring essential equipment closer to the point of activity. Our mobile traceability carts are designed to do just that. These battery-operated carts can be equipped with traceability tools such as cannabis barcode scanners, portable computers and tablets, cannabis label printers and digital scales. Research shows that by eliminating just six minutes of walking per hour walking from a stationary computer and printer, using a powered mobile cart could reduce labor costs by thousands of dollars per staff member! 

#2: Reduce Talent Waste by Eliminating Duplicate Tasks

Another common type of waste seen in cultivation facilities is underused talent. Are there certain tasks your staff does that are redundant, time-consuming or unnecessary? It’s worth an audit to see if their time could be better spent elsewhere. 

For example, we’ve seen gardens where employees spend time writing strain names and other custom information on their cannabis plant tags by hand or printing and applying an additional label to each tag. It inspired us to offer a better solution with our METRC plant tag printing system. Now, cultivators can print variable data onto their METRC cannabis plant tags, with no extra steps required. 

Add custom data to the back of your METRC tags, such as:

Strain names

Lot numbers

Feeding information

Internal control numbers and barcodes

Whatever else you want or need!

We’re confident your employees will appreciate this time and energy-saving solution, freeing them up to put their talents to good use elsewhere in your facility. 

#3: Reduce Inventory Waste on Cannabis Label Printing

Excess inventory and poor inventory management can be another costly form of waste. Consider the items you use on a daily basis in your cannabis business, such as cannabis labels. If you’re a producer, are you currently stocking more cannabis product labels or cannabis packaging labels than you use? If your state’s regulations for cannabis labels change overnight, how many labels will go to waste? 

If you need a limited number of cannabis labels and tend to over-order cannabis labels to meet your printer vendor’s minimum quantities, it may be time to bring your cannabis label printing in-house. With an on-demand color cannabis label printer, you can print stunning cannabis product and packaging labels in any quantity, anytime you need them. You’ll be covered if you need to make any last-minute changes to your cannabis labels, and you won’t need to keep a large inventory of unused labels. It’s a highly cost-effective and productive way to prevent label waste! 

Ready to Reduce Waste in Your Commercial Cannabis Workflow?

In today’s fast-moving and highly competitive cannabis industry, the forward-thinking operations that incorporate commercial production techniques and modern business methods will have a critical advantage. 

Don’t let unnecessary waste slow you down. Think like a Lean manufacturer and integrate time- and cost-saving technology into your workflow today! 

Delta9 Systems is here to help you grow your cannabis business with the right tools, technology and expertise. Browse our catalog or get in touch with our expert team today to see how we can help you streamline operations and stay ahead of the curve. 

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