Starting a business is inherently risky but these are especially acute for cannabis cultivators. Uncertainties surrounding marijuana banking and the patchwork of ever-changing and onerous regulations means many cannabis operations start small with a view to scaling-up as and when conditions allow for it.
It’d be a mistake to think scaling-up simply means hiring more staff and relocating to a larger facility though, both of which are incredibly costly. Rather, an expansion plan must be embedded into the operation from the outset, and account for ever-increasing compliance requirements while including a major role for supportive technology.
Scaling cultivation with modular technologies
Cultivating marijuana indoors is a significant capital investment from the outset at a time when growers perhaps aren’t clear on what their capacities are or what the demand will be for their product.
Partly for these reasons, there has been a notable decline in warehouse cultivation. In 2016, 80 percent of marijuana was grown indoors but only four years later this had dropped by 20 percent.
Instead, many cannabis cultivators have turned to modular grow room technologies. Cultivation rooms can be quickly and easily installed and taken down according to the grower’s needs. This flexibility allows marijuana grow operations to start small but scale-up, or down, as needed without the commitment of a long-term lease of a large property. New rooms for storage, flowering, curing or trimming cannabis can be added for just the cost of the installation.
Starrco, Cannabox and Portaking are just some of the increasing number of modular grow room manufacturers that provide scalable solutions for cannabis cultivators.
Using technology to maintain compliance when scaling
When starting out, many marijuana growers use manual data entry tools, like Excel or even ledgers, for supply chain management and compliance reporting.
This might be okay as a small operation but as the business grows, the increasing complexity and stringent requirements make such approaches tedious and unfeasible.
Scaling-up as a cannabis cultivator means using automated and customized information technologies that can keep up with supply chain growth and compliance reporting.
Supply chain management platforms like Backbone, Flourish and Canix automate various processes and track crucial information that not only simplify compliance reporting and auditing, but also allows cannabis growers access to data analytics that can better inform decision-making.
Scaling from the outset as a cannabis grower
With customizable technologies like modular grow rooms and supply chain management platforms, planning for growth as a marijuana cultivator can involve less risk. These technologies must, however, be embedded into the grow operation’s business plan from the beginning to best facilitate the company’s ability to flexibly scale-up amid shifting market and regulatory conditions.