What’s Better for Dispensaries: Manual Record Keeping or Management Software?

07/31/2017 11:01 am ET

As cannabis sales continue to garner legalization status across the United States, more and more dispensaries are “cropping” up. Some are well-equipped to deal with the surge of customers and orders they’ll receive; others are ill-equipped and really struggle to keep up with demand. When you enter a dispensary, it will be clear which camp they belong to.

But what makes some dispensaries fail while others are flourishing? One factor that I’ve found can separate a productive, successful dispensary from those that fall to the wayside is the use (or lack of use) of specialized dispensary management software.

“Dispensaries are small, but they require serious decision-making, which is a bit difficult if there is no management software. Yet, for a self-sufficient software system, you need accurate implementation at every stage. In today’s computerized environment, it is impossible to imagine a dispensary without a reliable, efficient and cost-effective system, which is the backbone of success for any operation.” - Jeremy O’Keefe, CEO & Founder, Yobi

Dispensary management software is the cornerstone of a successful cannabis dispensary for 4 reasons: It enables the dispensary to track and analyze orders over time, increase order accuracy, improve revenue management and decision-making, and keep data secure. Manual record keeping just isn’t conducive to these efforts in this digital age. Here’s why.

Track and analyze orders

Manual record keeping: You could possibly keep tabs on past orders to track and analyze their averages and differences over time when you keep manual records, but unless you’re extremely organized in your record-keeping, it won’t be as helpful because of human errors that will naturally occur. That could leave you open to lawsuits and noncompliance issues.

Dispensary management software: A system like this is really the only way to ensure 100% accuracy and avoid potential lawsuits and noncompliance issues. The ability to track and analyze orders over time makes management software more attractive than manual record keeping to most dispensary owners.

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Point-of-Sale

Manual record keeping: When a customer approaches the counter at a dispensary that keeps manual records, the associate will be lost as to what strain, category, and average order amount of the customer usually prefers. It prevents the associate from suggesting similar items the customer might enjoy or engaging an easy upsell. With manual record keeping, dispensary employees will be in the dark when customers approach the counter.

Dispensary management software: Veteran-owned Yobi, one of the only dispensary management software companies to be approved by non-cannabis angel groups, allows dispensary associates to access a wealth of information about the customer at the point of sale, including: Average ticket amount, common strain choice, product type and category, and a list of the customer’s most recent orders and purchases. That makes upselling easy and increases the odds of retaining a loyal customer.

Revenue management

Manual record keeping: So much capital goes in and out of a dispensary that it’s notoriously difficult to manually keep track of revenue and expenses. Even with the best intentions, it’s easy to make mistakes in calculating and tracking revenue that can send a dispensary off track.

Dispensary management software: Revenue management is critical since a huge amount of capital is required to run a medical center, and it is challenging to track using a manual system. A management system made per the dispensary’s requirements and needs can solve this problem easily.

Data security

Manual record keeping: Dispensaries that rely on manual systems are much more vulnerable to data leakage and theft. Manual records = paper records, and if information is on paper, it’s at risk of theft. This is the same reason healthcare institutions and organizations have been making the switch to digitalization over the years: To improve data security.

Dispensary management software: An automated management system keeps all information exchanged on the system secure from unauthorized access. No important, identifying information is on paper to be stolen, shredded, or misplaced. However, it is still important to install an up-to-date system with centralized controls and fail-safes should the inevitable occur.

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