How ERP Solutions Support Accountability in Cannabis Businesses: Page 3 of 3

June 14, 2019

Established Inventory Control Measures

Cultivation management functionality within an ERP tracks and manages each individual plant through the growth stages with a unique identifier that goes beyond merely assigning a plant ID—monitoring genealogy, mother and cloning, CBD and THC content, labor costs and quality control checks throughout the cultivation cycle. Tracing products back to the strain or variety is equally important, documenting the health, weight and optimal growing conditions of plants and groups of plants, accurately recording of the entire lifecycle. Performance of strains and their reception by the marketplace are recorded, helping to determine the ideal market for selling and distributing a company’s cannabis products. User-based permissions within an ERP solution ensure the security and accountability of operations by allowing designated personnel to perform transactions and access data.

With plant growth cycles of 2-3 months, cultivation management is a necessary component of tracking growing activities, inventory and labor needs throughout greenhouse operations. Due to the extended growing period, there is a multitude of data and expenses that need to be tracked to manage costs and ensure quality control—assessing plant health, movement, growth stage and harvest information. With the highest greenhouse costs related to labor, continuous management and monitoring is essential. Manual processes lack the accuracy, transparency and security necessary to effectively manage cultivation stages.

Established inventory control measures such as stock levels, expiration dates and loss tracking are managed in the ERP solution, assisting processors in maintaining appropriate levels, reducing waste, utilizing rotation methods and avoiding overproduction to help control overhead costs. To minimize the risk of unsafe products entering the market, the real-time and integrated information available in an ERP solution facilitates the process of locating items quickly in the event of contamination or recall.


Government Reporting Requirements

Reporting capabilities to governing bodies is a must-have, and a comprehensive ERP has the strict inventory control, traceability and chain-of-custody documentation to ensure compliance. Whether reporting is required to state municipalities or at the federal level (as seen in Canadian operations), integration to approved regulatory compliance systems is essential. With differences in jurisdictional requirements, it is important to implement a system that compiles real-time company data and effectively produces timely reports to adhere to the rules, regulations and statutes of the particular jurisdiction. Failure to do so can lead to criminal penalties and loss of license, both of which are detrimental to a company’s success. An ERP solution that integrates and communicates with approved traceability systems streamlines compliance procedures and ensures accountability at all levels within the organization. 


Cannabis Edibles

Consumer expectations for product and food safety are as equally important to account for in the edibles market as they are in the mainstream food and beverage market. With the cannabis edibles and infused beverage market increasing in popularity for both medicinal and recreational use, it is necessary for manufacturers to address food safety despite the lack of federal legality and regulatory guidelines.

Forward-thinking cannabis operations have realized that following current food safety guidelines, incorporating best practices and implementing an industry-specific ERP solution to automate processes provides the accountability they need to ensure safe, consistent and high-quality consumable products.

Foodborne illness due to unsafe and unsanitary manufacturing processes is an increasing possibility, as U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines for food and beverage products sold in the United States are not mandatorily enforced in the cannabis-infused marketplace. Without established federal standards in this industry, product and food safety risks to customers are not monitored, documented or reported. Cannabis-specific concerns regarding aflatoxins, plant pesticide residue, pest contamination and improper employee procedures and training heighten the opportunities for risk. Inconsistent levels of THC and CBD potency in consumables can also be added to the list of threats that can lead to recalls, monetary expenses and damaged reputations.

By focusing on quality and safety, proactive edibles producers are investing in ERP solutions with vendors experienced in food safety in order to take advantage of the benefits traditional food and beverage manufacturers have experienced for decades. Standardizing and documenting procedures for your company and implementing an ERP solution includes employing CGMPs to ensure safe and sanitary manufacturing, storage and packaging of products. In addition, establishing a food safety team to satisfy HACCP requirements is essential. Instilling these safeguards protects consumers from biological, chemical and physical dangers of cannabis edibles and infused beverages. A documented food safety plan (FSP) ensures that food safety policies and procedures are followed. In addition, ERP functionalities such as inventory control; recipe and formulation management; lot, batch and plant tracking; and accurate product labeling, further support control within the supply chain, food safety initiatives and quality control measures.

The evolving cannabis industry faces accountability challenges on a daily basis and an industry-specific ERP system can provide the business management solution to navigate the needs of this unique industry—providing traceability and compliance, inventory control, integrated governmental reporting and the handling of food safety challenges. By employing an ERP vendor that keeps up with current regulations, as well as future changes as legalization continues, companies can meet demands, maintain compliance, differentiate from the competition and allow for operations to grow profitably.


Daniel Erickson is the Product Strategy Manager for ProcessPro (St. Cloud, Minnesota). Direct correspondence to [email protected]


How to Cite This Article:
Erickson D., Cannabis Science and Technology 2(3), 62-65 (2019)