Running a marijuana dispensary or grow facility requires being able to wear many hats. Managers have to split their attention between inventory, compliance, employee productivity, and many other areas.
Flowhub is able to streamline many of these scattered responsibilities. Their business management tools have been specifically engineered with the cannabis industry in mind.
Flowhub’s Founder and CEO, Kyle Sherman, entered the cannabis industry in 2014 when he started working in Dixie’s marketing department, one of the most recognized edibles producers. He then joined Weedmaps’ creative marketing team before turning his attention toward compliance. “I was really frustrated with the lack of tools that were available,” he said of the compliance and inventory management software at the time. “They really weren’t going to let the industry scale up.”
Sherman started developing software that would automatically upload data directly from dispensary computers to state regulators. By 2016, he was working on his POS platform and launched a beta version of Flowhub later that year.
The market has quickly responded and Flowhub was able to do serious business in 2017. “We have about 45% market share in Colorado,” Sherman said. “We powered the largest retailers in the country.”
With so many services designed to make life easier for managers and operators, it is easy to see why Flowhub has quickly become so popular. For starters, Flowhub can keep a shop in compliance, which can keep the doors open.
“You don’t get many chances with regulators,” Sherman said while discussing the importance of compliance.
If you run a bakery and sell too many cookies to one person, you are not likely to face legal trouble. But sell someone more marijuana than the law allows, and you could lose your license to operate or find yourself with criminal charges.
Flowhub’s software can help ensure that it never comes down to that. It is synced with local regulations and purchase limits to ensure that patients and customers cannot be sold more than is legally permitted. Data is automatically sent to regulators through the Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance (METRC) system.
METRC is a seed-to-sale tracking system used by regulatory agencies in multiple states including California, Colorado, and Nevada. METRC tracks all cannabis products from licensed facilities with unique labels and barcodes. Immature plants and seeds are assigned a METRC tag and can be tracked from the time they are in a grow operation to when they are finally sold by a retailer. The system is seen as a crucial aspect of industry transparency and provides state regulators with a real tool to ensure compliance.
“Our understanding of METRC and the workflows that retailers deal with every day is a really powerful part of our platform and why people choose us,” Sherman explained.
Compliance may be the most important aspect of running a dispensary, but proper inventory and employee management can also be the difference between a thriving business and having to shut down.
Flowhub’s Activity Log syncs with the METRC tags and can be synced with a shop’s security cameras.
“You can see all the changes that are being made in the system in real time across your entire supply chain,” Sherman explained.
If a product is moved from a storage area and onto shelves you would see that logged into your system right away. This reduces the chances of inventory being stolen.
Flowhub offers another service that can reduce internal theft. While most budtenders in the industry are honest, there are stories of employees handing out hefty discounts to friends. On many POS software systems, discounts must be entered manually by the budtenders. Flowhub’s POS system offers an option for managers to automate discounts. Additional discounts can still be given out, but budtenders have to seek permission from a supervisor.
While Flowhub provides great solutions to streamline a shop’s operations behind the counter, it can also influence a customer’s first impression. As the acceptance of commercialized marijuana increases, more shops are regularly opening. This provides customers and patients with alternative options. So if they walk in and long lines and big crowds turn them off, money literally could walk out of a shop.
Flowhub has developed the NUG, a handheld device that can help speed up several processes for serving customers without making them feel rushed. For anyone who has visited a marijuana dispensary, you typically have to fill out a stack of paperwork. The NUG has the ability to scan state-issued IDs as well as medical recommendations and automatically add customers and patients to the shop’s computer system much quicker than handing out clipboards, pens, and hoping customers and patients fill out their documents accurately. It can also be used to quickly check in returning customers.
“Our whole goal is to eliminate pen and paper,” Sherman said.
The NUG will also track how long a customer has been in the shop. If a manager notices a customer waiting around for a while, they can instruct a staff member to provide direct assistance or even go behind the counter and serve customers themselves. Since the NUG uses cell phone networks, a manager can keep an eye on their shop even if they are not physically at the location.
But what good is all of this fancy technology if it can go down with spotty internet service? The NUG also functions as an LTE hotspot and can keep your whole system operational in case of an outage.
Flowhub offers another great service that can help make your shop a go-to destination: cashless payments. Working in conjunction with CannaPay, Flowhub’s POS system is equipped to process cashless payments with debit cards. Not only does this offer a convenient service for customers and patients, it also helps shops take in more revenue. If a shopper takes out $40 from an ATM, then that is going to be their budget. But what if a shopper notices an item that will run them a few dollars more? They are not likely to go back to the ATM, get charged another fee, and make the purchase. If they have the option to spend a few dollars more through their debit card, there is a much greater chance they will make the purchase.
“Every one of our customers that has implemented our cashless payment solutions with CannaPay has seen an increase in revenue.”