Just as grocery stores, retailers, and all kinds of other businesses must take regular stock of their inventory, cannabis dispensary operators must also keep careful track of what exactly remains in store, and how much more product will be needed to meet customer demand. The cannabis industry takes the practice a complicated step further, however, with a priority placed on compliance with strict regulatory oversight in order to avoid fines, license suspensions or revocations, and other possible legal repercussions.
To understand more on what a dispensary can do to improve the tracking and management of its inventory, let’s explore the topic further.
Place a Priority on Regular Audits
The importance of closely monitoring the inventory of a cannabis dispensary mustn’t be underestimated, with many provinces expecting operators to provide reports on all inventory and sales transactions. In some cases, government traceability programs require the practice on a daily basis in order to ensure legal compliance. With this firmly in mind, most dispensaries will quickly adopt the routine of regularly scheduled audits, taking thorough stock of all inventory.
Those looking to obtain a cannabis retail license may be interested in the most common auditing routines of dispensaries. Many will follow a weekly audit. Others follow a practice every 30 days known as cycle counting, in which only a certain segment of the inventory is counted at a scheduled time each month until everything has eventually been accounted for. Under this practice, many operators will reserve a day of the week to a specified segment of inventory until the audit is complete.
Another practice that some dispensaries may consider, in view of preventing internal discrepancies or staff collusion, is to conduct an occasional surprise audit using an independent external auditor.
Identify Weaknesses in the Current Auditing System
Students enrolled in cannabis retail training will be interested to hear about the common set of pain points shared by most cannabis dispensary operators when it comes to auditing. These include the time it takes to count inventory, problems with inventory tracking software effectiveness, a possible absence of technology, and processes for remaining compliant with regulations. Understanding the weaknesses unique to a dispensary is key to the team working towards establishing effective solutions. In order to identify weaknesses, operators should:
- Train staff rigorously in techniques and processes, and to look for discrepancies
- Encourage staff to report discrepancies so the nature of a problem can be investigated
- Study consumer data closely to help further develop the inventory management system
- Employ a detail-oriented inventory manager with a sharp eye for spotting errors
- Be open to using technology that may incorporate analytics for spotting weaknesses
What Those Seeking a Cannabis Retailer License Should Know About Technology Use
While some dispensary operators swear by hand counting, and recommend weekly or bi-weekly audits using that approach, others have found the manual method overly time-consuming and error-prone. While technology of the trade will rely on a certain level of investment, inventory tracking software is a wise acquisition for ensuring audits are conducted as smoothly and accurately as possible.
A few key features that should be considered in choosing the right inventory tracking software include:
- Its ability to integrate with the hardware you already have or wish to purchase
- Its ability to integrate with your province’s inventory and sales transaction tracking system
- An ability to track lost product and give timely updates on recalled items
- A system that ensures your data remains scalable and secure
- A system with solid KPI reporting capability so you can understand your business performance
The availability of inventory management technologies and tools may vary depending on the location of the dispensary, so the wise operator should be sure to conduct diligent research before making any purchases.
Are you interested in taking specialized cannabis retail in Ontario training to pursue a career in this engaging field?
Contact the Academy of Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences for more information on its Cannabis Management, Quality and Edibles program!