Flexing Your Options: How to Choose the Best Cannabis ERP Solution

The Silverware Team | February 28, 2018

best Cannabis ERPBefore cannabis ERP was an option, cannabis processors could be forgiven for running screaming into the woods or giving up and opening a fast food franchise. The continued uncertainty, unpredictability, and variabilities in the industry make it difficult to plan for the future in this business, and that can be a distraction from continuous improvement of daily operations. But you’re just not that kind of entrepreneur, are you? You knew the risks and opportunities inherent in the cannabis processing industry and jumped in anyway. Rather than giving up, you’re looking for ways to continually adapt your business to changing market conditions, trends and regulations. One of the best ways is by investing in the best cannabis ERP software capable of pivoting when you need to pivot, and scaling when you need to scale.

What should you consider when selecting business software for the cannabis industry? Do you look for a seed-to-sale system, a narrowly-focused, cannabis industry accounting package, or an established ERP solution offering cannabis processing industry functionality?

A narrow focus constricts your options

Every industry has its own challenges and its own peculiarities, and as a relatively new industry, cannabis processing has more than its share of both. For that reason alone, it may be tempting to look at so-called seed-to-sale systems or entry-level accounting software such as QuickBooks. But the downside of narrowly-focused seed-to-sale system, or a starter software package is that they constrict your options — your ability to pivot to changing market conditions.

In our modern, digital economy, businesses of every kind need to be agile, flexible, and adaptable in order to succeed. When a software system is built specifically for a certain industry, by definition it is designed to accommodate the state of the industry when the software was designed. It may have your terminology nailed, and probably has a few features designed just for you. But what happens when your industry changes? And the cannabis industry has been known to change, right?

Seed-to-sale systems are really compliance systems, and while compliance in the cannabis industry is important, it’s not all that matters. You are a processor, manufacturer and a distributor at your core, so functionality that supports critical areas, including inventory control, lot tracking, procurement, financial reporting, data analytics, customer relationship management, and warehouse management is vital to your overall success.

Entry level applications like QuickBooks offer plenty of flexibility it seems, but that flexibility often flies in the face of proper accounting controls. This type of software might have been well suited to the wild west cannabis industry we saw in the green rush of ’15, but today’s cannabis businesses need the sophisticated security, audit trails, inventory management, and manufacturing capabilities that only come with a full-fledged ERP system.

The narrow focus of seed-to-sale systems and entry-level software stymie your ability to adapt to the changing cannabis landscape, forcing you to track part of your business outside of the software, in spreadsheets or other applications, which limits your ability to be innovative, efficient, and nimble. Simply put, neither seed-to-sale software nor QuickBooks are ERP, and ERP is what a modern cannabis business needs.

Broad functionality opens up the options

If narrowly-focused cannabis software is like a two-lane road, where every obstacle ahead causes a major slowdown, then the best cannabis ERP solutions are more like a super highway. Certainly there will be obstacles and distractions (no texting and driving, right?), but the capacity is larger and the throughput is faster. You can navigate around trouble spots, switch lanes when necessary — even jump a couple lanes if conditions warrant.

The best cannabis ERP solutions are proven business management solutions that meet the core demands of businesses in a wide variety of industries (those demands are remarkably similar, by the way). These are solutions that were built with an exceptional degree of flexibility, scalability, adaptability, configurability, extensibility, auditability, and stretchability (ok, got carried away there). The point is, because these ERP solutions were built to meet the needs of a variety of industries, they do in fact meet the needs of a variety of industries.

Why is this kind of flexibility important? What if you bought a grow-centric software solution, and now you want to be the lowest cost producer of the highest quality cannabis oil? Could your software help you capitalize on the changing consumer preferences and new opportunities? The right cannabis ERP application with broad functionality opens up your options.

The right partner is your technology enabler

Equipping your business with the best cannabis ERP software is foundational, but don’t stop there. To get the best results from your cannabis ERP, you need the right partner.

To revisit our highway analogy, the right partner gets you entry to the fast lane, and puts a navigator in your passenger seat. The best navigators already know the way, they’re not just reciting what the map program tells them. They understand the road conditions because they’ve navigated this road with dozens of other cannabis businesses. They can warn you about congestion ahead, and suggest alternative routes. The right partner can also advise you when it’s best just to sit tight and be patient. They can also tell you when to move left, put the pedal down, and go full speed ahead. (But still no texting, ok?)

Silverware works with cannabis businesses around the country to implement, configure, and optimize cannabis ERP and manufacturing solutions that work the way you work. Even if the way you work tomorrow is quite different than today. Contact us to start the discussion.

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