How to Prepare for Your Cannabis ERP Project

For cannabis operators, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is all the buzz because it encompasses all day-to-day operations within a business in several different modules from all in one software solution. ERP allows integration with METRC and others. Whether you sell or supply adult-use or medicinal cannabis, there are strict guidelines and compliance safeguards to which you must adhere. An ERP system allows for all your separate business functions to meet these guidelines, from operators in cultivation production to retail storefronts. 


Define the Project Scope


ERP gets all your data, including a point-of-sale (POS) system, all in one software solution. Be sure to develop a scope of work to serve as your implementation project roadmap establishing specific guidelines and expectations. It should be thorough and precise, leaving nothing to interpretation. An effective scope document includes tasks, schedules, deliverables, and resources to lay your project’s foundation and achieve the shortest path to ROI for your ERP software investment.


Once your cannabis company decides to implement a new ERP system and you’ve settled on the vendor with the right mindset to help you reach your goals, it’s time to prepare to deploy the new solution. But first, it’s essential to take the tried and true measures to ensure proper ERP deployment


Understand Your Business and its Processes

A key risk cannabis operators face when implementing a new ERP solution is not letting it reshape the business the way they hoped. When implementing an ERP system, you need to understand your business, what you do, what you want to achieve, and the processes you wish to improve. You’ll need to get all the business stakeholders and the end-users on the same page and answer the critical questions surrounding why you do what you do.


Cannabis ERP customers who think ahead and plan for how to drive their business forward are the ones who realize ROI quicker and with fewer headaches. When a cannabis business invests in a new ERP system without understanding its processes, it’s a sign of desperation to seek a quick fix. We’re here to tell you – that never works!


Here are some of the other keys to a successful cannabis ERP implementation that will help you realize your return on investment more seamlessly steps that will help you get ready for what’s ahead:


Understand Your Cannabis Data

Consider all the business data your company handles in the business solutions you currently use. From seed and strains to supplier and vendor histories, employee information, sales invoices, customer relationships, and more, all of this data must be migrated to the new system.


Migrating ERP data is the process of transferring data between your legacy ERP, accounting, or other business solution over to your new cannabis ERP system. When implementing a new ERP, precise data migration can make or break your ERP project.  


When it comes to data migration, start early. There are no magic bullets defining migration as a separate project, but choosing the right people within the business to own and cleanse the data, test the data, and then test it again. 


Get Executive Buy-in

Critical to project success is to get strong leadership sponsorship about the project’s direction. Full buy-in from the entire management team provides shared ownership of the project, supports the project goals, and ensures designation of the appropriate resources for your digital transformation. By being actively involved in the project and spearheading company-wide dialogue


Involve Your Users, too

Cannabis companies often face problems when assembling a project team by putting the project team together with whoever is free and available for the implementation effort. The people you can most easily spare may not be the ones who can understand all the issues and where your current weaknesses and strengths lie.


Once your cannabis ERP is live, your staff (the end-users) play a major role in seeing your ROI, too. With staff and leadership buy-in, you will deliver on your implementation goals through a cumulative effort, developed through the whole company’s input and not just an executive team. Once everyone feels included, they feel empowered, and there’s less resistance to the changes that come with a new system. 


Make Training a Priority


Now that you’ve got company-wide buy-in about adopting and implementing a new cannabis solution, training is of utmost importance and wholly necessary. You likely have employees that haven’t had much exposure to ERP or even POS and inventory management systems. 


Consider the folks among your staff who are new to the cannabis industry. Whether they’re budtenders, warehouse managers, or edibles creators, it is crucial to get training. It doesn’t matter if they’re in cultivation or retail sales, you need to ensure your team understands how the system will keep you compliant with the state and local government regulation. 


Training generally begins toward the end of a project, but the more time investment you can make for training ultimately leads to a more successful experience once you go live. Choosing the right software provider to provide hands-on training to your employees and managers is vital.


The Right Cannabis ERP Partner

Choosing the right solution and the right partner for the implementation is key, but you’ve already done that by this time. Choosing solutions and partners based on how they will fit your business needs and future requirements is perhaps the best indicator of project success. How will you work with the partner you’ve selected? Can you build a long-term strategic relationship with them? Will they grow with you and do they have the same mindset and a unified approach? 


If your cannabis organization is beginning your ERP discovery process, we’d love to help.

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