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Guest Post: Streamlining Wholesale Purchasing for NJ Cannabis Dispensaries

As the New Jersey cannabis industry grows, lean operating is critical to success. Streamlining wholesale purchasing is a great way to reduce costs and helps maintain cash on hand.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how great your sales might be if your operating expenses are through the roof. Streamlining wholesale cannabis purchasing combines old-school practices like relationship management with novel technologies and Business 2 Business (B2B) services. No matter how you cut it, a well-developed inventory and purchasing program at your dispensary will increase efficiency and improve customer satisfaction. These elements can provide stability in the volatile waters of the New Jersey cannabis market. 

Develop Inventory & Purchasing Standard Operating Procedures

Getting organized is the first step in streamlining your wholesale purchasing. Creating Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will ensure inventory and purchasing activities in an organization are organized and choreographed. No matter the size of your business, SOPs increase efficiency in the supply chain.

Important things to include in your wholesale ordering SOPs include:

  • Stock management
  • Product replenishment
  • Order fulfillment
  • Reorder points
  • Vendor communication
  • Stockouts & overstock situations
  • Quality control

SOPs change over time with new product demands and novel business technologies.

Implement Strong Employee Training

With your SOPs as blueprints, you can create uniform processes with inventory and ordering that reduce errors and increase efficiency. Proper training also makes it easier to delegate wholesale ordering duties to the appropriate team members when needed.

Since cannabis is a highly regulated industry, small errors with product counts could have major legal implications for dispensaries. Ordering errors can also result in being out of stock and New Jersey cannabis consumers leaving unhappy.

Developing Good Relationships with Vendors 

Developing strong relationships with your key vendors is a good idea. Whether it be an extract manufacturer or commercial grower, communication, transparency, and commitment to quality are all important elements of a fruitful vendor partnership. Properly managing your vendor relationships can lead to exclusive deals and priority access to new products.

Having strong vendor relationships also puts a business owner in a stronger position to negotiate better terms. If a New Jersey cannabis dispensary does high-volume sales, it could ask for bulk ordering discounts on best-selling products. Relationships based on trust can also pave the way for more flexible payment options, such as NET 30 terms.

Formalize New Jersey Cannabis Dispensary Inventory Management

Robust inventory management is the foundation of an efficient wholesale operation. Inventory management procedures should be laid out in your SOPs so employees know how to handle products. A lack of organization with inventory can lead to significant issues.

No matter the size of a New Jersey cannabis dispensary, it should utilize inventory tracking software that provides real-time data on product levels, sales trends, and popular items.

Utilize Wholesale Ordering Technology 

As seen in virtually every aspect of the cannabis business, new technologies can help improve the ordering process. Modern Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms like LeafLink allow for streamlined communication between dispensaries and each one of their vendors. Such platforms allow dispensaries to order their favorite cannabis products from a central hub.

It can be tough to keep shelves stocked and deal with cash flow in business when forced to juggle ordering with confusing and rudimentary tools.

Work with a Wholesale Delivery Service Provider  

In certain state markets, you also have the option to partner with a wholesale delivery service provider.

When customers walk into a dispensary, they expect their favorite products to be available. But when forced to rely on wholesale vendors delivering products on their schedules, it can be tough to avoid running out of quality New Jersey cannabis products.

In contrast, wholesale delivery service providers like Scarlet Express will pick up orders from vendors and deliver them straight to your dispensary. Working with a 3rd party provider allows one company to handle all deliveries according to a set calendar. It can give a New Jersey cannabis dispensary owner more control over inventory and frees a team from the hassle of taking deliveries multiple times a week.

Prioritizing Compliance

The New Jersey cannabis market has unique laws that regulate who can legally transport wholesale quantities of cannabis.

So dispensary owners should be sure their chosen inventory software integrates with your state-mandated seed-to-sale software, such as METRC vs BioTrack.

Give your team regular training updates on the latest compliance protocols in the New Jersey cannabis market. The cannabis industry is always changing, and slacking with compliance practices could lead to serious problems.

While your SOPs should help keep your business compliant, refreshers on inventory, ordering, sales, and tracking are never bad.

In the dynamic landscape of the New Jersey cannabis industry, dispensaries must continually adapt and refine their wholesale purchasing methods to remain competitive. By staying organized, training employees, building relationships, and leveraging technology, dispensaries can maximize their wholesale purchasing power and ensure sustained success. Even better, taking these steps will make it easier to grow the business. When your cannabis business grows, you will be ready to seize the day and expand.

By Claudia Post

About the Author

Claudia Post is an entrepreneur, pioneer groundbreaker, speaker, generous introducer, and power connector. Having recognized cannabis as the next frontier 13 years ago, she founded MOST Consulting Group. It is a one-stop shop for cannabis businesses. She provides marketing, advertising, design, and strategy for the cannabis industry.

Post founded Diamond Transportation Group, a same-day, time-critical delivery service twenty years ago. She launched it at her dining room table with four people. Post then opened up twelve warehouses across the East Coast and provided trucking, pick-pack-ship, chain of custody, logistics, supply chain, and a variety of other services to her clients.

From her humble beginnings, she grew to 12 locations, and it became a multi-million-dollar company. Post has a local, regional, and national presence. She is a noted subject matter expert in transportation and logistics. With her expertise in transportation, she founded Scarlet Express, a state-approved, closed-loop delivery service that provides discreet, secure, and expert cannabis supply chain management in every state.

(Full disclosure Heady NJ has a marketing deal with the MOST Consulting Group.)

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