In every industry, a business is only as strong as its supply chain, and the cannabis industry is no different. If one piece of the value chain is weak or broken, the entire chain can collapse. Therefore, it’s critical that businesses find the right cannabis license holders to build their supply chains.
But how do you find those cannabis license holders?
That’s the challenge cannabis license holders and ancillary businesses face in just about every state where medical and/or recreational cannabis sales are available today.
The reality of the cannabis industry is businesses typically have to launch quickly and scale even more quickly. When a license is approved, the race is on to launch operations and start generating revenue to cover all of the costs already incurred and the new ones that continually add up. Finding the right supply chain partners can take a lot of time that cannabis businesses simply don’t have.
Whether you’re a cannabis business looking to develop your supply chain or you’re an investor searching for license holders to invest in, you need to find the best license holders to fill crucial gaps across your supply chain, so you’re positioned to be as successful and profitable as possible.
Here are four ways you can find the right cannabis license holders to strengthen your supply chain and gain confidence that you’re operating efficiently, legally, ethically, and profitably:
1. Attend Events and Network
Events are an important part of the cannabis industry, and many cannabis industry professionals representing a wide variety of license holders attend events across the U.S. and around the world to build relationships, learn about new businesses, and scout for supply chain partners.
With that said, you should attend industry trade shows and conferences to learn about opportunities, gain new ideas, and build relationships that can improve your supply chain now and in the future.
Related Reading: Networking Tips for Cannabis Industry Professionals
2. Use Technology
Technology is essential to effective supply chain management in the cannabis industry. In addition to providing seed-to-sale tracking, technology can help you find and vet supply chain partners.
For example, Cannabiz Media offers complimentary license holder subscriptions, which provide access to license holder information from the Cannabiz Media License Database, so cannabis businesses can build relationships with other license holders, verify licenses, and stay up-to-date on local cannabis market news and conditions.
You can also use websites like Leafwire (a social networking site for cannabis industry professionals) and LeafLink (a digital marketplace for cannabis brands, distributors, and retailers) to connect with different license holders, build relationships, and vet supply chain partners.
Related Reading: The Effects of Big Data and Technology on the Marijuana Industry
3. Do Your Research
In addition to using the Cannabiz Media License Database to verify license information and identify license holder employees, you should conduct online research to learn as much as you can about companies you’re considering for your supply chain.
Reading online company reviews can help, but keep in mind, many online reviews are fake. Therefore, you need to go a step further to confirm the authenticity of reviews and testimonials. Look for documented credentials and experience – both for companies and individuals leading those companies.
For example, use LinkedIn to confirm individuals’ credentials. For companies, look for documented credentials from organizations like the American Society for Quality (ASQ), Good Manufacturing Practices certifications, and so on. Companies like FOCUS (Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards) and QualSCORE provide a variety of resources and tools to help cannabis businesses operate safely and with high quality standards.
Related Reading: The Value of Quality Data in the Cannabis Industry
4. Develop Internal Talent
Cannabis businesses can benefit significantly by developing internal supply chain management talent, specifically, by hiring skilled and experienced supply chain professionals. Supply chain managers who know what they’re doing can improve efficiencies, reduce risks, and lower costs.
Having the right supply chain manager in place is particularly important in the cannabis industry where businesses tend to scale quickly and supply chain challenges come from a variety of sources due to the highly regulated nature of the industry. A great supply chain pro can set up your supply chain network, negotiate with suppliers, manage contracts, monitor costs, leverage technology, improve efficiencies, and more.
Key Takeaways to Find the Right Cannabis License Holders to Strengthen Your Supply Chain
Building a strong supply chain with the right cannabis license holders starts with developing a solid supply chain strategy. Every cannabis business needs a supply chain road map because things will change as the industry evolves. That means the supply chain strategy must be adaptable for the long-term.
To see how the Cannabiz Media License Database can help you improve your supply chain, schedule a free demo today!
Originally published 6/12/19. Updated 1/24/20.
Susan Gunelius, Lead Analyst for Cannabiz Media and author of Marijuana Licensing Reference Guide: 2017 Edition, is also President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company offering, copywriting, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and strategic branding services. She spent the first half of her 25-year career directing marketing programs for AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more as well as small businesses around the world. She has been working with clients in the cannabis industry since 2015. Susan has written 11 marketing-related books, including the highly popular Content Marketing for Dummies, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing, Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps, The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing, and she is a popular marketing and branding keynote speaker. She is also a Certified Career Coach and Founder and Editor in Chief of Women on Business, an award-winning blog for business women. Susan holds a B.S. in marketing and an M.B.A in management and strategy.