With the cannabis industry becoming more established, people are constantly looking to be more efficient. There’s a wealth of innovation out there, and it can be tempting to try out every new piece of technology that claims it will improve your cannabis grow facility. But is it really necessary to do so?
Technology can be a fantastic asset when used well. But, at times, a piece of technology that looks like it would make your processes more efficient may actually hinder them — especially if you rely on it too much.
Read on to learn about common technology pitfalls to avoid and how to determine what technologies you should use in your cannabis grow facility.
New Technology Is Sometimes Necessary
Cannabis is still a young industry, and it has undergone huge changes in recent years that require new approaches than in the past.
HYC Founder and CEO Cory Waggoner says, “People have gone from the underground mentality of not documenting anything to documenting things on paper to being required to document them in state-required software programs like METRC.”
Because of these changes, new cannabis grow technologies are needed to keep up with industry standards. Furthermore, Waggoner points out that technology has great potential to remove human error in certain cases, such as adding an extra layer of requirements that would be easy to skip over on paper.
Overuse of Technology Does More Harm Than Good
Technology has its pitfalls, too, especially when overused. You may be able to increase the amount of product, but a higher yield does not necessarily mean a better yield. Think of the mass-manufacturing of beer as opposed to smaller-batch products, for example.
Rather, in certain markets, factors like what the plant looks and tastes like and trichome production are better indicators of the product — and of your company — than just the technology you have on hand.
Another issue Waggoner points out is over-relying on technology, which can blind you to problems the system isn’t equipped to pick up on. “Just because you have automation in your facility doesn’t mean that you push a button and don’t have to show up,” he says.
Ultimately, technology is only as good as the people who use it and the facility it’s in. According to Waggoner, “If you’re only relying on the technology to tell you how many prerolls you sold today, and you’re not really analyzing it, you’re not really leaning on the technology enough to give you what you need.”
Spending millions of dollars on centers, techniques, and equipment isn’t going to make up for a bad recipe, bad genetics, and a bad working environment — and neither will it substitute for the human touch.
Technology Can Fail
In the words of Waggoner, “Overreliance breeds complacency; complacency kills.” Not only will relying too much on technology cause problems when that technology inevitably fails, but it can also cause you to miss opportunities. Look at METRC integration, for example.
Because accidental input errors are so common, many have looked for outside solutions to perfectly input information. Unfortunately, these new technologies couldn’t actually integrate with METRC, and people wasted time and money being trained on new systems and tools only to learn they couldn’t do what they needed.
Or take automatic watering and fertigation. People thought that since they could control their cultivation from their phones, they didn’t need to go to the cannabis grow facility at all. Then, three days later, they’d come in and find a clog in the line with half the garden dead because it hadn’t gotten fed.
“You have to pay attention,” Waggoner says, “because the opportunity for innovation is there. Being a centralized location for a repository of new technologies is always a great thing, and being able to see it and apply it to different problems within and surrounding the industry is a win-win for everyone.”
Don’t rely on technology to the point you neglect to personally oversee your cannabis grow facility and crop, but also be on the lookout for opportunities to implement technology in new and better ways.
The Right Technology for Your Cannabis Grow Facility
When deciding whether to integrate a particular technology into your cannabis grow facility, start with an in-depth cost-benefit analysis and review your overall strategy. Are you setting yourself up for the long term, or do you plan to sell the facility after a few years?
Then, pair your cannabusiness with the type of technology that will both carry you through your immediate needs and set you up for your next phase of buildout. If you implement a new piece of technology, but it’s just another step that creates a delay and increases your risk, then what’s the point?
“Everyone has their strengths and their weaknesses,” Waggoner says. “While it may be helpful to improve an area you’re already great in, you’ll still have the areas you’re lagging in holding you back. And you won’t find anything that will help you if you aren’t willing to look inward and determine where those weak areas are.”
Some technology your cannabis grow facility just doesn’t need right now. So instead of looking at the newest and most up-to-date technology, examine whether it pairs well with your vision and goals and fills in any gaps you may have.
Don’t Leave Room for Error
It’s a crucial time for cannabis. We’re at an important juncture, both in the U.S. and worldwide, in terms of cannabis acceptance. We aren’t in a position to risk screwing everything up by implementing cannabis grow technologies that may cause more problems than they’re worth.
Get in touch with HYC to find out where you can leverage technology to improve your yield or where your cannabis grow facility can dodge a bullet of added cost and hassle.