According to Forbes, the cannabis sector is America’s fastest-growing industry. It is projected to create more jobs than manufacturing by the year 2020. Software is an important part of building a strong cannabis business. Many new business owners try to scrape by with spreadsheets, but to be truly effective spreadsheets are no longer an option. Eventually, business owners will spend more on labor costs to update their homemade tracking systems than they would in buying software.
What is Seed-to-sale Software?
Seed-to-sale software describes a software solution whose primary purpose is to help cannabis businesses manage inventory and remain compliant with their state and local governments. These software solutions are designed to safeguard the health and safety of the consumer, and therefore track and trace every part of the cannabis supply chain from a plant’s growth as a sprouting seed to its sale.
Who Uses Seed-To-Sale Software?
It’s no secret that the cannabis industry is tightly regulated. Any company that handles the plant needs to have a robust software solution in their corner. Remember, the industry has four major segments that make up the seed-to-sale supply chain.
- Cultivation– The farmers who grow and cultivate the plants.
- Extraction– The companies that extract cannabinoids and other plant derivatives.
- Distribution– The persons that distribute cannabis derivatives to dispensaries and retailers.
- Retail– The dispensaries and outlets that sell the product to the final consumer.
Within these segments are additional supplementary services like testing labs and technology companies. As the product moves through every step of the supply chain, each industry player has to be able to effectively track all the materials they receive. This continues until the point the final consumer receives it.
Define Your Business Requirements
Before you can even begin looking for seed to sale software vendors, you need to define what the scope of your project is. This is even more critical if you are just starting a cannabis business vs if you’e been running one for a while and are just looking to improve your efficiency.
Before even starting to evaluate and review what is out here you need to stop and ask yourself a few questions. Are you looking for a system that integrates all the existing systems you have running into one framework? Are you looking to focus on specific parts of the business processes, like cultivation, cash flow, warehouse control, and/or inventory management? Regardless of how comprehensive your list of requirements is, the cannabis industry is evolving at a rapid rate.
If you’re not into growing and harvesting for example, and just want something to help with inventory management and point of sale, then a software like Cova Software might be a more focused solution for you.
Conversely, if you’re more into the investment side of things then a dedicated data intelligence and market research software might be more up your alley.
In the end it all depends on your needs. Once you have those defined you can take the next step in your evaluation. Also remember though you are planning not just for your needs today but your forecast needs 5, 10, 20 years from now as well.
Chances are your requirements will also change at the same pace. The real question is: Can your software adapt to your business’ ever-changing needs? Will your seed-to-sale platform become obsolete in a couple of years? The answer to these lies in choosing software that has dynamic integration and customization capabilities.
Consider the Infrastructure of Your Software
When choosing the best seed to sale system for your cannabis business, you should also think about using the best architecture. Some key considerations include:
Local vs. Cloud Platforms
Each has its pros and cons. The option you choose depends on several factors. For instance, going with a local installation might require that you put up a large upfront investment. This could be a potential challenge if you lack adequate financial resources.
Cloud systems, on the other hand, provide full-time, real-time access to system resources. They also support collaborations between different stakeholders because of their mobility. However, they require a thorough integration evaluation to be done before you can migrate data to the new platform.
You need to consider whether or not the system can be deployed using a third-party hosting service. If you have the right kind of hardware and software requirements, you could consider doing an on-premises deployment.
The importance of securing your seed to sale platform cannot be overstated. You need to look for a system with superior security features that restricts and controls user access to the system, including single sign-on user validation and HTTPS encryption.
Top Performers of 2020: Best Seed-to-Sale Software Comparison
There are dozens of various seed-to-sale that perform various aspects of the grow, harvest, curing, distributing, inventory, sales, and rewards parts better than others. Below are three of the most popular, most-widely adopted CRM platforms that offer some of the most comprehensive functionality. There may be other types of software that specialize in one or fewer stages of the cannabis growth to consumer process, but if you’re looking for a tool that can do it all, then the three highlighted below are a great place to start!
Developed to meet the needs of cultivators who were dissatisfied with the tools available to manage their operations, Trellis is a comprehensive seed-to-sale platform available in Canada, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Michigan.
The platform’s main features include inventory tracking, purchase order creation, plant management throughout cultivation, Potting Soil, harvest, and extraction, and chain of custody recordkeeping. A dynamic dashboard provides cultivation, manufacturing, and inventory updates in real-time. Trellis’ tools and analytics have been designed to be easy to implement, and they can be configured to nearly any operation.
- Inventory Tracking: Manage cannabis inventory from cultivation to extraction and sale in a single, easy to use platform.
- Dashboards: Trellis dynamic dashboarding provides real-time cultivation, manufacturing, and inventory updates.
- Purchasing: Consolidate your purchases and generate customizable purchase orders to input your production costs
- Cultivation: Manage every plant and batch throughout cultivation, including propagation, vegetation, and flowering stages, with Trellis’ customizable framework.
- Harvest: Track wet, dry and trim yields to generate harvest batch manifests with precise moisture and yield loss data
- Extraction: Whether you are distilling, dekiefing, or decarboxylating, or pressing, Trellis can be adapted to your extraction workflow. With cost per gram functionality, you can optimize your manufacturing business.
- Disposal: Trellis tracks all your cannabis waste with unique disposal ID’s from collection to removal.
- Chain of Custody: Maintain chain of custody records from seed-to-sale with two-factor authorizations and permission driven user profiles.
- Reporting: Create user-generated reports all of your inventory data including transfer logs, active & closed inventory, and yields.
Helix Biotrack, formerly BioTrackTHC seed-to-sale software is used by more than 2,000 cannabis businesses. The platform itself was designed to manage every aspect of a licensed cannabis business, including cultivation operations, processing and manufacturing, and dispensary point-of-sale.
Helix Biotrack’s software can be customized based on local regulations in the user’s jurisdiction, so cannabis businesses are always in compliance. Users have the option to choose from individual segments of the software supply chain or utilize all three of the segments that BioTrack offers.
- Automated Data Entry: Eliminate data entry and human error with integrated hardware that populates metrics right on your screen. Weigh directly into the computer, scan patient ID’s and populate customer profiles, with a single action.
- Data-driven CRM: Out-of-the-Box Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools to reward loyal customers and referrals. Setup targeted email and text campaigns based on customer’s favorite products, last visit date, purchase history, birthdays, and more.
- Customer Profile: Create individual customer profiles to help treat all of your customers like regulars. Keep track of special preferences, medical preferences, purchase history, rewards points, and more.
- Discounts and Loyalty Programs: Setup discounts based on date, time, product, brand, and more, plus employee weigh heavy and daily discount allowances.
- Inventory Management: You can track and manage thousands of plants and products down to the exact milligram and quickly audit your entire inventory.
- Cloud & Local Hosting: BioTrack offers offer cloud-based service as well as locally-hosted solutions per your business needs.
- Onsite Assistance: A BioTrack representative can visit you on-site to walk you through setup, employee training, advanced reporting functions, and anything else you are interested to learn about.
- Support: BioTrack representatives can assist you in the process of completing and submitting the best cannabis business license application possible.
Like the other platforms included on this list, Viridian Sciences offers a seed-to-sale solution that replaces the need for cannabis businesses to use multiple single-purpose platforms. The company is working to differentiate itself from the integrated financial cost and project tracking, as well as by giving clients the flexibility to scale to multiple locations and in multiple states.
Viridian Sciences utilizes SAP Business One, which is already one of the most widely used financial software solutions among small and mid-size businesses. The software assists with compliance reporting. Implementation consultants are also available to guide producers, processors, distributors, and dispensaries as they get started using the ERP software.
- Accounting: The accounting function is GAAP-compliant. It also prepares financial documents according to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) along with adhering to group reporting needs.
- Full Reporting Engine: Viridian Sciences contains Custom Crystal Reports that are built with the specific needs of the cannabis industry in mind.
- Item Management: You can coordinate items through batches, standard item management, or individual serialized identifiers in the program.
- Deep Hardware Integration: Viridian Sciences provides a variety of integrations. At its core, it can connect to various mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets to give users access to the solution while on the go. It also connects to scanners such as RFID scanners, barcode scanners, driver’s license ID scanners, and cash drawers. Integration with printers such as digital scales, receipt printers, and label printers is included as well.
- Planning/Forecasting: Greenhouse planning and cannabis forecasting are two components of this program that are especially helpful for producers or those going through the production workflow.
- Materials Resource Planning: The materials resource planning function in this solution gives users visualization and control over factors such as inventory, warehouse space, and employee time to ensure that all resources are being used effectively.
- Distribution: Viridian Sciences lets you create efficiencies, no matter the operational size. It enables you to track and manage products across multiple warehouses and bin locations.
- Point-of-Sale: The program offers mobile and browser POS. It also contains a customer portal where you can gain insight on patient and customer transactions and other trends. The system has automated financial processes so you can easily develop invoices, orders, and shipments.
There you have it, three of the most comprehensive, feature-ladden seed-to-sale software platforms that are currently making waves in the industry with dispensaries worldwide. Given this is technically “canna-tech” the field is rapidly evolving and with software there are new and updated versions almost every year, so we will return to this roundup to add new software as we find them and edit the list in case any of the mentioned brands fall out favor with ganjapreneurs.
If you are using a seed to sale software or cannabis-specific CRM that you absolutely LOVE and you think it should be included in this list please let us know in the comments and we’ll make sure to review it for potential inclusion!