Insects, powdery mildew, mites, over-watering, theft, spray damage, airy colas, low potency, high costs, weighing errors, nutrient deficiencies, low yields and, of course, messages left by regulators. These are the challenges every farmer must address, as well as the only real question is are they going to address them before they happen or after they sneak up and surprise everyone?
Risk management is the technique of avoiding surprises and mitigating those which do occur. Its goal is ensuring a shop can run regardless of the circumstances and no matter who may be on the floor. No matter who developed the cultivation process, the operation depends on everyone following that process right down to the specifics. In a high turnover labor market, ensuring consistency and preventing errors is really a challenge that standard operating procedures (SOPs) are especially well-designed to meet.
SOPs describe the facts of each and every task performed within the operation right down to the hand-washing manual. If that causes you to chuckle, realize that hospitals still post hand-washing procedures today, so that should inform us something about what must be done to obtain a message across and keep it in the front of the staff’s mind while they hustle through their day.
SOPs are an education and communication tool that enables a complete operation to learn the process and discuss it with other individuals to keep things running efficiently. The payback is blessed, mind-numbing calm and confidence in operations, in addition to a better financial well being.
Far More Than Plants
When people consider SOPs they generally think on how to mix nutrients or take cuttings. Those procedures do form the bulk of an SOP package, but the most significant SOPs have nothing to do with plants, but everything to do with effective management.
SOPs contain all of the parameters that control plant growth. Lacking them on hand when starting facility selection and design is sort of a coach walking on the sidelines without a strategy.
The foundational SOP for all of us is workflow and schedule since it describes what plants move from where, to where, when and also by whom. Workflow also outlines each of the tasks involved in growing plants. Add plant size to the discussion and you can predict plant capacity, yield potential and labor demand, which makes workflow a pretty powerful business tool.
After investing in a revenue engine such as this, the engine must be protected, and the most crucial protection it deserves originates from the operators themselves. Change (and not small change) is typical inside the cannabis SOPs, and change opens the door to mistakes, so managing it is crucial. A solid business case helps make change-driven decisions, and detailed planning and implementation by management ensures revenue won’t skip a beat.
Feedback characterizes how well a process will be performed, which information is the cornerstone for handling the process. Yield, percent of cuttings that root out, pest pressure, plant kills due to disease and the like offer an objective look at the operation’s health, good, bad or ugly.
Education is not really usually thought of as a kind of protection, yet it is, because it protects against false facts and sloppy thinking. The better common knowledge you have, the less stress there is between people since they can communicate in a common tongue. That tongue is placed down in the SOPs.
The foundational SOP for all of us is workflow and schedule since it describes what plants move from which, to where, when and also by whom.
As noted above, the bulk of an SOP package consists of task descriptions identified inside the workflow, such as: take cuttings, sanitize trays, perform apical pinch and assign work schedules. Understanding each step in mzjexy tasks as well as the best way to control the variables in them will be the foundation for developing an effective SOP.
That seemingly large chore may be organized utilizing a technique used developing service diagnostics for printers. All the moving parts within a printer are like variables in a task. Examine all of the moving parts (variables) inside the task and get of each, “what if this slows down, wobbles or stops … what goes on for the output?” Should you don’t like the answer you come up with, that is a part, or variable, you will need to pay attention to and manage. Evaluate which has to be done to keep your part from slowing down, wobbling or stopping, and document those steps in the SOP.
Carrying this out with all the countless tasks associated with cultivation produces a mountain of data that needs to be reviewed, assembled and tested for accuracy. However when that is certainly done, the end result is definitely the current “how-to” guide for the operation. Be sure you include regulations and worker-safety tasks inside your SOPs; they move, too.
Indeed, there is absolutely no value to SOPs that take a seat on a shelf. SOPs are an organizing tool and, when used actively to educate people, they can have a powerful effect.