How to Cut Labor Costs & Increase Efficiency With Cannabis-Growing Software

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Labor inefficiency in a cannabis cultivation not only stunts growth and causes frustration but also costs you productivity, yield, and revenue. Simply adding more workers isn’t going to fix the problem. Instead, you may need to overhaul your systems and invest in cannabis-growing software that makes daily tasks easier. 
We recently sat down with Nelson Brassell, Co-Founder of Planacan — a task management platform that “helps commercial cultivators plan, schedule, manage and analyze everything that happens in their growth day to day” — to talk about the relationship between increased efficiency and lower labor costs.

Higher Yields Consulting How to Cut Labor Costs & Increase Efficiency With Cannabis-Growing Software

He explains that the more efficient your workers are able to be, the more (and better-quality!) yields they’ll be able to produce. To achieve this efficiency, it’s important to streamline communications and set clear expectations so everyone knows exactly what to do, when to do it, and where to get the information they need. 

Here’s what you need to know about cutting labor costs and increasing productivity by improving efficiency with the right cannabis-growing software.

Cannabis-Growing Software & the Cost of Inefficiency

According to Brassell, labor accounts for the single biggest cost in any cultivation. Generally, the biggest labor costs are for technicians, managers, and directors (with average base salaries of roughly $45,000, $70,000, and $110,000, respectively). 

However, cutting labor costs isn’t about downsizing the workforce. Rather, it’s about increasing labor efficiency. “You’re capped on how much product you can produce due to how much labor you have and how much product you can create with the square footage,” Brassell explains.

But as you start to scale and add more space and workers, communication and organization tends to break down, causing the entire operation to lose efficiency. This leads to:

  • Missed work. Every step in the cultivation process impacts the final product. If a task isn’t completed on time, whether because of miscommunication, disorganization, or something else, the quality of the plants suffers.
  • Unhealthy dynamics and churn. When the cultivation runs inefficiently, it places greater stress on the workers, from new hires all the way up to directors. Constant frustration can cause friction and negative feedback loops, which drive employees to quit.  

The longer this cycle of inefficiency, missed work, and frustration continues, the more likely you are to not only lose key talent but also — in worst-case scenarios — go out of business entirely. 

The good news, though, is that the right cannabis-growing software can help keep you organized as you grow, preventing miscommunication and missed work. 

3 Pillars of Labor Efficiency

When adjusting a cultivation’s systems and choosing cannabis-growing software for more efficient operations, Brassell identifies three “pillars” of labor efficiency. These are:
Planning. Success starts with a solid foundation. You need a plan, not just for how your cultivation will operate moving forward but also how you will set expectations for employees.

Higher Yields Consulting How to Cut Labor Costs & Increase Efficiency With Cannabis-Growing Software
  • Communication. Once you’ve set expectations, you need to communicate those expectations and check in regularly to ensure they’re being met. That way, employees know when they’ve done well and when they’ve missed the mark and need to do things differently in the future.
  • Standardization. Just as you need standardized processes for your daily operations, you also need standardized communication. Consistency in when, where, and how you communicate with your employees not only saves time but also prevents key details from getting lost or forgotten. 

According to Brassell, “All you can control is how efficient your workers are, how motivated they are, and how much expertise that they have within their given workload within the cultivation.” Some labor costs — like headcount, costs associated with the wider cannabis market, and to an extent, turnover — are out of your hands.

Digital Tools for Cultivation Optimization

When choosing cannabis-growing software or other digital tools for your cultivation, functionality and ease of use are key. That’s why Brassell says Planacan prioritized building a product that would make growers’ lives as easy as possible. 

“We took the opinion of, ‘Let’s build something that growers want to use every single day, that’s really easy to onboard, that’ll help them know what to do and when to do it, and that’ll be easy to manage as things change,’” he says.

With automated scheduling, the ability to attach standard operating procedures (SOPs) to tasks for ease of reference, and much more, Planacan’s cannabis-growing software is built for maximum efficiency. This increases quality control and productivity while preventing bottlenecks in transmitting information. 

“A cultivation in Oregon was actually able to reduce their workforce based on the application making things so efficient for them,” Brassell says. Instead of doubling their workforce to double their canopy, the cultivation was able to segment their grows and have their workers focus on specific tasks. 

This level of efficiency is also a game changer for multi-state operators (MSOs). Having all that information stored in one place gives MSOs a top-down view of what’s going on in each location and makes it simple to share SOPs and IP between cultivations without having to recreate schedules or lists. 

Choosing the Best Cannabis-Growing Software

Ultimately, the best cannabis-growing software — or tool in general — is one people genuinely want to use. “The only way ownership and key stakeholders are going to get value from a given platform and ultimately increase efficiency, is if everyone in the grow is actually using the product,” Brassell concludes.

Prioritize choosing a quality product that truly makes your day-to-day operations easier, and your labor costs will naturally decrease at the same time. 
For more information about optimizing your cultivation for maximum yield, choosing the right cannabis-growing software, and growing a successful cannabusiness, connect with us on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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