Having a single yet diverse software platform can make all the difference for a seed to sale cannabis company. For one thing, if your platform doesn’t speak multiple languages — i.e., the tech is tailor made for each component of the business while also integrating seamlessly with other software — it will harm the customer experience and disrupt day-to-day business functions.
The solution to this problem is a fully integrated software platform like BLAZE that covers every aspect of the cannabis industry, from cultivation to distribution to retail, and is designed and used by industry experts. One of those experts is Kai Kirk, an experienced cannabis cultivator and IT leader who joined BLAZE in early 2019 with a vision to make the operational experience for cultivators more reliable and secure. Here, he discusses the major upside of running a seed to sale cannabis company on a single yet diverse software platform.
For Kai and others, one of the main issues with having fractured software components is all the friction caused when transferring products between business entities.
“If you were to move a product from your distribution company running one software solution to your dispensary running another software solution, very little information is carried electronically,” Kai says. “This results in manual data entry on the dispensary side, which opens up the risk of user error and inconsistent data. BLAZE, being a single platform for your full vertical, will transfer that product not only through the compliance system, but it will actually carry all of the product details into your dispensary, minimizing data entry and time spent for every transfer.”
Perhaps you’re operating a large-scale enterprise across multiple states and locations. Visibility into your operations is crucial to keeping the business healthy.
“If you have three dispensaries all running different platforms and you also have a distro running a different platform, you have to remember reports on all of those individually, but those reports may not be consistent in the formulas used to generate them,” Kai says. “You don’t know if you’re comparing apples to apples. With BLAZE, we have an enterprise reporting console that would allow you to see consistent data across all of your operations in each part of the vertical and allow you to, with one login, run individual reports on each operation.”
Many of the software options for cannabis businesses are monolithic and don’t serve the needs of individual users such as cultivators, retailers, and distributors. These different operations need to focus solely on their role.
“You have some of these big cannabis ERP platforms that try to shoehorn themselves in and they have such a complex interface that people don’t know what they’re supposed to do,” Kai says. “Training costs are very high. Efficiency within the platform is very low from an operator’s perspective. So BLAZE has interfaces tailor made for each part of the cannabis vertical and even specific operations within those. Having a single platform allows the enterprise-level people to look at it as it’s one single system that allows each of the operators in those specific roles to do what they need to do and do it most efficiently.”
Compliance with government regulations is a significant area for cannabis businesses — one that can make or break a company. The key is to have this function centralized for accuracy and ease of use.
“BLAZE sends the compliance data in real time and if there’s an error I’ve got a log of things that weren’t reported because a state’s system might be down,” Kai says. “I can easily click to re-transmit those. With some software solutions, the customer actually has to call in and say, ‘Hey this didn’t work, tech support, can you fix it for me?’ BLAZE reports exceptions to you and handles the re-transmission.”
In order to maintain a high level of customer experience and keep people coming back to your brand, consistency across sales and enterprise integrations is essential.
“If you’re trying to roll up multiple operations into the same enterprise resource planning system, you may not get consistent data coming from multiple software vendors that all have implemented integrations differently,” Kai says. “Because there is no standard for chart of accounts or categories of inventory within the cannabis space, choosing a single software platform assures that your integrations will be consistent.”