Kudos for Acumatica: Champion ERP and MaxQ’s Solution Platform of Choice

MaxQ chose Acumatica ERP as the platform on which to build advanced business solutions because of its modern cloud-based design, integrated architecture, comprehensive feature set, user-friendly interface, advanced automation capabilities, and more.

It is therefore satisfying to see these same qualities recognized and validated by analysts and product reviewers in their evaluations of Acumatica.

Among the sterling reviews Acumatica received this year, PC Magazine UK  found Acumatica to be best in class, with the reviewer giving Acumatica a rating of “Excellent” as well as the Editors’ Choice Award.

The PC Magazine review found that “Acumatica’s intuitive design, enterprise scalability, and flexible pricing model help make Acumatica an excellent choice for enterprise resource planning, general ledger accounting, and inventory management.” 

Acumatica’s browser-based user experience (UX), said the review, “is excellent, with a feature-rich environment accessible via an intuitive user interface (UI).”

Top of the Leaderboard

Nucleus Research also found Acumatica to be a top-tier ERP leader in its recently released “ERP Technology Value Matrix” report. The report placed Acumatica atop the Leaders quadrant and praised Acumatica’s continuing refinement of its platform, finding that “high usability and flexibility are at the center of Acumatica’s development philosophy” as it continues to add features and automate processes.

Acumatica, said the report, “continues to lead the way in usability, serving several industry verticals, including commerce, manufacturing, and field service.” Nucleus also gave Acumatica accolades for its responsiveness to customers and focus on providing rich mobile capabilities.

Nucleus found that Acumatica’s latest version, released in September, “is bringing a host of incremental improvements to each of its vertical solutions focused on increasing customer satisfaction.”

Acumatica Shines at Summit 2018

IDC attended Acumatica’s Summit 2018 and spoke with company executives and customers. In its report on the Summit, IDC gave Acumatica high marks for its technology and customer satisfaction, finding that Acumatica has added “a significant number of new features and functionality with the release of Acumatica 2018 R1.” Based on interviews with Acumatica customers, IDC said it believed “Acumatica is well aligned with the market in terms of added features, channel momentum, and strategic road map updates.”

Like PC Magazine and Nucleus Research, IDC praised Acumatica for listening to its customers and making improvements to the Acumatica ERP platform based on customer feedback. Acumatica, said IDC, “took great effort to incorporate customer feedback into 2018 R1 even down to relatively small details like reducing the number of clicks while building a report in the financial suite.” This, said IDC, represents a granular level of focus on both customers and technology that will continue to help advance growth quickly.

IDC found that the value Acumatica was providing to its customers was reflected in its excellent revenue and growth numbers, including 144% net-new revenue growth while reaching the 4,000-customer mark in 2017. In addition, said IDC, Acumatica saw 90% year-over-year growth from its parent channel, indicating “building momentum and energy related to its solution.”

Exclusive Club

A report by Mint Jutras, a research and advisory firm that specializes in evaluating ERP solutions, found Acumatica to be an outstanding solution, citing four key elements that significantly differentiate Acumatica from its competitors:

  • The ability to access the solution from anywhere, on any device.
  • A flexible deployment model, allowing the customer to choose public cloud, private cloud or licensed on premise.
  • Modern consumption-based licensing meant to be affordable and inclusive of all designated employees as well as key customers and partners.
  • A connected cloud platform that aids in extending the solution without creating islands of automation.

As Mint Jutras noted, while there are vendors that can make a similar claim for one of these differentiators, “if we combine all four, Acumatica is indeed in a class all by itself.”

MaxQ + Acumatica = Unbeatable Value

Acumatica’s openness and flexibility have enabled MaxQ to create a framework on which we are able to extend the value of Acumatica and tailor solutions to specific industries and applications.

MaxQ solutions built on the Acumatica framework include Advanced Revenue Management, Advanced Billing, Inventory Management, and a Cannabis Management Solution that can handle the most demanding needs of large-scale cannabis manufacturers.

For all the reasons noted by the analysts and reviewers above, MaxQ’s many satisfied customers would agree that a MaxQ solution based on Acumatica offers outstanding value. To see what all the fuss is about, we invite you to see firsthand what a MaxQ Acumatica solution could do for your business.

MaxQ is a provider of advanced Acumatica business solutions across a wide range of applications and industriesContact us to learn more about how MaxQ for Acumatica solutions can help your business.

 


As Legalization Looms, Canadian Cannabis Players Make Moves

With recreational cannabis on the brink of becoming legal in Canada, major Canadian cannabis companies are making strategic moves to strengthen their positions.

While the Canadian market for recreational cannabis will be sizable, big Canadian cannabis producers like Aurora Cannabis, Canopy Growth Corp., Tilray, and Aphria are positioning to become leading suppliers of cannabis products worldwide.

Cannabis being illegal on the federal level has hampered the industry’s growth in the U.S., whereas Canadian cannabis ventures have benefited from the support of the Canadian government.

“Our government embraces us, and we are seeing a boom in entrepreneurism in this industry,” said Rob Anderson, the former CEO of The Green Organic Dutchman (TGOD).

The cannabis-friendly environment has led to Canada become an international cannabis hub and a hotbed of cannabis cultivation and investment. “Weed is to Canada what Silicon Valley is to the U.S. We will see a lot more money flowing in,” said Jason Spatafora, co-founder of Marijuanastocks.com.

The New York Times echoed this view, asserting that “a financial boom not seen since the dot-com mania of the late 1990s has overtaken Canada.”

TGOD Wheeling and Dealing

Among the Canadian cannabis ventures making waves, The Green Organic Dutchman (TGOD) has received kudos from analysts for “executing flawlessly.” An organic-only business strategy and series of shrewd deals has helped catapult TGOD to the top tier of cannabis ventures in a short span of time.

In June 2018, TGOD announced that it had created a new global division to focus on the beverage industry. To execute this plan, TGOD is building a 40,000-square-foot state-of-the-art research and development facility and a 287,245-square foot cultivation facility capable of producing 40,000 kilograms of premium organic cannabis for its beverages.

To create cannabis-infused beverages, TGOD entered into an exclusive agreement with Stillwater Brands to license its RIPPLE SC (Soluble Cannabinoids) and other food and beverage technologies. RIPPLE SC makes it easier to infuse CBD oils into beverages and edibles.

TGOD also acquired HemPoland, a leading European manufacturer and marketer of premium organic CBD oils. Technical 420 called this acquisition “a game changer,” noting that HemPoland provides TGOD with a European gateway with distribution channels to over 750 million people and sales in more than 700 locations across 13 countries.

Power Cost Gambit

In a previous post, we discussed the critical importance of minimizing cannabis production costs as cannabis prices continue to decline. TGOD has devised a clever strategy to minimize power costs, which is, as US News relates, a major cost factor in growing cannabis.

To reduce its power costs to a fraction of what its competitors pay, TGOD has entered into partnerships with provincial power suppliers. A partnership with Hamilton Utility Corp. has enabled TGOD to reduce its power cost from 13 cents per kilowatt hour to less than 5 cents at its Hamilton, Ontario, facility. A partnership with Eaton Corp. is enabling TGOD to obtain power at 75% less than its competitors. At its Quebec plant, TGOD is paying less than 4 cents per kilowatt hour.

All of these moves have enabled TGOD to position itself as a platform to launch cannabinoid-infused food and beverage products globally as new markets legalize. As equities.com notes, this puts TGOD in a prime spot as more large-scale beverage and alcohol companies enter the market.

Aurora Roars

Another Canadian player making big moves is Aurora Cannabis, which in January took a 17.6% stake in TGOD with an option to increase its share to 51%. Aurora made news earlier this year by acquiring MedRelief for $2.5 billion in what Reuters called “the biggest deal yet to unify major Canadian cannabis growers.” The MedRelief acquisition followed on the heels of Aurora’s acquisition of CanniMed for $890 million, which made Aurora “the biggest pot producer, by market value, in the world.”

Aurora also expanded its cannabis production capability with the opening of two new state-of-the-art cannabis production facilities–Aurora Sky, capable of producing 8,000 kilograms of cannabis per month, and Aurora Vie in Montreal, capable of producing 4,000 kilograms per year.

To optimize its customer experience, Aurora inked a deal with Shopify to revamp its e-commerce platform, a move that will help Aurora sell its cannabis wares globally as legalization continues to spread. Canopy Growth and Hydropothecary also have employed Shopify e-commerce platforms to sell to medical patients.

Acting Locally and Globally

As Technical 420 notes, while the Canadian recreational market is a big opportunity for the cannabis producers, the global market represents an even more significant opportunity. This is why the major Canadian cannabis producers are taking a two-pronged approach by establishing production plants and retail outlets within Canada while expanding their reach beyond Canada into worldwide markets.

In an August post, we described how Canadian cannabis producers and alcohol distributers were making deals to establish cannabis retail outlets for the recreational market. Cronos Group has taken a similar route by forging an agreement with MedMen to establish retail stores for the recreational market in Canada.

To beef up its retail presence, Canopy Growth Corp. acquired Hiku Brands, which sells a number of leading cannabis brands and operates retail outlets in provinces throughout Canada.  Canopy Growth also extended its footprint in South America beyond Brazil and Chile by forging a deal with Spectrum Cannabis Columbia.

Aphria also made a move to expand into Latin America and the Caribbean by acquiring Scythian Biosciences Corp.’s  Latin American and Caribbean assets. The deal gives Aphria exposure to more than 300 million people in Colombia, Argentina, and Jamaica.

Aurora Cannabis obtained a 51% stake in Aurora Nordic that will help extend its reach into Scandinavian and broader European markets. Aurora Nordic has a license to produce cannabis in Denmark, which Aurora said will give the company a major advantage as one of few companies with a license to cultivate in Europe. Aurora has forged a number of international deals, including agreements to supply medical cannabis to Germany, Italy, and Australia.

Getting Listed

This past February, Cronos Group became the first cannabis company to be listed on Nasdaq in the United States. In May, Canopy Growth became the first cannabis company to list on the New York Stock Exchange. At the same time, liquor giant Constellation Brands invested $4 billion in Canopy Growth.

Tilray became the third cannabis stock to be listed on a U.S. stock exchange when it joined Nasdaq in July. Tilray went even further by being the first pure-play marijuana company to go public on a major U.S. exchange. Tilray grows Cannabis in Canada and Portugal and distributes medical cannabis products in 10 countries, including Australia, Canada, and Germany.

If Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy is correct, the cannabis companies focusing on creating cannabis-infused beverages are on the right path. Kennedy said he sees a future in which only 10% of cannabis will be smoked, with the 90% lion’s share being consumed as cannabis beverages. “Instead of alcohol, they’ll have cannabis,” said Kennedy. “And they’ll have a low, or no-calorie product with no hangover.”

As the maker of the most modern, integrated, and scalable cannabis manufacturing solution, MaxQ has deep cannabis industry expertise. Contact us to learn more about the latest trends and management solutions in the cannabis manufacturing industry. 


Hemp Makes Legal Comeback as CBD Oil Demand Surges

“Reversal of fortune” is the perfect way to describe the legal and economic comeback of the hemp plant in the United States. Banned and abandoned by farmers for decades in the U.S., the legal resurgence of hemp coincides with an exploding demand for CBD oil, which is fueling what is being called a hemp gold rush.

The ability to grow and sell hemp legally also promises a reversal of fortune for farmers across the United States, including cannabis growers in states in which oversupply is squeezing margins and driving growers out of business.

Hemp also represents new revenue opportunities for marijuana manufacturers, which already have the know-how and infrastructure in place to extract CBD oil from hemp. Marijuana manufacturers could easily add hemp to their product lines, either growing hemp themselves or serving as the processing plants for the many hemp farms sprouting up across the country, or both.

Hemp Rebound

Hemp has a long history as a versatile plant with a great many uses. In the U.S., hemp was a lucrative and widely cultivated plant before it was declared illegal by the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937. Hemp made a brief legal comeback during World War II before being banned again. Even though it has been illegal to grow hemp in the U.S., it has been legal to import it.

Hemp’s current comeback stems from the 2014 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp growing in the U.S. in the form of state supervised research programs. The 2014 Farm Bill gave each state the power to set the parameters for their hemp programs.

Today, 39 states allow industrial hemp cultivation, meaning hemp with less than 0.3% THC content by weight. Some states only allow academic research, while others allow growing, marketing, and selling hemp and hemp-extracted CBD oil.

Hemp’s full legal comeback is on the verge of becoming a reality with the U.S. Senate passing the 2018 Farm Bill, which includes the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. The bill removes hemp from being designated as a controlled substance, legalizes the plant under federal law, and allows CBD to be sold legally in all 50 states.

As Canagreed reports, the legalization of hemp would open the floodgates for investment and market development. With the medical benefits of CBD fueling the demand, a host of industries are launching efforts to bring CBD drugs, beverages, edibles, and lotions to market.

Hemp Image Rehab

Hemp, which has for decades been lumped together with marijuana and stigmatized, is now being hailed as a “supercrop” and a savior for farmers across America. Republican leadership, which has been among the staunchest opponents of legalizing cannabis, has become a major hemp industry booster, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

As High Country News notes, conservative politicians from Oregon to Alaska are increasingly championing hemp “as a potential lifeline for struggling rural communities.”

States Embrace Hemp

The hemp movement is gaining momentum in states from coast to coast. Bob Crumley, president of Founder’s Hemp, expects hemp to be a $1 billion industry in North Carolina, surpassing the state’s $800 million tobacco crop. Nevada, Vermont, and Wisconsin also are hotbeds of hemp growing activity.

The Buffalo News describes how hemp is taking off in New York State, where more than 60 farms and businesses have received hemp research permits as part of a state pilot program. The Des Moines Standard describes how Iowa farmers are itching to grow hemp, a plant that was once widely farmed in the state. Oklahoma farmers also are bullish on growing hemp.

Hemp is seen as the salvation of cannabis farmers who have been suffering from declining cannabis prices. Reports describe how cannabis growers in Oregon are turning to hemp as cannabis prices continue to plummet and the demand for CBD oil explodes.

Hemp CBD Market Trajectory

Many industry observers believe the hemp CBD market will be huge. Among them is the Brightfield Group, which believes “the hemp CBD market is going to skyrocket and is here to stay.”

The Brightfield Group says its forecast of a $22 billion hemp CBD market by 2022 is conservative and is based on interviews with hundreds of people in the industry, surveys of thousands of consumers, and analysis of millions of data points.

According to U.S. News, CBD oil commands thousands of dollars per kilogram, and farmers can make more than $100,000 an acre growing hemp plants to produce CBD oil.

“Word on the street is everybody thinks hemp’s the new gold rush,” said said Jerrad McCord, a farmer who grows marijuana in Oregon.

The promise that people see in hemp is reflected in the many new hemp ventures, commissions, and societies that are sprouting as fast as the plant itself. Among those leading the charge is Shane Davis, an evangelist for hempenomics, the idea that hemp “can create massive streams of revenue, liberate communities, and create economies.”

As the maker of the most modern, integrated, and scalable cannabis manufacturing solution, MaxQ has deep cannabis industry expertise. Contact us to learn more about the latest trends and management solutions in the cannabis manufacturing industry. 

 


What’s So Special About Power BI?

In previous blogs we showed how businesses were benefiting from Power BI in ways that were not possible previously.

What makes Power BI such a revolutionary analytical solution are  technology innovations that were introduced in Excel.

As Gil Raviv notes, Power BI, Excel, and SQL Server Analysis Services share the same analytics engine, Power Pivot, which was introduced as the PowerPivot add-in to Excel 2010. Power Pivot, says Raviv, is “a game changer in self-service BI.”

High-Performance Engine

Power Pivot is based on an in-memory technology called VertiPaq, which arranges data into columns and compresses it to speed performance. In-memory computing speeds processing by storing data in RAM rather than on slower-performing disks.

As Microsoft explains, Power Pivot is a data modeling tool that works hand in hand with Power Query, a data extraction and transformation engine that began life as Data Explorer. Power Query enables you to discover, import, and merge data from any number of sources, while Power Pivot enables you to model, manipulate, and operate on the data you have imported.

Power Query can be embedded in Excel or the Power BI Desktop, and the tool can load a data set into an Excel spreadsheet or into Power Pivot for data modelling.

Power BI Ecosystem

The story gets even better. The tight integration between Power BI and Excel, which extends to Azure, Office 365, SQL Server, and other Microsoft technologies, creates an ecosystem that makes Power BI a flexible and formidable analytical tool.

Power BI and Excel also share the Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) language, which can be used to create formulas to operate on your data. DAX runs on top of the VertiPaq engine, whose official name is the “xVelocity in-memory Analytical Engine.”

You can apply DAX formulas to columns of data to perform calculations. For example, you can use DAX to calculate anticipated sales based on a percentage increase over last year’s sales, or to calculate sales rank or customer rank by sales. You also can perform time analysis functions such as year-to-date sales, actual sales vs. targeted sales, and current sales.

Automating Analyses

Power BI provides a host of features to simplify and speed up analytical operations. You can use Calculated Columns, which are formulas that are applied to joined columns of data. For example, you can calculate profits by joining sales and costs columns.

You also can use Measures, which are formulas that are applied dynamically to perform calculations as you interact with your reports. Measures are typically used to calculate aggregations such as average sales amount or average sales by region.

You can use Power BI to track your business’s sales and marketing performance by creating key performance indicators (KPIs) that enable you to evaluate the current value and status of a metric against a defined target. The KPIs can be updated automatically and the data can be visualized for easy understanding.

You also can use Power BI’s Quick Insights feature to evoke a machine learning engine that will instantly apply algorithms to your data sets to discover hidden insights such as correlations, outliers, and trends.

Data Visualization

Another core strength of Power BI is the tool’s data visualization capability.  As Gil Raviv notes, Microsoft built an HTML 5 compliant visualization engine for Power BI that can slice and dice data in any direction and provide visualizations of the results.

Besides enabling a myriad of visualizations out of the box, Power BI has a library of custom visualizations users can draw upon. This highlights another strength of Power BI: the large and growing user community that contributes to the ongoing innovation centered on Power BI as it evolves.

Advanced Analytics

Power BI accommodates a wide spectrum of users, enabling novice users to work at a basic level, while enabling more sophisticated users to work within the Power BI Desktop to employ formulas and perform complex calculations and analyses.

Power BI enables small and mid-size organizations to gain the advantages of advanced analytics that were beyond their scope in the past. This includes visualizing predictive analytics that can employed using Power BI linked to Microsoft Azure Machine Learning.

Predictive analytics can be used to optimize marketing and sales initiatives, such as predicting how customers will respond to new products, as well as helping to identify the best channels and messaging for campaigns. Machine learning can help identify potential customers, personalize marketing approaches, predict customer churn, and much more.

Real-Time Analytics

As Microsoft explains, Power BI also lets you access real-time information, which can be used to identify trends, optimize pricing, and take advantage of market opportunities that arise. Power BI and Azure Steam Analytics can be combined to create real-time IoT dashboards for monitoring sensors. Uses include tracking and monitoring instruments, devices, packages, greenhouse environments, market fluctuations, and real-time monitoring of machinery data streams that can be analyzed to predict failure.

Microsoft has done an excellent job of making it easy and affordable for non-technical users and power users to gain the benefits of enterprise-grade analytics. And with the continual contributions of the Power BI community, the story grows better day by day.

MaxQ Technologies provides state-of-the-art Power BI solutions and incorporates Power BI within advanced business solution suites. Contact us to learn more about Power BI and how your business could benefit from a Power BI solution.

 


Cannabis Price Crash Puts Manufacturers in Peril

The price of legal cannabis has been dropping at a steady rate, and the outlook is for a continuing decline before the market levels off. Small cannabis manufacturers and dispensaries are being driven out of business, and large manufacturers that fail to take measures to minimize production costs are at risk of meeting the same fate.

As marijuanaventure.com warns, “When the market shakes out in five years and people stop selling at a loss, companies capable of producing high-quality cannabis at an industrial scale and with low production costs will be the only players left in the game.”

Revenues Up, Prices Down

Although cannabis revenues have been rising rapidly in states in which cannabis is legal, cannabis prices have been declining because of overproduction. In Colorado, for example, the Department of Revenue reported cannabis sales of $1.49 billion in 2017, an increase of almost 15% from the previous year and more than double the revenues reported in 2014. Over the same time period, however, cannabis prices in Colorado declined from around $200 an ounce in 2014 to less than $100 (including tax) in 2018.

The average wholesale price of cannabis per pound has declined from $2,000 per pound in 2015 to about $1,000 in 2018, with producers in some states having to sell for less than $500 per pound. One grower in Oregon was forced to sell his excess cannabis at a mere $100 per pound at auction.

The Guardian describes a bleak scene in Oregon in which overproduction has pushed consumer prices down to $6 an ounce.  Unable to remain profitable, mom-and-pop farms are selling out to out-of-state investors as the market becomes increasingly owned by a few big players. Many non-growing dispensaries also are losing money and selling out to large cannabis chains.

It appears that the cannabis industry is following the same consolidation path as the grocery industry in which small grocery stores were put out of business by big grocery chains.

Control Production Costs or Perish

As more and more large cannabis ventures enter the market and expand their businesses, only manufacturers that can keep production costs low will be able to survive.

As marijuanaventure.com warns, “by 2025, or maybe even as soon as 2020, this industry will be based around per-pound production costs in the $100 range, or potentially lower, and companies that can’t compete at that level will be swiftly left in the dust.”

As cannabis management consultant Rich Cardinal points out, the only way to create facilities capable of producing low-cost, high-quality cannabis is through the implementation of efficient growing methods and investments in advanced production models that employ state-of-the-art automation.

Accounting Practices Are Key

Critical to controlling costs in the manufacturing and distribution of cannabis are stringent and integrated accounting practices, coupled with the use of advanced analytics to track costs, perform forecasts, and maximize efficiency.

As cannabis accounting specialist Andrew Hunzicker observes, many cannabis companies find themselves plagued with financial struggles stemming from the complexity of cannabis accounting, including cost controls within the growth, manufacturing, and retail phases, as well as compliance and tax issues.

Besides establishing solid accounting practices and procedures, says Hunzicker, cannabis businesses must recognize the importance of deploying cannabis management software tailored to the needs of their industry.

The crucial need to control costs is why cannabis ventures like Liberty Health Sciences, Acreage Holdings, and Medmen are investing in facilities that incorporate the most modern, state-of-the-art growing and production methods, including manufacturing management software capable of streamlining and maximizing accounting operations.

As Hunzicker and other experts point out, these and other forward-looking operators are making the investments in systems that enable them to achieve the low production costs that will be required to survive into the future.

This is exactly what advanced management software like MaxQ Cannabis was designed to do—enable large-scale cannabis manufacturers to minimize production costs, streamline operations, and maximize profitability, including integrated and automated accounting with cost controls and compliance throughout all phases of cannabis growth, manufacturing, and distribution.

As the maker of the most modern, integrated, and scalable cannabis manufacturing solution, MaxQ has deep cannabis industry expertise. Contact us to learn more about the latest trends and management solutions in the cannabis manufacturing industry. 


Cannabis and Alcohol Industries Cozy Up Through Cash

As the saying goes, money talks—and the large amount of money being invested by alcohol and cannabis companies in joint ventures speaks volumes about the direction the cannabis industry is taking.

This trend was underscored by the recent announcement that liquor giant Constellation Brands was investing $4 billion in Canada’s Canopy Growth Corp. This massive cash infusion follows a $190 million investment by Constellation Brands in Canopy Growth Corp. in 2017.

Such a major investment by Constellation Brands is a solid vote of confidence in the cannabis industry, and no doubt is driven by the cannabis market’s expanding legalization and explosive growth worldwide.

We should expect to see the alcohol and cannabis industries become increasingly more integrated to create a large recreational cannabis and alcohol conglomerate.

Neutralizing the Cannabis Threat

As the legal cannabis market continues to expand, consumption of cannabis is taking a large bite out of alcoholic beverages sales. Studies show that alcohol consumption has declined by an average 15% in states in which cannabis has become legal.

As Money reported, recent studies show that U.S. consumers now spend as much on legal marijuana as they do on alcohol. In Aspen Colorado, cannabis sales surpassed those of alcohol in 2017, with licensed cannabis vendors taking in $11.3 million, topping the $10.5 million rung up by liquor sales.

To counter the threat to their revenues, major alcoholic beverage distributors like Constellation Brands are investing in cannabis ventures and developing cannabis beverages. At the same time, cannabis companies are investing in alcohol companies as a ready-made path to acquire retail outlets.

Beer Brands Field Cannabis Beverages

One way in which alcohol companies are combatting the cannabis threat, while at the same time capitalizing on the cannabis opportunity, is to produce non-alcoholic cannabis beverages. Beer maker Heineken introduced a non-alcoholic cannabis beverage called Hi-Fi Hops in California under its Lagunitas brand in July.

Molson Coors Canada, meanwhile, announced a joint venture with The Hydropothecary Corp., a leading Canadian producer of medical cannabis, to develop a line of non-alcoholic cannabis beverages.

Molson Coors is among the beer makers that have cited cannabis consumption as a risk factor to their business in 10-K filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Blue Moon Brewing founder Keith Villa also has formed a new company called Ceria to produce THC-infused non-alcoholic craft beers. Villa has been working with cannabinoid research firm Ebbu to develop cannabis-infused beverages.

Province Brands in Toronto claims to have developed the first cannabis beer made exclusively using the marijuana plant, a beverage brewed without barley and using the stalks, roots, and stems of marijuana plants. Province also announced it was developing a new beer brewed from barley and infused with premium cannabis oil.

Liquor Stores Become Cannabis Outlets

With recreational cannabis becoming legal in Canada beginning October 17, Canadian cannabis producers are forging deals with alcohol distributors to acquire retail outlets. Aurora Cannabis in Alberta recently increased its previous $103.5 million investment in Alcanna, Canada’s largest liquor retailer, by another $34.5 million, upping its share of Alcanna from 19.9% to 25%, with an option to go to 40%. The agreement calls for Alcanna to open retail cannabis stores under the Aurora brand in provinces in which private retail is permitted.

Alcanna will build, own, and operate the new cannabis stores, which will carry a suite of brands from Licensed Producers, including Aurora’s MedReleaf and CanniMed products. According to Alcanna CEO James Burns, Alcanna will convert a number of its existing 230 liquor stores into cannabis retail outlets, as well as build new outlets, as it gains permission to operate cannabis outlets within Canadian provinces.

In a similar deal, Canadian cannabis producer Aphria signed an agreement with Great North Distributors, a Canadian subsidiary of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, to serve as the exclusive distributor for Aphria’s adult-use cannabis products throughout Canada. Aphria says the deal will give it 100% coverage of the cannabis retail market across Canada from the first day of legal adult-use marijuana sales.

Big Finance Enters Cannabis Fray

While Constellation Brands’ $4 billion investment in Canopy Growth is a huge event, of equal significance is the involvement of Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch in the deal, Marijuana Business Daily reports.

As the report notes, the transaction appears to be the first mega cannabis investment to involve major U.S. financial institutions and is a move that represents a “transformational moment” for the cannabis industry.

“Wall Street can no longer ignore the pace, the amount of money being raised and the growth underway in this industry,” said Scott Greiper, vice president at Viridian Capital Advisors in New York.

A dark cloud hovering over the cannabis industry is the illegality of cannabis in the U.S. on the federal level, which is preventing financiers from investing in U.S. cannabis ventures. But there are signs of change, including bills introduced to legalize cannabis nationally.

Constellation Brands CEO Rob Sands told The Wall Street Journal that legalization of marijuana at a national level in the United States was “highly likely, given what’s happened at the state level.”

As the maker of the most modern, integrated, and scalable cannabis manufacturing solution, MaxQ has deep cannabis industry expertise. Contact us to learn more about the latest trends and management solutions in the cannabis manufacturing industry. 


Making the Impossible Possible with Power BI

Power BI is making it possible for organizations to analyze data, share data, and obtain insights in ways that were not possible for them previously. As we noted, Power BI is a significant advance because analytics of this type were too complex and expensive for most companies in the past.

Besides affordability, a big part of Power BI’s appeal is the self-serve capability and immediacy with which business users can begin gaining insights. Rather than having to wait weeks for their IT organization to analyze data, users across a company can gain the insights they seek quickly and directly through Power BI.

This was the case with supermarket chain Meijer, one of the largest private U.S. companies. With Power BI, said Joseph Openshaw, Meijer’s IT manager of business intelligence, users can pull in the data they need and can answer their own questions, rather than having to rely on the IT group to perform the analyses.

“No matter where I go, the demand for BI is always greater than the supply,” said Marilyn Richards, director of business intelligence and collaboration at Meijer. “And people don’t always have time to wait for IT to build every report. Plus, they were unable to do on-the-fly, ad hoc analysis easily.”

Eliminating the Middleman

Similar user benefits were gained by business managers at ABB Italy, a subsidiary of manufacturer ABB. Before deployed Power BI, managers had to rely on an IT liaison to the company’s external IT supplier to perform market analyses and generate new reports, a process that could take up to four weeks.

After employing Power BI, ABB Italy marketing managers and business users were able to query internal and external data sets directly. ABB Italy can now generate custom reports in just a few hours.

“Before, you really thought twice about ordering a custom report and sometimes you didn’t do it,” said Alessandra Gilberti, BI manager for ABB Italy. “Now, if you have a question, you can use Power BI to find the answer. There’s no barrier between you and the analysis you want to perform.”

Deeper Digging

Condé Nast also has benefited by giving direct access to Power BI to users across its 20 media brands. Before Power BI, there were a lot of redundant requests and several rounds of questioning before users were able to get the answers they were seeking.

“Power BI is a solution for the ‘second question’ problem we’re increasingly seeing,” said Justin Glatz, director of business and corporate systems at Condé Nast. “Many other BI solutions work well for answering that first question, but it’s almost impossible to follow up. In contrast, Power BI seems designed from the start to quickly answer the chain of questions that arise after the first inquiry.”

A Universal Need

Giving business users in smaller-sized companies direct access to data and the ability to perform analyses quickly and easily is the goal of Enlighten Designs, a systems integrator and app developer in New Zealand. As with the organizations described above, Enlighten Designs CEO Damon Kelly says his customers want to unlock information in such a way that business users can ask questions and get answers themselves instead of waiting for IT to generate a report.

There is a rising demand for business intelligence, said Kelly, because everyone has more data than they have ever had before. “Customers,” said Kelly, “are not just looking to gain insights from their data, but also want to make organizational decisions from it.”

Unlocking 101 New Possibilities

Norway’s Oslo University Hospital also was able to gain analytical capabilities that were not possible before it employed Power BI. The hospital’s previous analytical tools were not able to provide up-to-date information, and analyses often required programming skills that researchers and administrators lacked. It took months to collect and analyze radiological data, which might not be updated for years.

When the hospital implemented a Power BI solution, the data could be collected and analyzed over the course of a few hours and presented to executives and researchers the next morning. In addition to faster analyses, executives were able to make decisions based on the most current information, which previously had been unavailable to them.

“This is a dream,” said Eli Marie Sager, MD, Chief Executive Officer at The Clinic for Diagnostics and Intervention at Oslo University Hospital, explaining how hospital researchers now use Power BI to collaborate with colleagues at the hospital and elsewhere in ways not previously practical or possible.

Power BI dashboards give users filtering and drill-down capabilities, and queries can be made in the form of natural-language searches, eliminating the need for programming skills. “I can envision 101 uses for Power BI here,” said Karl Oyri, research fellow at the hospital’s Intervention Center.

MaxQ Technologies provides state-of-the-art Power BI solutions and incorporates Power BI within advanced business solution suites. Contact us to learn more about Power BI and how your business could benefit from a Power BI solution.

 


Cannabis Miracle Drug Breaks Through Legal Barriers

In what is being hailed as a landmark decision and historic first, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first drug with an active ingredient derived naturally from the cannabis plant. The FDA approved the drug, called Epidiolex, because it was proven to be effective in treating patients aged two and older who suffer from some rare and severe forms of epilepsy.

Developed by GW Pharmaceuticals, Epidiolex is derived from cannabidiol (CBD), a component of marijuana that does not cause intoxication. The ruling is historic because it removes a longstanding stigma associated with marijuana and opens the door for other cannabis drugs to gain approval.

Cannabis Gaining Respect

Besides spurring further research, the approval of Epidiolex should engender a more relaxed and open-minded attitude towards cannabis drugs. We recently discussed the shifting attitudes towards cannabis by politicians and the general public as seen in the warm welcome being received by new cannabis manufacturing plants being built.

“This approval is historic in that it allows us, as a pharmaceutical company, to talk about this product in the way that pharmaceutical companies normally talk about their drugs,” said GW Pharma CEO Justin Gover.

Despite a wealth of evidence that cannabis has significant medical benefits, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) still classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug that has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Thus, Epidiolex must be approved not only by the FDA, but by the DEA as well before it can be legally dispensed.

GW Pharma CEO Justin Gover sees no problem in the DEA reclassifying cannabis, pointing out that because the FDA’s approval is a determination of an accepted medical use, the DEA must recognize this, and Epidiolex will not remain classified as a Schedule 1 drug.

Hurdles Remain

The recognition that untapped curative powers reside in the cannabis plant is a big step forward in the mainstreaming of cannabis. However, there are still a considerable number of legal hurdles and institutionalized anti-cannabis sentiment that cannabis researchers must deal with.

As researcher Jacci Bainbridge reveals, she and other cannabis researchers are frustrated by the requirements imposed on them, including extra paperwork, committees, planning, and inspections—hurdles, she says, that researchers studying heroin don’t even have to face.

Even as the pendulum swings towards the acceptance of cannabis, the debate about the risks and benefits of cannabis is still being waged. There also are politicians and pundits who continue to demonize cannabis. Although Canada’s Senate voted to legalize cannabis, the bill was passed “over the objections of Conservative senators who remained resolutely opposed,” the Montreal Gazette reported.

Opponents will have an increasingly uphill battle as the medical benefits of cannabis continue to mount. As The Week reported, “The evidence suggests cannabis is a relatively safe drug that provides a host of medical benefits.”

Drug Source Should Not Be an Impediment

As GW Pharma CEO Justin Gover observed, the focus should be on the effectiveness of a drug rather than its origins, pointing out that there are very few medicines prescribed because of their origin as opposed to what they can do for a patient.

Although the FDA’a approval of Epidiolex is a historic milestone, said Gover, when it comes to physicians prescribing the drug, it’s about the efficacy and safety profile. Besides the FDA’s approval of Epidiolex, physicians will recognize the importance of positive studies that were published in The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet, he noted.

What’s Next?

While cannabis has been found to provide relief for a good number of ailments, researchers have only scratched the surface in uncovering its potential uses. “It’s actually quite amazing how little we really know about something that has been used for thousands of years,” said Sachin Patel, a cannabis researcher at Vanderbilt University.

The FDA’s approval of Epidiolex has observers speculating as to what will be the next cannabis drug to win approval. GW Pharma says it is developing a number of potential new cannabis-derived drugs for epilepsy, glioblastoma, and schizophrenia.

Interestingly, Epidiolex is not the world’s first plant-derived cannabinoid prescription drug. That honor goes to another GW Pharma drug called Sativex, which has been approved for the treatment of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis in numerous countries outside the United States.

According to outsiderclub.com, a former GW Pharma medical director has left the company and is now chief medical officer at a new cannabis drug company that is developing a drug that kills cancer cells.

As the cannabis barriers continue to fall, it seems as if it will only be a matter of time the full spectrum of medical benefits are able to be discovered. As the Outsider Club reported:

“Marijuana is the real deal. It’s here to stay. Legalization timelines are being compressed and expedited. And it’s created hundreds of billions in new wealth.”

As the maker of the most modern, integrated, and scalable cannabis manufacturing solution, MaxQ has deep cannabis industry expertise. Contact us to learn more about the latest trends and management solutions in the cannabis manufacturing industry. 

 


New Feature in Advanced Billing: Generate Date Calculation

In the upcoming Release 18 of Advanced Billing for Acumatica, we added a requested feature for calculating a “generate date” based on the contract terms. If you have contract invoice terms of 30 days, meaning the bill is due 30 days after the invoice date, and you want to have the due date entered as the date of the generated invoice, the Advanced Billing system will calculate the date for you.

First, enter a contract and set the terms to 30 Days. Make sure “Back Off Generation Date by Term Date” is checked.

Next, Auto Generate Billing Schedule.

Contract schedules are created with the correctly calculated dates. Notice the beginning date of the contract and distribution period is still 8/1/2018, but the generation date has been recalculated to be 7/2/2018, so the due date of the invoice will be 8/1/2018.

MaxQ is a provider of advanced Acumatica business solutions across a wide range of applications and industries

Contact us to learn more about how MaxQ for Acumatica solutions can help your business.


A Big Shift in Attitude Is Positive for Cannabis Industry

The winds of change are blowing across the country as politicians and the public turn from hostility to a more accepting and welcoming attitude towards cannabis. The removal of political roadblocks is good news for cannabis manufacturers, as the market seems to have reached a tipping point with more and more states legalizing cannabis and the worldwide market expanding.

The expansion of cannabis manufacturing is continuing at a rapid pace throughout the United States. We’ve reported on new factories cropping up in Florida, Nevada, and California, and now another new plant is set to open in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the second cannabis operation to open in that state.

Getting on the Cannabis Bandwagon

As the number of cannabis manufacturing plants increases, we are seeing a steady stream of stories about changes to state laws, new permits being issued to manufacturers, and comments from state officials and local populations about the positive impact the cannabis industry is having on their region.

This turnaround is significant because even medical cannabis has taken a hit from politicians who have conflated medical and recreational marijuana while demonizing cannabis to the public. The tone is changing as we hear positive statements from politicians like Cedar Rapids city manager Jeff Pomeranz, who had only praise for the new cannabis plant in his district.

“It’s twenty-one new jobs, manufacturing in Cedar Rapids, it will be good for the people of Iowa, and it makes sense for Iowa’s second-largest city to have a plant,” said Pomerantz.

The Cedar Rapids plant is being built by Iowa Relieve, a subsidiary of Acreage Holdings, one of the largest medical cannabis manufacturers, with cultivation, processing, and dispensary operations in 12 states. Like MedMen and other major cannabis manufacturers, Acreage Farms is expanding rapidly and has plans to set up operations in New York, Florida, and Maryland this year. The company also has plans to become a publicly traded company in Canada.

Citing the growing recognition of the benefits of medical cannabis, Acreage Farms observed that, “As cannabis becomes legal across the country, we’re witnessing a pivotal moment in medical research and treatment — the kind of shift that changes lives for millions.”

No Federal Crackdown  in Massachusetts

Another positive sign for the cannabis industry is U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling issuing a statement that his office essentially will not interfere with the public consumption of recreational cannibis, which became legal in Massachusetts as of July 1. Lelling said his office would limit its enforcement activity to out-of-state sales, sales to minors, and organized crime.

As Jason Williams reported, this is big news and signals a huge win for the cannabis industry. “Even staunch opponents like Lelling are bending to the awesome might of this growing juggernaut,” said Wiliams.

Hope is seen on the federal level as well. As The New York Times reported, President Trump recently said he would likely support a bill introduced by Senators Cory Gardner and Elizabeth Warren to leave it up to individual states to legalize marijuana. This view is in “stark contrast” to the tough stance Trump and his administration have taken towards cannabis previously, said the report.

This new bill comes on the heels of a bill introduced by Senator Charles Schumer in April that would decriminalize cannabis on a federal level.

The cannabis industry has been operating under a cloud because of a conflict between federal and state laws. As Inc. reported, if these statutes pass, there could finally be a resolution to the “odd reality” in which selling a joint could land you in jail under federal law and give you a paycheck under state law.

As the maker of the most modern, integrated, and scalable cannabis manufacturing management solution, MaxQ has deep cannabis industry expertise. Contact us to learn more about the latest trends and business solutions in the cannabis manufacturing industry.