Software is an imperative part of building a strong business. Many new business owners may be able to scrape by with old-school spreadsheets, but this is no longer an option. Eventually, you will spend more on labor costs to update these spreadsheets than you would save as states require in-depth track and trace compliance. Seed-to-sale software is the only way to save time and money while optimizing your business operations. This software can turn the daunting, arduous task of manual data input into a simple and produce interesting reports to help run your business.
However, the seed-to-sale software landscape is complex. Each state has different compliance requirements, there are several different state regulatory systems that the seed-to-sale software must integrate with, and in addition, each business is unique and will want to track aspects of their operations that fit their process. As a result of these factors, the seed-to-sale software market is fragmented and new business owners can become overwhelmed by their options.
To clear up the confusion, we’ve put together a guide for seed-to-sale software. We will explain what it is, who uses it, why it is important, what to look for in your first seed-to-sale software, and we’ll give you a rundown of the best options on the market.
What is Seed-to-sale Software?
Cannabis is one of the most highly-regulated industries due to safety standards, possible recalls and the process of building trust in the cannabis product. State regulatory agencies want to be able to track everything about a plant, from the sprouting seed to the rolling paper. Unsurprisingly, this has resulted in complex compliance regulations and means that a seed-to-sale solution is an indispensable part of cannabis business operations.
Cannabis seed-to-sale software describes a software solution whose primary purpose is to help cannabis businesses manage inventory and remain compliant with their state and local governments. These software solutions are designed to safeguard the health and safety of the consumer, and therefore track and trace every part of the cannabis supply chain from a plant’s growth to its sale.
However, it is important to differentiate the seed-to-sale software from compliance software like Metrc or Biotrack THC. Seed-to-sale software is not necessarily in-and-of-itself compliance software (although some are). The software’s primary purpose is plant tracking, inventory management, sales insights, and real-time reporting only the required compliance data to the state monitoring system.
If you are thinking, “I can do that with my spreadsheets and manually updated the information into the state compliance system,” well stop right there. Not having a seed-to-sale software means a huge waste of time triple entering the data from multiple spreadsheets, and performing time-consuming file uploads. In addition, a single typo from human error could cost your business thousands of dollars in fines, or even losing your license!
All cannabis seed-to-sale software performs real-time updates through an application programming interface (API) so that all the relevant data a business owner records in their software will automatically be sent to the state traceability system. It completely removes all necessity multiple data entries or the disaster of human error.
Seed-to-sale software will help all businesses streamline their operations in the following ways:
- Mitigate risks by helping avoid oversights that could result in fines or criminal charges
- Help cultivators remain compliant with all state and local laws
- It provides businesses with greater visibility over their operations to optimize operations and ensure profitability.
How to use seed-to-sale software
Seed-to-sale software can be used by many different segments of the cannabis industry, including cultivators, extractors, distributors, and even retail outlets like medical dispensaries. Here are some examples of how it can be used to make the business more efficient:
- Growers can use seed-to-sale software to track all important aspects of a plant’s development like seed purchases, seed germination, harvest, and processing. In order to be more specific, growers can also track batch numbers, strains, and top purchasers of their products
- Distributors, extractors, lab testers, etc. can track all the information necessary for compliance like inventory management, lab testing, packaging, and labeling.
Seed-to-sale software helps both the cultivator grow more efficiently, but also helps the business operation manager, or company owner, understand the overall business operations and how each employee is working within that operation.
Questions to ask before choosing a seed-to-sale software
When deciding what type of software to purchase, it is important to know how this new purchase will fit in with your business goals. The most important part of the decision-making process is to get independent advice. During a consultation, we ask our customers the following types of questions to assess what software would be a good fit for their business. Business owners can also ask themselves if a particular seed-to-sale software would fit their business based on these criteria.
- What is the size of your operation: Number of plants or canopy size in square feet the business has or intends to have. Also, what is the number of employees currently employed or who will be employed in the next few years?
- What are your plans for the future: Consider how you’d like your business to grow in terms of size, location, or business type. Are there plans to expand from a grow to a vertically integrated dispensary and grow operation?
- How tech-friendly is the platform and what type of support will you need: How willing are you to invest time into learning new software, what type of support will you need to learn and how much support does the company provide for setup and on-going questions.
- What software integrations and needed and which ones are available: Some seed-to-sale software comes with many integration options, like accounting. Consider which integrations will save you the most time and investigate the options.
- Who are the stakeholders using the platform and how will it serve their needs: Who in the team will need access to the platform, what permissions will they need, what information will they record, how could a seed-to-sale platform help improve their day-to-day experience and efficiency.
- What are your process requirements? Consider how the business operates. For example, are the business owners more focused on compliance or data analytics? What information do the business owners use to make decisions and how could seed-to-sale software support the process that is already in place.
- How will the cost fit in with your budget? Last but certainly not least, what is your realistic software budget. Where will the seed-to-sale software help you save money that could justify the expense?
Compare seed-to-sale software
CUE Cannabis has spent over 80 hours researching the existing seed-to-sale software and has created a comparison overview between the top seed-to-sale options for the cannabis industry. Below are a few strengths, potential cautions, and ideal customer for three different seed-to-sale software.
- Born out of the frustration from growers, they consider themselves “by growers, for growers.”
- 30-day free trial, Month-to-month, no cancellation fee, and no contract
- User-friendly interface that mirrors your process workflow. Every action is streamlined towards how you operate in real-time.
- Strong customer service department with practica growing experience, so the customer reps have usually encountered your particular problem.
- Customizable label editor, drag and drop logo editors.
- B2B marketplace connecting wholesalers, distributors, and retailers.
- Vendors and retailers can place orders directly through live, updated menus on the B2b marketplace, which means less time spent doing paperwork, more time actually fulfilling orders.
- Less overall functionality than some of the more expensive seed-to-sale software.
- Tech support only during business hours.
Compliance Integration: Metrc
Who is it best for? Ideal for the less tech-inclined because the user interface mirrors a real-time workflow.
- One of the best programs when it comes to supply chain management
- Push and Pull API that allows for real-time reporting to Metric e.g. sending off a lab sample has a push to Metrc, when the lab results come back, Trellis will pull the lab sample and then apply the results to the inventory without any extra work on your end
- Their waste inventory management: have a two-step process to track and dispose of waste
- Robust reporting: Users can create custom data collection e.g. trimmer efficiency reporting, yield data during extraction and more. Excellent data manipulation, with the ability to create pivot tables and export the information in various formats.
- Great support, implementation, and training.
- It is possible to sell plants directly from Trellis, which cannot be done from BioTrackTHC
- If you are not expecting it, the pricepoint could make your eyes water. Starting at $12,000 per year, but worth it.
- Carve out time to be trained on the functionality, Trellis will provide upfront training during the first two weeks, but it will take time to learn all the cool ins-and-outs of the software.
Compliance Integration: Metrc
Who is it best for? Great for somebody with 1,000 or more plants
- Built using smart algorithms that will alter if any part of the grow operation is not in compliance with state regulations.
- Functionality to facilitate easy tracking of plant growth including plant ID, the ability to split the group by individual plan and move it to a new group or existing group, plus it is easy to destroy plants within the software.
- Easy inventory management with the ability to create lab samples from the packages, enter lab results when they return, or see the entire history of the package and where it was split.
- Hardware includes a hand scanner but also works with an Android phone with good camera capabilities.
- Integrates with CannaPay and Quickbooks.
- Incredibly customizable reporting.
- Almost 24/7 help with software questions, usually replies within three hours.
- No free trial option
- Doesn’t integrate with the more popular cannabis point-of-sale
Compliance Integration: Metrc, with BiotrackTHC integration pending
Who is it best for? Cultivators or manufacturers
These are just a sample of some of the features in the top cannabis seed-to-sale software. If purchasing a seed-to-sale seems right for you, but you still want more information schedule a consultation to discuss specific needs with our experts.