What is Cannabis Manufacturing Software?
The cannabis industry includes a wide variety of sectors, such as retail, cultivation, marketing, compliance and much more. At the center of it all are consumable products. The manufacturing of edibles, like gummies, chocolates and beverages, represents a major segment of the market. And this slice of the cannabis industry pie involves myriad complexities, from ingredient sourcing to recipe reliability to batch traceability, compliance integrity and inventory management.
Just as traditional food manufacturers rely extensively on manufacturing software to keep track of many moving parts, so should edibles companies turn to cannabis manufacturing software to ensure quality, safety, profitability and compliance. Businesses that fail to embrace cannabis manufacturing software miss out on key strategic and competitive advantages for scaling in an increasingly aggressive commercial environment.
In early legal markets, Cannabis 1.0 businesses depended upon employees entering by hand key data like recipes, costs and inventory details into cumbersome spreadsheets. Today, however, the most sophisticated edibles manufacturers reject that outdated and unwieldy method, one fraught with human error and freighted with inefficiencies, and use software tools geared for easy onboarding and integration across their operation. Technology devoted to cannabis manufacturing understands the industry’s quirks, and streamlines the many processes that go into, for example, turning so much sucrose, natural flavorings and THC into packages of gummies bound for dispensary shelves.
Onboarding: Making It Easy Is Essential
Manufacturing cannabis edibles products is complex, drawing on everything from inventory management to dosage percentages to costs. Aligning entire chains of production with manufacturing software normally takes a long time—months of work with little to show for it.
The burdensome process stands as a roadblock for many edibles brands. Demand for products is high, staff often is lean, and the businesses do not enjoy the luxury of setting aside hours every day to synchronize operations. With Batchbud cannabis manufacturing software, customers experience production benefits within minutes of getting started with the onboarding process. Edibles manufacturers that use Batchbud invest just a fraction of time and resources that normally follow the adoption of a cannabis manufacturing software platform. The speed of onboarding is vital to decreasing overhead costs.
With Batchbud, companies make the complete and dramatic transition from old-school spreadsheets and data entry to rapid, real-time management of all factors of cannabis product manufacturing in less time than it takes for two full moons to rise.
Scaling With Authority and Peace of Mind
Successful cannabis product manufacturers continually land new contracts and find new customers, and as a result must ramp up production to satisfy retailers and consumers. When this happens, business leaders face a dilemma common among traditional consumer packaged goods manufacturers: scaling while maintaining product integrity.
For example, recipes that yielded superb flavors, textures and aromas in smaller batches can produce subpar products as the batch size is scaled up. Manufacturers often begin by increasing ingredient volume by ratios; but triumphant recipe scaling often doesn’t work quite this simply. Maintaining high quality with scaling requires meticulous and ongoing attention to recipe refinements. Scaling, too, invites supply chain challenges, issues with inventory management, distribution headaches and more.
Staying on top of the many elements of scaling demands cannabis manufacturing software that performs most of the administrative work. While many manufacturing software platforms fail to adequately adapt to scaling, Batchbud was created with scaling capability at the forefront.
For many brands, growth persists as the most profound hurdle. A busy brand with swelling demand thrills. But one stumble, such as a failure to meet an order, can be the first slip in a downward spiral. Managing growth without the right manufacturing software flirts with disaster. The most savvy brands leverage software designed to facilitate growth with minimal friction.
Tracking Material Costs With Cannabis Manufacturing Software
Many manufacturing software platforms either do not address material costs, or half-heartedly tack costs onto the platform. The best programs understand the importance of tracking material costs throughout production—it is key for commercial success.
Material costs never remain the same because fluctuation is the norm. But in the age of inflation, the situation pivots from mere fluctuation to extreme volatility. While the wholesale cost of a sack of chocolate chip cookies might remain the same from week to week, changes in ingredient prices can change every day, sometimes profoundly. When this happens, brands begin losing money. By the time they figure out how much each cookie is costing in the wake of increased material costs, they already are behind the eight-ball. Batchbud cannabis manufacturing software can manage material costs with rigor and comprehensiveness, and in real time.
Purchase Orders: The DNA of Cannabis Manufacturing
Purchase orders serve as the backbone of the manufacturing chain. They give company decision-makers insight into how the components of each purchase order are getting divided and used.
Purchase orders, too, help employees stay abreast of inventory, which is always changing due to production schedules and supply chain hiccups. Brands that fail to incorporate purchase orders into their manufacturing processes threaten their ability to forecast accurately and ensure that inventory for all products remains robust.
Inventory Management for Manufacturing Success and Compliance
Purchase orders play an important role with inventory, but so do other factors. Strong manufacturing software understands the centrality of inventory management to the manufacturing of cannabis edibles, and makes it a robust part of the program.
Brands that miss production schedules, and thus do not manufacture enough products to satisfy all partners, never last long. Distributors and retailers grow tired of dropped deadlines and lack of products to distribute and sell. Soon, both stop carrying the brand.
Many factors impact inventory, including supply chain, scaling efforts, R&D and batches of products that fail to meet standards and are discarded. As inventory is nearly always in flux, it requires powerful software tools to manage it in real time.
Cannabis Sales-Order Management Designed for Growth
Running a successful production line depends on a diversity of data points, including purchase orders, material costs, inventory assessments and, of course, sales orders. It is through sales orders that manufacturers can forecast what they will need in terms of inventory, scaling requirements and more.
Savvy software prioritizes sales-order management. Unfortunately, however, most cannabis manufacturing software programs ignore it. Without stout management tools, the production cycle misses a key factor, not just for today’s run but for weeks and months down the road.
Every cannabis manufacturing company should incorporate sales orders into the protocols it follows to yield the infused sodas, gummies, chocolates and tinctures that it showcases on dispensary shelves.
Cannabis Batch Management: The Primacy of Batch Cards
Crafting cannabis edibles through manufacturing lines is performed in batches, rather than a continuous flow of ingredients transformed into final products. This is especially relevant for regulatory compliance.
Companies often serve both recreational and medical sales channels, each of which often involves different rules for product potency and other factors. In addition, most brands offer many distinct, yet similar, product SKUs: a 10mg THC sour raspberry gummy using sativa strains, for example, along with the same gummy flavor with indica strains, another with hybrid strains, and then perhaps the same gummy in 2.5mg microdose amounts, as well as even more sour raspberry gummies incorporating other cannabinoids like CBD and CBN.
It represents an especially complex kind of CPG manufacturing. Not many traditional snack chips, for example, are subject to so many small changes.
Each batch stands on its own, with unique IDs and tracking data. Batch management is essential for ensuring traceability, among other things. At Batchbud, it’s so vital that we named our company around batches.
Honoring Cannabis Compliance Integrity
Edibles manufacturers confront an issue that is foreign to many other CPG companies: cannabis regulatory compliance. As all cannabis operators know, regulatory violations can literally destroy entire brands. Managing compliance is central for edibles brands, and manufacturing is one of the key steps that endures intense regulatory scrutiny. It’s during the manufacturing, for example, where ingredients can get mixed up, and suddenly a gummy that was supposed to be 2.5mg is 10mg. Or where a product labeled for containing a fortified dose of CBD, actually contains none.
Powerful cannabis manufacturing software includes compliance data points within the software, helping operators understand during every manufacturing step the requirements that must be satisfied in order to achieve regulatory compliance.
Front-Line Functionality for Management Relief
Nearly all cannabis manufacturing software on the market today requires employees to stand before fixed terminals and enter data while production is ongoing. But with Batchbud, workers use hand-held tablets to monitor and track manufacturing protocols and operations, and to add data in real time as manufacturing unfolds. This serves as a distinct advantage over software that requires a line worker being stationary before a terminal. Manufacturing is a dynamic process, and employees generally move around to inspect different aspects of each batch run. Having cannabis manufacturing software with them while they move through the facility helps ensure that all steps and measurements get logged into the system. In addition, it relieves some pressure from managers, who are comforted by the close alignment of production employees and the company’s vital software.
Managing Proprietary Formulations, Recipes and R&D
Cannabis edibles manufacturers are always tinkering with recipes. Different flavors, textures, shapes and cannabinoid amounts often get introduced, and with the rise of functional wellness botanicals like ashwagandha, maca root and valerian, increasingly more ingredients get added to the mix, for both production and product research and development.
With Batchbud, implementing new recipes is simple. Recipes for legacy products, for example, which might undergo minor adjustments (e.g., a switch from a sativa to an indica source of trim for THC) never must be added anew from beginning to end. The existing recipe can instead just be slightly changed, yielding a new recipe for a novel product.
This is particularly helpful during the R&D phase, when employees make numerous small changes to potential products and adjust for things like flavor, effects, texture and more. Few things cause the spirits of edibles manufacturers to rapidly sink like a perfect recipe that lacks thorough and detailed documentation. Without it, replicating the perfect product normally frustrates workers, and can lead to wasted time (and ingredients) as they try to re-create that winning formulation. But with cannabis manufacturing software like Batchbud, that perfect recipe doesn’t disappear into the ether. Batchbud keeps track, in granular detail, of all of the components of the recipe. Replicating it is as easy as just following the saved recipe.
Cannabis Manufacturing Software: The Future of CPG
The days of using spreadsheets to keep track of the dizzying parade of factors that contribute toward brand success are over. Brands that insist on sticking with that method flirt with failure, as competitors leverage manufacturing software to streamline production, cut costs, boost R&D innovation, fulfill orders and scale efficiently.
For emerging cannabis manufacturing companies to experience market success, they must pay intense attention to inventory, sales projections, supply chain issues, material costs, scaling challenges and much more. The best cannabis manufacturing software helps companies navigate manufacturing smoothly. But in many cases, adopting it demands unacceptable investments in time, resources and capital.
Batchbud eliminates the arduous journeys that confront companies considering switching from OG spreadsheet-driven management to a dynamic software platform. In addition, it incorporates a wealth of tools that together comprise an especially comprehensive, powerful and essential manufacturing partner.
As the cannabis industry flourishes and new markets open, too many brands still fail to scale in sustainable ways, or face damaging product recalls, or lose track of profitability. With Batchbud, scaling, product integrity, operational efficiency and many other important aspects of the entire cannabis manufacturing production cycle are subject to powerful oversight and management.
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