Anyone who owns a greenhouse understands that it’s a low-margin, high-risk industry. There are rapidly expanding regulatory requirements to consider. In addition to staying on top of these increasingly tight regulations, commercial growers must think about environmental changes, pests, disease, labor, and other issues.
Staying on top of all this can unfortunately come at the expense of production efficiency. However, by adopting new technologies and software, growers can cut costs, boost revenue, tighten production, and streamline operations.
Most growers are already using an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system or various climate control systems. For managing back-end functions like payroll, billing, inventory tracking, logistics, etc., there’s really no better option than an ERP system. However, when it comes to crop management (compliance logs, pest tracking), many growers are using notebooks and spreadsheets.
For commercial operators looking to scale, a Cultivation Management Platform (CMP) is a vertical software application for crop scheduling, labor forecasting, compliance logging and reporting, and task management. A CMP fills critical gaps, with negative fallout becoming more apparent, especially in the burgeoning cannabis industry. Here are six scenarios where it may be a good time to evaluate a CMP.
You’re Looking for Software Specific to the Agriculture Industry
ERP systems are horizontal applications, meaning they’re great at handling all the backoffice functions that exist in various industries (invoicing, shipping, financials, etc.). They’re not great at solving industry-specific problems, but CMPs can fill that gap for your farm. CMPs are great for industry-specific functions such as crop planning and forecasting, worker management and labor tracking, traceability, and compliance.
You’re Scaling Locations Across States
One of the major challenges of scaling operations in different states or countries is maintaining quality standard operating procedures and streamlining costs across your many locations. There are many factors to consider such as cloud-based connectivity, flexibility, customization, user permissions, and data visualizations. This is what CMP software was designed to do.
You’re a Large, Multinational Organization and Need to Manage Operations Remotely
Spreadsheets and notebooks to manage cultivation may work well for a small farm with one location, but for operations with many acres across many countries, a cloud-based CMP is a great option to fit around specific needs and make all data accessible to whoever needs it and from wherever they’re located.
You’re Looking to Streamline Operations and Costs
Finding discrepancies between planting and sales teams is common. Growing operations need to link their sales data with planting schedules and get real-time visibility into what needs to be done to optimize their profit margin. CMP software can not only show that, it can also show how many workers are needed on any given day to reduce overspending on labor.
You’re Gearing up for a Third-Party Audit
Third-party audits can be terrifying and time consuming, but they’re a necessary part of operating a greenhouse operation. It’s the goal of any grower to protect consumers, employees, and investment from potential hazards, and software can be a powerful tool in that respect. CMP software specifically is useful for digitizing paper records and logs, which can save time and money while also dramatically reducing the risk of recall. Additionally, having all relevant data in one place that’s easy to access for growers and the auditor can help ease tension around third-party audits.
You Need a System to Integrate With Your Other Systems
This is critical for many growing operations that have already invested money into certain hardware and software solutions. One of the major benefits of modern software is the prevalence of application programming interface (API) architecture. It’s now possible for CMP software to link into other technologies and pull or push data back and forth.
Without an ERP, you would leave your business open to risk every day. Without a CMP, you leave your business and production open to risk — risk you can’t afford. Within the context of the above scenarios, a CMP can help stabilize your operations, drive higher margins, and help you stay compliant despite changing regulatory pressures.