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6 Best Practices for Cannabis Grow Op Scaling

Harvest Integrated

10.07.21

How to scale a commercial grow operation successfully? That’s the big question. 

There are a lot of things to consider and plan for when scaling a cannabis grow operation. On top of that, there is an overwhelming amount of things that need to be done after the planning phase. Processes can become complicated, efficiency may fall, and with it, the success of the scaling initiative. That said, this doesn’t have to be the reality as you expand your operation. Let’s have a look at some best practices that can help you scale your commercial cannabis grow operation well.

1. Evaluate the regulatory landscape

Evaluating the regulatory landscape is one of the major things you need to do when it comes time to scale your operation. Regulations vary and so it’s important to familiarize with and evaluate the laws that apply to a particular location. Take financing for example. Some states will require proof that you have adequate financial resources, and this can be a limiting factor depending on how much you have. 

You’ll also need to stay on top of the regulatory environment across all the locations you operate in. You don’t want to risk losing your market share to missed regulatory updates. 

2. Analyze your operation

When you scale your operation, it will naturally take on a more complex structure. It’s important to think through the details that will add to the complexity before you start expanding. A well-thought-out structure can create some highly beneficial efficiencies across the entire operation as you expand. 

For instance, when you know how the operation will change, you may be able to optimize the flow of money and the cost of goods sold. On the other hand, trying to analyze and change the operation structure when you have already begun expansion can be a real hassle. It’s best to ensure that the structure is set up correctly from the start. 

3. Keep it simple

Don’t overcomplicate the process. Grow op scaling is complicated enough without you trying to implement a lot of ideas at once. With lots of potential growing methods you can adopt, plus the various equipment and technology options you can choose from, it can be tempting to try everything as you scale. However, this can become chaotic. You should always consider what certain actions and additions will mean for your processes and overall efficiency. 

While it’s enticing to try new things and automate everything out of the gate, it may be best to keep some variables consistent. Things such as your irrigation system, environmental monitoring and climate control may require an update, but not every process will require new equipment. Instead of adopting automation blindly, think about maximizing the use of the equipment you already have and improving efficiencies.

Cultivation software is one of the things you might consider for streamlining and optimizing processes as well as increasing efficiency and consistency. For example, studies have shown that labor accounts for a significant proportion of total commercial cannabis cultivation costs.  The right software can automate certain processes and cut labor hours. This will drive down costs while helping you to maintain product quality. 

4. Know how your money is moving

Grow op scaling means more costs, and this requires more money. However, financing is a big issue in the cannabis industry. Without access to loans, you can easily run into cash flow problems. You need to understand your cash flow and how it will be affected by any expansion plans. This way you can work on finding money before you need it. The last thing you want is to halt scaling plans because you misunderstood your cash flow demand or didn’t prepare well for it.

5. Stay in touch with your team

A bigger operation comes with more responsibility for the entire team. As production increases, goals will change and without clear directives and expectations, your operation can become messy. 

As you scale, you’ll need to stay on the same page with your team with regard to their roles. Any changes need to be communicated clearly and everyone needs to be certain of their responsibilities. Project management and communication tools are a great way to ensure that the entire team has an open communication channel to discuss any changes and developments. 

You’ll also need to take stock of roles that need to be filled and have a solid leadership team in place to get the right people on board. Put people in the wrong positions and your grow op scaling initiative won’t take off. This is why working on your team structure in advance is a good idea;  you will avoid many problems down the road. 

6. Stay focused

The cannabis industry is growing rapidly. Partnership opportunities and brand opportunities are on the rise. Exciting products ideas and enticing events are becoming the norm. You may find yourself trying to keep up with everything as your operation grows, but this is unnecessary. 

Keeping up with everything will take away from you a very limited and important resource – time. With so much taking place in the industry, you want to follow the things that add value to your business, i.e. things that help you execute your expansion strategy and achieve your goals. 

How to scale a commercial cannabis op right way

Scaling a cannabis op comes with the need to juggle many variables at once. Frankly, this is not easy and it can be quite taxing. The good news is that you can avoid some of the hard work by adopting some best practices. Together with a good scaling strategy, these best practices can give you a great foundation as you take on your op scaling initiative. 

Do remember that even with these best practices, you may still encounter some challenges that hamper your scaling efforts. Check out these 9 key challenges to scaling a cannabis grow operation to learn nine things you need to avoid as you scale your operation.