Issues in Dispensary Inventory Management
Dispensary inventory management is a complex subject as is generally for any retail organization. However, cannabis dispensaries have to deal with a few unique complicating factors when handling inventory – and these go beyond the complex issue of cannabis taxes.
The unique regulatory environment of the cannabis industry makes it more difficult for cannabis entrepreneurs to effectively operate their businesses. While regulation is necessary for the industry as a whole to develop, it presents risks that turn minor problems into serious headache scenarios.
Working with Your Seed-to-Sale System
Seed-to-sale database problems are among the most common situations that cannabis dispensaries find themselves in. Even with a state-of-the-art cannabis POS implementation in place and all your cannabis taxes paid, seed-to-sale server problems can generate intractable issues.
Without seed-to-sale tracking in place, regulatory authorities can’t make sure that safe, authentic marijuana products make their way into patients’ hands efficiently. Every dispensary has two databases to keep track of – one tracks plants (seed to sale), while the other runs point-of-sale (POS) and revenue data.
If you are using a single system that provides the technology infrastructure for both your seed to sale and POS and either one of the cannabis software databases goes down, the dispensary goes down with it. Dispensary owners cannot legally sell cannabis products without a functioning track-and-trace system that’s running live and in place.
A reputable POS integration can reduce the risk of track-and-trace problems on the dispensary side of the industry. Well-trained employees equipped with high-quality systems are less likely to make common mistakes that dispensaries often fall victim to.
Inventory Challenge: Lost/Stolen Product
Most state legislatures require dispensary owners to immediately report lost or stolen cannabis products. This is one of the most important elements of the regulatory environment as it prevents cannabis from being illegally diverted to the black market or falling into the hands of minors.
One of the challenges that cannabis dispensaries often face when dealing with lost or stolen products is determining exactly where the loss took place. Most seed-to-sale tracking systems do not automatically generate a chain of custody manifest.
Dispensaries that have implemented a POS solution that is customizable to track the physical product inventory after receiving the chain of custody from the distributor can identify where the drop-off occurred. This is vital because dispensaries need to fill out comprehensive reports on stolen products once they discover any loss and in some states, a loss rate above 3% will flag your business for a regulatory audit.
Synchronizing Digital and Physical Inventory
Imagine the following scenario: An online customer places an order for the last edible in stock. Before the dispensary pulls the product off the floor, a walk-in customer purchases the very same edible. What happens when the online customer walks in to collect the edible?
This problem occurs in most retail environments. With synchronized digital and physical inventories, dispensaries can automate the process of pulling products out of the in-store POS system as soon as an online customer places an order and schedules a window of time to pick up and pay for that specific product.
Dispensary owners need to implement robust POS solutions that integrate with the state’s seed-to-sale tracking system in order to prepare themselves for these kinds of situations. From inventory management to loss prevention and regulatory compliance, technology plays a critical role in keeping the retail dispensary environment organized.
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