Everyone in the cannabis industry has their own way of talking about data. Anyone who grows has been asked how many grams per watt they are getting, or how many pounds per square foot. Everyone in the industry seems to measure success in a different way. This is an underlying problem. The cannabis industry is hungry to be a data driven industry, but we are still so young that we are trying to develop our systems and standards for getting to that point.
What many cultivators fail to understand is that data, and data collection, should be the heart of their operation. It should be the first thing that you focus on, not something you just do on occasion to see how you are doing, or “what yields the largest”
Collecting data in all forms allows a cannabis business to better understand how it is operating. It allows a company to have better information with which to solve problems, and will help a company identify where they can operate more efficiently and competitively. In an industry with an increasingly competitive outlook, and tightening margins, this is essential to any business that not only wants to survive, but thrive.
Everyone in the cannabis industry is looking for one easy platform where they might consolidate all relevant data to their business in one place. This is an example of how young the industry. Any successful business is an expression of a customized, yet effective, data collection system. Companies do not use one size fits all solutions. Successful companies implement the data collection systems and methods that are the most effective and efficient for their operation. This should be the primary goal of any cannabis business owner. To develop systems of data collection and methods of analyzing it that are uniquely effective for the progress of the company.
In order to this a cannabis company can look at three major blocks for data collection. Place, People, & Product.
Growers have their grow spaces, shop keepers have their store fronts, MIPS have their extraction facilities. Collecting data on your place, its environment, equipment, bills, leasing, efficiencies, water quality, air quality, etc, will all help you to get a better understanding of your individual operational spaces. Once you understand every detail of your building, grow and production spaces, you will be able to maximize its efficiency.
Place Data Points to Consider Tracking:
- Temp (All Spaces)
- Humidity (All Spaces)
- Co2 (All Spaces)
- Air quality (All Spaces) (Molds and airborne particles)
- PH of irrigation water at multiple points
- Par Values (All Spaces)
- Outside Temp, humidity, and Co2
- Irrigation Pressure
- Watering and Nutrient schedules and formulations.
- Irrigation Filter exchange pressure
- Coolant circulation pressures
- Irrigation and injection system condition
- Chiller tower set points and condition
- Freezer temperatures
- Strain and production batch rotation and development
People are your most valuable and most expensive asset. When I say asset, I mean asset. As a cannabis company, you should be in the business of deploying your assets in the most effective, and efficient way possible. This will maximize the quality and impact of each labor hour for the overall cost. The best way to effectively employ your people is to understand as much as possible about them. Understanding the amount of man hours that goes into each task in your business is hugely important. But beyond that, a company can use data to help better understand and benefit their employees. People have different strengths and weaknesses and a company can use data to identify those. Surveys, hours per task analysis, sales made, pounds trimmed per day per person, there are a million different markers that you can use to better understand how to utilize your man power.
Gathering data on the people working in your company is an important step in understanding their productivity. It is important to be sensitive in such data collection. Issues of personal privacy, workers freedoms, and the impact of data collection practices on the social fabric of the business should be considered very carefully when collecting data about your people. When in doubt stick to the basics. At our core, Durango Cannabis Company looks at the fallowing factors for our people.
People Data Points to Consider Tracking:
- How many people are we employing?
- How many hours per day are they working?
- What are they getting paid?
- How many labor hours does each major task in your business require to effectively complete?
- Are people using their time effectively?
- Are there areas of your business operation that are costing you more labor hours than is needed?
As a business owner, you and your operations manager should always be thinking “How can we make our process more efficient” If you can have the same team accomplish twice as many tasks just as well, then you are on the road to creating an efficient enterprise.
The ability to identify an individual’s strengths and weaknesses is something that is developed over time as people develop into their individual rolls. It should always be a conversation with your team, and with individuals discussing what they enjoy, what they don’t and in general how they are feeling and what they are thinking. Basic compassion and support for your people that can be driven by measurable performance data is the best way to maximize the potential of any team.
Your product… The things you sell, are the corner stone of your business. This is often why there is a lot of data that is already collected around this side of business. The finance and tracking side of the cannabis industry is one area that is somewhat more developed than others. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep a very close eye on things like yield, sales, production costs, quality control indicators, the list goes on. The data collection that a company can perform on their product is the most diverse and customizable data set for any company. A common question we ask is… “What are the most important features and needs of our product and brand?” From there we can begin to develop the data points that will be the most important to track.
Cannabis businesses are generally broken down into four sections. Brand, Flower, Concentrate, and Edible. The first two questions that any cannabis business needs to ask itself are a) What is my brand or product, and b) What makes my product unique?
For example, Durango Cannabis Company is a premium recreational wholesale flower company. We use the best traditional cultivation techniques, and genetic legacy practices, to deliver the highest quality mountain grown cannabis experience to our customers. Once you have those fundamental questions answered, you can begin to collect all sorts of data around your product. Here are just a few of the metrics that DCC fallows related to our product.
Product Data Points to Consider tracking:
- Market Trends
- Market size
- Price indexes and changes
- Extraction Performance
- Testing and Validation
- Terpene Profile
- High Profiles
- Production Cost per gram or unit
- Brand recognition
- Brand reach
- Naming and Product Development
- Quality Control
- Market Penetration
- Merchandise and Marketing costs.
The list goes on and on.
We believe it is up to the individual business to come up with a tailored set of data and metrics to track. Once you know what you product is and what makes it unique, the data that you collect about that product performance will give you the ammunition you need to make it profitable for your business.
The cannabis industry is young and is only now starting to venture into the more in depth ways and means of the scientific and business communities. There is no one size fits all method for success, or successful data collection. My advice for any cannabis business that wants to be successful is to put measurable data at the heart of everything that you do, and to be as creative and flexible about how you collect that data as possible. The more you know the better course you can chart to success.