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Put the Right Tech in the Right Place:

How to Choose Traceability Components for Each Area of Your Cannabis Facility 


Last week, we talked about the convenience and value of integrating Mobile Traceability Carts into your cannabis operation. In addition to the cart itself, these traceability systems typically include four other components: 


Computer or touch-screen tablet to interact with traceability and ERP software

Scanner to capture barcodes data and inventory 

Label printer to add barcodes to plants, waste and/or inventory

Weigh scale to track waste and batch data 

            



These are mission-critical pieces of equipment, helping to keep your license valid and your entire operation operating. However, all traceability gear is not created equal. It’s important to select the appropriate grade of equipment for the different traceability operations required in each stage of the growing cycle, from Propagation to Processing. 

Let’s take a closer look at how to design your traceability platforms with the right tools and tech to fit every environment in your cannabis facility: 


Propagation/Mother Room

In this stage, the most important tool in your traceability system is a fast, efficient Thermal Transfer label printer since you’ll be printing hundreds of traceability tags that must follow the plants throughout the life of the cycle. Whether you’re creating durable poly labels, loop and lock tags or plant stakes, you want to have the right printer for the job. Thermal Transfer technology melts a durable wax or resin onto the label that is waterproof, won’t rub or scratch off and won’t bleach out under artificial or natural light, so it’s great for the harsh garden environment. 

As far as the terminal, or computer station, make sure it can quickly connect to other devices like your scanner, printer and scale. You’ll also use the computer to take notes and input required compliance data, so a good Wi-Fi connection is a must. 



This early in the grow cycle, you probably will not need a heavy-duty barcode scanner. And since you’re not creating a lot of waste (maybe 1-2 pounds), a smaller, more affordable scale is a better choice than investing in a top-of-the-line one. 


Vegetation

In the Veg environment, you’re moving plants around constantly. This means you’ll want a relatively decent scanner to hold up to the plant material and moisture in the garden. Since you’ll be weighing much more waste, you’ll need a slightly bigger scale. You may not need a printer at all in this environment. 


Bloom 

Similar to Veg, you will want to have a decent scanner in the Bloom environment. You’ll also need a bigger scale since you’re creating more waste. However, since you’re not selling at this stage, it doesn’t have to be an NTEP (National Type Evaluation Program) certified scale, which provides the most accurate readings. Because Bloom is a relatively low impact part of the cycle, you ideally won’t be touching the plants at all and don’t need a plant tag printer. 


During Bloom, you’ll also want to capture as much observational data about the growth cycle as possible. The more you know about your plants, the better you can see what’s working—or what isn’t. This means you’ll need a quality computer or tablet to access, record and enter data into your software. Another great piece of technology to have at this stage is a Dino-Lite digital microscope camera. This tool allows you to get an up-close view of your plants without touching them so you can search for contaminants, pests and diseases. The Dino-Lite integrates with a computer, smartphone or tablet, making it a perfect addition to your traceability cart. 


Harvest 

Harvest time is one of the most exciting—and hectic—parts of growing cannabis. Set your team up for success by equipping them with heavy-duty wireless cannabis barcode scanners to record all the data from barcodes coming off the bloom. Look for a manufacturing-grade scanner that’s durable, drop-resistant and easy to clean. As opposed to consumer-grade products, manufacturing-grade products are built to last when exposed to the harshest environments. The long-term reliability of higher-grade products is well worth spending a little extra upfront! 

Another key tool in the harvest process is an NTEP-certified scale. You’ll also need the ability to print, although you won’t need as robust of a printer as you do in Propagation. 


Processing 

While processing cannabis flower, specialized NTEP scales are necessary to properly weigh your product and control your margins. Look for an electronic scale that has a water- and dust-proof cover and the ability to connect to your traceability system, retail terminals and processing ERP software. 


During Processing operations, you’re only going to be doing some light scanning, so a heavy-duty barcode scanner isn’t required. You will, however, need a high-quality manufacturing-grade label printer. The same 203 dpi printer you used in nursery operations won’t cut it when it comes to printing hundreds, even thousands of labels a day for your final product packaging. We highly recommend investing in a high-resolution (300 dpi) Direct Thermal cannabis label printer to create clear, crisp and professional-looking labels that highlight your batch-specific terpene and cannabinoid profiles. 


The Delta9 Systems Difference

Succeeding in today’s highly-competitive cannabis industry will depend on the ability to choose the right tools to maximize efficiency, productivity and profitability. It’s easy to pick out standard gear from Amazon or another online retailer, but if those tools aren’t optimized for the job, break down or go offline, you can’t capture the data you need—and that puts your entire cannabis operation at risk. Your traceability system should be tailored to your garden, your workflow and your unique business needs. 


Trust the Delta9 Systems team to help you make smart decisions about reliable and efficient equipment to use in every area of your cannabis facility. We’re here to help you put the right tools and tech in the right place, at the right price. Best of all, we back everything up with first-class customer service and support that’s unparalleled in the industry. 


Let us help you design customized traceability carts with the best gear for your unique operation. Give us a call at 1-877-303-8957 or use our contact form to get in touch today! 

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Chris Guthrie
Chris is the General Manager of Delta9 Systems, a division of General Data Co. He is an expert in the cannabis industry, having participated in the birth of the cannabis industry in Washington, and has operated one of the first and oldest medical dispensaries in Seattle. For a decade, Chris has participated in the design and managed the construction of dozens of indoor gardens, and has been involved in cultivation, processing, retail operations, as well as industry activism.
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