Cannabis Hits a Tipping Point and Crosses the Chasm

The cannabis market has reached a tipping point and is showing all the signs of an unstoppable juggernaut.

The signs are many, including:

  • Legalization is spreading at an accelerating pace.
  • The number of dispensaries is increasing exponentially.
  • Deals and investments are multiplying.
  • Big Alcohol, Big Tobacco, Big Finance, and Big Pharma have entered the market.
  • Big brand names like Coca Cola, Heineken, and Coors are entering the fray.
  • A vast new legal hemp market has sprung open.
  • A new generation of cannabis consumers is emerging.

Deals, Deals, Deals

As mjbizdaily reports, based on the number and size of the deals that were done, the year 2018 will go down as “a massive milestone for cannabis companies.” According to Viridian Capital Advisors, 557 deals raised over $13.5 billion in 2018, compared with 378 deals that raised $2.7 billion in 2017. 

Constellation Brands made waves with its $4 billion investment in Canopy Growth Corp. But Altria topped that deal with a $13 billion investment in vape company Juul, a deal that followed two weeks after Atria’s $1.8 billion investment in Cronos Group.

A key trend in the U.S. is the rapid expansion of large publicly traded cannabis companies through the establishment of multistate operations. This is the modus operandi of Acreage Holdings, Curaleaf, Green Thumb Industries, MedMen, and Trulieve—which are the five largest multistate cannabis operators with the greatest market capitalization.

Domino Effect

The big news in 2018 was the legalization of cannabis in Canada. In the U.S., Maine, Michigan, and Vermont legalized recreational cannabis. Medical cannabis is now legal in 33 states and Washington D.C., and recreational cannabis is legal in 10 states and Washington D.C.

As increasing numbers of territories legalize cannabis, resistance to legalizing cannabis is crumbling. At least seven U.S. states are leaning towards joining the recreational ranks as government leaders in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and New Hampshire push for legalization.  

Around the world, bans are being lifted to legalize cannabis and allow trade. Most recently, Bermuda announced that was lifting a regulatory ban on marijuana investment funds, while Israel’s parliament approved a law to permit exports of medical marijuana.

At year’s end, Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly voted to legalize medical marijuana and allow cannabis research. This follows on the heels of South Korea, Argentina, and Australia legalizing medical cannabis.

As Forbes notes, U.S. drug policies influence those of foreign nations, and the legalization of cannabis in the U.S. is having a contagious effect worldwide.  

Doubling Down on Dispensaries

The rapid expansion of the cannabis market is reflected in the exponentially multiplying number of dispensaries. Connecticut officials approved nine new medical cannabis dispensaries, which doubles the state’s existing number. New Jersey also doubled its number of medical cannabis dispensaries from 6 to 12.

Pennsylvania issued 23 new medical cannabis dispensary licenses, raising the state’s total to 79. Nevada issued 61 new recreational marijuana retail licenses, which nearly doubles that state’s number. Missouri plans to have 192 medical cannabis dispensaries open by 2020.

Michigan, which legalized recreational cannabis in 2018, approved 91 new medical cannabis licenses, including 45 dispensaries. Massachusetts opened its first recreational cannabis dispensaries, while the first medical cannabis dispensaries were licensed to open in Arkansas, Ohio, and Virginia.

Hemp Is Back

After an 81-year ban, the legalization of hemp in the U.S. became official when President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill on December 20. The ability to grow, process, and sell hemp products will unlock a wealth of new opportunities.

As Vox reported, not only will farmers coast to coast benefit from a new cash crop, but the CBD industry, which sold about $350 million worth of products last year, is projected to hit $1 billion in sales by 2020.  

Hemp becomes legal at a time when the demand for CBD oil is exploding. As Jason Williams of Wealth Daily notes, “CBD sales are growing faster than anyone could have predicted — faster than pretty much any other part of the cannabis market.”

And as Hemp Industry Daily reports, “CBD-rich hempseed is legal now, but it’s also rare, giving plant breeders a huge new market as barriers to national hempseed distribution are removed.”

Research Boom

Cannabis research is flourishing as biotech companies discover new medical uses and legal cannabis-based drugs are made available to patients. A historic landmark was reached in 2018 when Epidiolex was approved by the FDA, a move that caused cannabis to be reclassified by the DEA.

After five decades of barren neglect, the U.S. Congress is moving to fund and facilitate medical cannabis research. Besides a new Medical Cannabis Research Act bill, the U.S. federal government plans to award $1.5 million in grants during the 2019 fiscal year to researchers who study how components of marijuana other than THC affect pain.

Cannabis Crosses the Consumer Chasm

As the surging sales and supply shortages in the U.S. and Canada show, the demand for legal cannabis is strong. Consumers are taking advantage of the diverse medical and recreational cannabis products coming to market, including smokables, edibles, beverages, ointments, lotions, and suppositories.

Not only are veteran cannabis users taking advantage of legalized cannabis products, but a new generation of “canna-curious” people are becoming cannabis consumers.

As headynj.com notes, as legalization takes hold, “the doors have opened up to a whole new tribe of people” who are experimenting with cannabis and making informed decisions.  

This includes senior citizens, a group that tended to be anti-cannabis in the past, but who are now embracing cannabis chiefly for medical reasons.  An example is Rossmoor’s Medical Marijuana Education and Support Club in California, where scores of seniors are experiencing the benefits of medical cannabis. These seniors are not only becoming consumers, but pro-cannabis activists as well.

Helping consumers cross the cannabis chasm is Francis Ford Coppola, who has complemented his wine products by launching a cannabis line called The Grower’s Series. The first product is a kit that sells for $99, which is aimed at “individuals who are wine drinkers who may be intimidated by cannabis by leveraging some of the same language.”

Mainstream commercialization is causing the cannabis market to become more sophisticated, refined, and upscale. As Leafly notes, legalization has brought maturity, innovation, professionalism, and credibility to cannabis.

For cannabis producers, the expanding market represents an immense opportunity, and competitive advantages can be gained by deploying the right cannabis management and analytics solutions. 

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Power BI Gives Curio Wellness a Big Competitive Edge

In the highly competitive world of cannabis manufacturing, Curio Wellness has gained advantages by deploying a MaxQ Cannabis management solution that includes Power BI analytics. 

Brad Friedlander, CIO of Curio Wellness, described how his company is deriving a wealth of benefits from Power BI.

End-to-End BI Value

“Our executive team uses it for sales and key metrics, sales by customer, what products are trending, how things are selling within categories, in both quantity and dollars,” he explained. “We can view data in real time, daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly.”

Power BI is used to monitor and manage the entire business, including operations, sales, and marketing, said Friedlander, adding that this has resulted in better planning, decision making, and performance.

Overall, Power BI has given his company a huge competitive advantage, said Friedlander. “Most of our competitors are on QuickBooks,” he explained, “so they don’t have the ability to do what we do with Power BI.”

Using Power BI also has resulted in better customer satisfaction, he said. “It enables us to meet demand and keep customers happy, which is our number one priority.”

Expanded Use

Curio Wellness obtained Power BI as a standard component of the MaxQ Cannabis solution that is used to manage the company’s seed-to-sale cannabis operations.

However, as users worked with Power BI and discovered its potential, they desired to expand the range of analyses they were able to perform. MaxQ provided additional consulting and customization to enable Power BI to meet the users’ expanding needs.

Friedlander said he is continuously adding pages to Power BI to add functionality that enables the management team to view data in new ways.

Real-Time Advantages

The ability to continually monitor and analyze data in real time is a big part of the advantages the company is deriving from Power BI, Friedlander said. “We can refresh minute by minute and can see data coming from the field for sales and operations.”

Daily monitoring and analyzing of key metrics have enabled the operations and sales teams to make better decisions and change business outcomes, Friedlander said. “It’s allowed us to quickly see problem areas and address them immediately rather than at month’s end,” he explained.

For example, same-day analyses of sales data enable the company to adjust its product processing and packaging to meet market demand. “We can meet demand within a day,” said Friedlander. “When we harvest plants, we have strains that are cured and in the final stages of being packaged, so we can modify the rotation of strains to meet demand on any given day.”

Leveraging Key Metrics

Curio Wellness’s operations and sales teams use Power BI to track a variety of key metrics on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, Friedlander said. “We track many metrics,” he explained, “including sales by customer, sales by strain, dollars and weight sold, inventory on hand, and manufactured products. We also can see margins and selling price over any given period of time.”

Power BI helps the operations side keep in step with sales and marketing. “We can see the best-selling products in any given week, and modify our trimming and production schedules to meet the current demand,” Friedlander explained.

Power BI data also enables the sales and marketing teams to take steps to boost the sales of underperforming products. “We can see what’s selling and what isn’t, and we can put something on special or do special promotions for weaker selling products,” Friedlander added.

Power BI has proven to be fast, flexible, and easy to use, Friedlander said. “You can make changes on the fly, and you can look at the data in so many different ways.”

Production Optimization

On the operations side, Power BI enables the operations team to monitor production and gauge its efficiency. “We can see what yields are out of the garden and the gross weights and class of product that results from a crop,” Friedlander explained.

Power BI also enables the operations team to see how the crops that are harvested measure up to the planned production. “We can set the results we aim to hit for a crop, and we can see how well we have performed to hit that metric—for example, the percentage of flower that falls into upper tier, middle tier, and lower tier,” Friedlander explained.

The financial team uses the forecasting power of Power BI in the planning and budgeting process. “We can forecast relatively easily based on historical trends, including growth rates by customer, in quantity and dollars,” Friedlander explained. “We can see trends and apply those trends to our forecast for the next year.”

Limitless Potential

Friedlander said he could ever see a time when he could say the potential uses of Power BI had reached an end.“There are endless uses for this,”  he said. “It will continue to evolve to serve the business.”

The company currently is in the process of automating its Flash report, he said, which aggregates key metrics of entire business. “This will let users access data from a single source rather than dragging in data from multiple data sources, and the Flash report will be formatted for the purpose of visualizing the metrics,” he explained.

Going forward, Friedlander said the company plans to expand the use of Power BI in a number of ways, including creating customized dashboards for each team—executive, operations, sales, and marketing. “We also want to add the ability to analyze cost of sales, particularly on the cultivation side,” he said.

Better Than Expected

After using Power BI for a year, Friedlander said the tool had exceeded his expectations. “I love it,” he said, adding that, “I probably use it more than anybody on the team.”

Having never used Power BI before, Friedlander said he was surprised by the tools’ ease of use, ability to format data in many ways, and generally visualize data. “There’s a lot to like about Power BI,” he said. “It’s easy to create charts and visualize data in an appealing way. We use the mapping, which lets us see where the hotbed of activities is coming from.”

Is the company pleased with the return on investment in Power BI? “Absolutely,” said Friedlander. “The ability to get data in real time, and the amount of time you save in aggregating and reporting on data, you can’t put a value on that.”

Power BI has made life easier and benefited the business in numerous ways, said Friedlander, including better performance and decision making. “It also has given us a huge competitive advantage,” he added.

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 Sparks a Beverage Revolution

The infusion of cannabis into beverages is transforming the beverage industry and consumers’ drinking habits. Consumers today can find THC and CBD infused into beers, wines, coffees, teas, sodas, waters, elixirs, and energy drinks. Wellness drinks, in particular, is a significant new category that is bringing  the health benefits of CBD to consumers. This first wave of cannabis drinks is only the beginning, as many of the big guns in the cannabis and beverage industries have set their sights on what promises to be a huge cannabis beverage market. Next Big Thing in Cannabis The first phase of legalized recreational cannabis in Canada did not include beverages and edibles. With the next phase set for the fall of 2019, the major Canadian cannabis producers are forging partnerships with beverage, bio-research, and alcohol companies to bring cannabis beverages to market. Among the big players is Canopy Growth, which made headlines as the recipient of a $4 billion investment from liquor giant Constellation Brands. Canopy CEO Bruce Linton believes cannabis beverages “represent the next big opportunity.” Edibles and infused beverages might have a wider appeal than smoking cannabis, Linton said, because consumers might consider eating and drinking the products to be more socially acceptable than smoking them. Likewise, Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy believes beverages will ultimately dominate the cannabis market, with only 10% of cannabis being smoked and 90% being consumed as cannabis beverages. Cannabis Chemistry Although many players recognize the commercial potential of cannabis beverages, there are significant challenges involved in producing them. Because cannabinoids are fat soluble rather than water soluble, as beveragedaily notes, “beverage producers are left with the age-old problem of trying to mix oil and water when creating cannabis beverages.” Another problem with oil-based cannabis absorption is that the effects are not felt for 90 minutes or more, in contrast to alcoholic beverages that are absorbed quickly. Among the companies that are developing ways to make cannabis water soluble and more easily absorbable are Trait Biosciences, Vitality Biopharma, Lexaria Biosciences, Ascent Industries, Chemesis International, Tilray, Sproutly Canada, and Emerald Health Therapeutics. Ascent Industries CEO Philip Campbell said his company’s Agrima Botanticals subsidiary has developed a compound that can be added to drinks to make cannabinoids water soluble and quickly absorbable, with the effects felt in 15 minutes. Sproutly Canada announced that it has developed a portfolio of cannabis beverages based on its water-soluble MisT and Infuz2O cannabinoid technology. Among Lexaria’s innovations is a new water-soluble hemp powder called ChrD+ that comes in packets and can be added to any hot or cold drink to infuse hemp oil. The Green Organic Dutchman (TGOD), which created a global division to focus on the beverage industry, has forged an exclusive agreement with Stillwater Brands to license its RIPPLE SC (Soluble Cannabinoids) technology to create soluble and fast-acting cannabis beverages. Taste Appeal Besides solubility, the taste of cannabis can be a problem, with many people finding cannabis to have an unappealing skunky flavor. Thus, cannabis producers are partnering with biotech research companies to acquire the know-how to create more palatable cannabis beverages. Terpenes are cannabis components that impart flavors and mood enhancements to cannabis products, and research is being devoted to infusing terpenes into beverages. NaPro Research, Flowr, and Yofumo are among the companies developing techniques to isolate terpenes and breed cannabis strains with particular aromas and tastes. As Mashable reports, a number of brewing companies are adding cannabis terpenes to their beers to produce various flavor profiles. Lexaria Bioscience has developed delivery technology called DehydraTECH that can be used to infuse cannabis in food and beverages. The technology enhances the taste, smell, speed of action, and absorption. Lexia has introduced a line of cannabis-infused tea, coffee and hot chocolate products, as well as an energy drink. Expanding into Cannabis Territory Among the beverage companies expanding into the cannabis market is Lifford Wine & Spirits. Lisa Campbell, CEO of the company’s Lifford Cannabis Solutions subsidiary, said many cannabis companies are in talks with food and beverage manufacturers that want to extend their brands into the cannabis space. Campbell said her company was working with a number of partners—including WeedMD, TerrAscend Canada, and Token Naturals—to bring “premium infused products” to market as soon as Canada officially permits edibles and beverages. Token Naturals focuses on extracting and refining cannabis oils, and CEO Keenan Pascal said his company was working with food and drink manufacturers to design formulas to bring cannabis-infused products to market. Among Token Natural’s products are bitters for infusion into beverages. Cannabis Brews Studies show that cannabis sales are growing at the expense of alcohol in states in which cannabis becomes legal. To hedge against a decline in their revenues, major beer brands are launching non-alcoholic cannabis beer lines. New companies also are sprouting up to bring cannabis craft beers to market. Constellation Brands, the company behind Modelo and Corona beer, has tied its wagon to Canopy Growth Corp. through a $4 billion investment. Molson Coors followed suit by announcing a joint venture with The Hydropothecary Corporation to develop non-alcoholic cannabis-infused beverages for the Canadian market. Heineken created a subsidiary called Lagunitas and teamed up with AbsoluteXtracts to create cannabis-infused sparkling water beverages called Hi-Fi Hops that are being sold in California. Most recently, Budweiser maker AB InBev forged a $100 million deal with Tilray to research cannabis-infused beverages. Keith Villa, who invented Blue Moon beer for MillerCoors, has launched a new company called Ceria Beverages that will focus on producing a line of non-alcoholic cannabis-infused craft beers.  Villa has partnered with Ebbu, a cannabis company that will provide the extract for beers with or without the skunky cannabis taste. As Villa notes, “It’s tough to make good tasting non-alcoholic beer.” Also pioneering new beer brewing methods is Province Brands, which has developed a unique method of brewing beer from cannabis rather than barley or grain. The process involves milling and “mashing” to extract fermentable sugars from the cannabis plant, an operation that requires specialized equipment and technology that would not be found in a normal brewery. In November 2018, Province Brands announced agreements with Lost Craft Beer and Brock Street Brewing Company to brew beers from cannabis and hemp. Cannabis Goes Pop Coca Cola originally contained cocaine, which was replaced by caffeine, so it’s no large stretch to infuse soda pop with cannabis. Rumors are rampant that Coca Cola and Pepsi are planning to introduce cannabis beverages. Bloomberg reported that Coca Cola was “in serious talks” with Aurora Cannabis. Meanwhile, a new wave of companies is already fielding a variety of cannabis sodas, including Keef Brands, California Dreamin’, Cannabis Creations, Canna Cola, Dixie Brands, and Sprig. Erik Knutson, founder and CEO of cannabis-infused drink manufacturer Keef Brands, believes that “cannabis beverages are the new soda.” Keef produces a line of cannabis beverages, edibles, and additives that includes Keef Cola, Keef Sparkling Blood Orange, and Keef Sparkling Lemon. Cannabis Elixirs The cannabis boom has unleashed a wave of research aimed at discovering the medical benefits of cannabis. As Raphael Mechoulam, the father of cannabis research notes, cannabis is a “medicinal treasure trove waiting to be discovered.” Among those leading the charge is Mindful CEO Phillip Hague, who observes that marijuana contains numerous substances—cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes—that have never been investigated in depth. Mindful and other cannabis producers are cultivating CBD-rich strains of cannabis to help unlock the medical potential of cannabis. Lauren Rudick, a partner at cannabis-focused law firm Hiller, says CBD could become an even bigger mainstream ingredient than THC for the beverage industry. “It’s the perfect wellness product, and there are going to be many CBD-fortified foods and beverages,” she says. As consumer demand for CBD products rockets, companies like Lexaria, Zoots, High Performance Beverage Co., and Sprig are racing to create CBD formulas and bring CBD-infused health drinks to market. We are witnessing an incredible turnaround in which the once-forbidden cannabis plant is bringing entirely new types of beverages to market—beverages that are revolutionizing not only the beverage industry, but consumer health, drinking habits, and lifestyles. 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. 

MaxQ Cannabis Management Automation Works Wonders for Curio Wellness

In the complex world of cannabis manufacturing, the ability to manage operations efficiently and minimize costs can mean the difference between success and failure.

Brad Friedlander, Curio Wellness CIO, described how his company has gained a major competitive advantage by employing MaxQ Cannabis to manage its cannabis operations.

Growing high-grade cannabis and producing premium products requires careful management in all stages of the operation—including planning, cultivating, harvesting, testing, curing, extraction, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, inventory management, and sales.

The MaxQ Cannabis management system has yielded benefits across all these areas by enabling Curio to operate with greater efficiency while minimizing costs, Friedlander said.

Automated Product Data Management

Automated product data management has yielded significant time and cost savings, said Friedlander. “We’ve created some standardization that enables us to create new parts and strains with ease from other data we have in the system,” he explained.

When a new strain is entered into the system, all the associated parts are created automatically, including SKUs (stock keeping units), bills of materials, kits, and bundles for each of the products.

Automated product data management creates all product data in a consistent, standard, and correct manner, greatly reducing errors caused by manual entry.

“Just click a button and it creates the inventory items, kits, BOMs, and bundles automatically,” Friedlander explained. “The setup that would take hours manually, we do in 30 seconds.”

Integrated Accounting

Most competitors are running their business on QuickBooks and jumping between different accounting systems, said Friedlander.

His observation agrees with that of cannabis accounting expert Andrew Hunzicker, who relates that many cannabis companies operating in this manner 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.

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

The integrated accounting of MaxQ Cannabis, coupled with Power BI analytics, provides all these advantages, including easy data entry and data handling, with changes that ripple through the system automatically, said Friedlander. This saves time and labor and eliminates error, he explained.

“The integrated accounting, data handling, cost tracking, and auditing are huge advantages,” Friedlander said.

Cost Tracking

The ability to produce cannabis products at the lowest possible cost is critical. Automated cost tracking within MaxQ Cannabis enables Curio Wellness to track its costs across all phases of its operation.

“The ability to track costs is a huge one,” said Friedlander.

The system enables the company to track the cost of inventory by automating the process of accumulating cost into inventory, he explained.

“We can see historical data that we can’t see in the regular tracking system,” said Friedlander. “It helps us to understand costs and control them.”

Product Traceability

Automated product tracking is another key feature that helps Curio Wellness increase efficiency while reducing costs. The MaxQ Cannabis management system enables Curio Wellness to trace any product back to its origin with ease, said Friedlander.

“It gives us full traceability,” he explained. “If there is an issue with a product, we can trace it back to the batch in which it was created and who we sold it to with ease.”

Comprehensive product tracking and traceability enable Curio Wellness to stay fully compliant and auditable for any government agency that requires compliance information, Friedlander said.

Quality Control

The MaxQ Cannabis system automation also streamlines the lab testing process, including automated uploading of lab results and printing of labels for each of Curio Wellness’s products.

The system will store the Certificate of Analysis (COA) and automatically generate labels from lab results. When products are shipped to customers, the lab results certificate will be mailed automatically with the invoice.

“The system automates the processing of the lab reports for each product for each customer for every order,” said Friedlander. “The handling of lab results and label printing is completely automated, a process that was very time consuming in the past.”

Analytics Advance Business

Curio Wellness acquired Power BI analytics as a standard component of the MaxQ Cannabis system. Friedlander said Power BI is used to monitor and manage the entire business, including operations, sales, and marketing.

“Our whole executive team uses it for sales and key metrics, sales by customer, what products are trending, how things are selling within categories, in both quantity and dollars,” he explained. “We can view data in real time, daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly.”

Using Power BI in conjunction with MaxQ Cannabis has resulted in better planning, decision making, performance, and customer satisfaction, he said.

The executive team uses Power BI to monitor key metrics, including sales by customer, which products are trending, how things are selling within categories, in both quantity and dollars, Friedlander explained.

The ability to monitor and analyze key metrics in real time have enabled the operations and sales teams to make better decisions and change business outcomes, Friedlander said. “It’s allowed us to quickly see problem areas and address them immediately rather than at month’s end,” he explained.

“Most of our competitors are on QuickBooks,” Friedlander explained, “so they don’t have the ability to do what we do with Power BI. It’s a big competitive advantage.”

Ongoing Improvement

Curio Wellness works with MaxQ to extend the system’s capabilities and refine processes in ways that will yield even greater efficiency, Friedlander said. Plans include automating the harvesting of crops with integrated RFID readers, as well as adding a host of new Power BI features.

Has MaxQ Cannabis delivered the efficiency and cost control benefits he had hoped it would? “Absolutely,” said Friedlander. “The system not only enables us to operate more efficiently, it gives us a huge advantage over our competitors.”

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. 

 


Finally, a Cannabis Management System That Fits the Bill

After working with 10-15 different cannabis management systems, cannabis accounting specialist Andrew Hunzicker found the solutions were “filled with bugs, have had significant downtime, and have many features that simply don’t work.”

He found further that among the existing cannabis management solutions there was not one that was “reliable, effective, or efficient.”

Unfortunately, he concluded, “a reliable Cannabis ERP does not exist in 2018.”

At some point, Hunzicker said, he hoped a vendor would overcome these issues and provide an “all-in-one solution.” Until then, he said, “cannabis companies are forced to piecemeal together several systems.”

MaxQ to the Rescue

That was the case until MaxQ Cannabis entered the picture, providing an all-in-one ERP cannabis management solution with all the functionality Hunzicker hoped would someday become available. Although too new to be included in Hunzicker’s report, MaxQ Cannabis is now available to provide streamlined management to cannabis companies of all sizes.

Built on the Acumatica ERP platform, MaxQ Cannabis is a tightly integrated and highly automated cannabis management suite tailored to the needs of cannabis cultivation and manufacturing companies. With MaxQ Cannabis, all the problems with accounting, compliance, tracking, and reliability cited in the report are eliminated.

Goodbye QuickBooks

As Hunzicker notes, with no integrated accounting and tracking solution available, cannabis companies have had to rely on a patchwork of QuickBooks, Xero, Excel, and other apps to manage their operations.

MaxQ Cannabis solves this problem by providing integrated accounting functionality that encompasses the entire management suite, eliminating the need to employ two or more systems.

Rather than separate accounting, CRM, ERP, inventory, and e-commerce systems, MaxQ Cannabis provides an integrated suite of ERP, CRM, supply chain, and e-commerce functions.  All functionality—including accounting, cost tracking, product tracking, compliance, quality control, and business intelligence—are fully integrated across all phases of cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and sales.

Automation Advantages

MaxQ Cannabis enables cannabis businesses to be more efficient through automation that saves time and labor, streamlines operations, and minimizes costs. For example, the process of entering a new cannabis strain into the system automatically creates all the associated parts—inventory IDs, bills of materials, kits, and bundles—at the press of a button. The automated process takes less than a minute, whereas it would take hours to input the data manually.

The same type of time and labor savings are gained through the automation of the lab testing process. MaxQ Cannabis automates the lab testing process by uploading the lab results and printing the labels for each cannabis product, a process that is time consuming when performed manually.

The system will store the Certificate of Acceptance (COA) and automatically generate labels from lab results. When products are shipped to customers, the lab results certificate will be mailed automatically with the invoice.

Compliance is ensured by automatically creating and transmitting regulatory reports to the appropriate government authorities, such as the Metrc reporting system.

Full-Spectrum Functionality

As Hunzicker points out, cannabis is a complex world involving several sub-industries (farming, chemical manufacturing, food production, and retail), and mistakes can be costly. Cannabis companies, he notes, are faced with a plethora issues such as multi-entity structures, consolidated accounting, cannabis and non-cannabis divisions, and complex customer resource management.

Providing a full spectrum of accounting and management capabilities—including multi-currency and multi-company—is how MaxQ Cannabis stands out from the pack.

No longer do cannabis companies have to settle for less-than-optimal management solutions. Now they can turn to MaxQ Cannabis, a next-generation cannabis management system with the unity of accounting, product tracking, cost tracking, compliance, quality control, and business intelligence that was missing in first-generation systems.

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. 


Using Acumatica Import with an Alternate Key

When importing data into Acumatica using the Integration tools, I was under the impression you needed to have the key to a record in your data to update the existing record. Thankfully, I was wrong and Acumatica provides an easy way to do this, when you know the secret…

A good example of how to resolve this issue is the way the MaxQ Cannabis solution reconciles lab testing records. In MaxQ Cannabis, there is a form that allows a user to track the testing of different products by their lot number. As required by law, these lots need to be tested by a certified independent lab. The lab technician will go onsite and take a small sample of the lot to be tested, and in doing so creates a new lot number for the sample. The lab will test the sample and report the results by using its lot number, hence the issue. We need to use the lab’s lot number to find the correct lab results record to update the test results (see image below).

As you can see, we have the Lab Package Tag (Acumatica Lot Number) as a field on the lab report and need to update the Lab Result ID for record id 00000012.

The Lab Package Tag is part of the Lab Results Selector. We need to add some special lines to the import scenario to accomplish this. Notice the first three lines of the image below. We are telling the import scenario to use the Lab Package Tag to look up the Lab Results ID and update the data.

More information on this importing technique can be found in the Acumatica I100 Integration Training Guide section “Updating Auto-Numbered Records by a Selector Column (Customers).”

Note: To use fields that are not part of the id’s selector, you can use the special @@ method (shown below). This is documented in the Acumatica I100 Integration Training Guide section called “Updating Auto-Numbered Records by Custom Key (Customers).”

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.


A Heady but Wobbly Takeoff for Canadian Cannabis

After a big media buildup and much anticipation, recreational cannabis finally became legal in Canada.

The results out of the gate were mixed, with sales surging in some places, lagging in others, and supply shortages making it difficult for many Canadians to purchase legal cannabis.

One thing became clear: Canadians love cannabis.

Big Bang

The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), which sells online, reported making 100,000 sales within the first 24 hours, with sales rising to 150,000 orders within the first week. Shopify, whose e-commerce software powers a number of Canadian government cannabis retail sites, said the sites collectively were receiving more than 100 orders per minute.

The Canadian economy was the happy beneficiary of this frenzied activity. As Vice.com reported, “Canada made some serious cash on day one of legalization.”

The problem was that the outlets could not keep up with the demand.  As 420Intel reported, “many stores and provinces are completely out of product” and “some experts think it might take a year or longer before the country can supply enough weed to meet demand.”

Blame Game

With so many of the major cannabis growers being Canadian companies, people are finding it difficult to understand why there are shortages, and fingers are pointing in many directions to assign blame.

Provinces are the sole wholesalers of cannabis and cannabis products in Canada. According to reports, provinces say they cannot supply retailers because they are not receiving the supply they were promised from the licensed growers.

While some observers believe the cannabis growers are to blame for not producing enough cannabis, others believe it is the slow pace of Canadian government agencies to grant the licenses that permit growers to sell cannabis.

Carousel of Excuses

The government-run Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) is the largest retailer in Canada and the only sales channel for legal marijuana sales in Ontario. The OCS initially blamed the delays in fulfilling orders on demand “beyond what we anticipated” and a postal labor dispute that disrupted its exclusive shipper, Canada Post.

However, OCS president Patrick Ford later sent customers a note saying that some of the items from licensed cannabis producers were “mislabeled” and “this delayed our ability to ship your order to you.”

Amateur Growers

In a report on Vice.com, Dan Sutton, founder of Tantalus Labs, said the production capability of many Canadian cannabis companies was overblown because the managers were business people who lacked the agricultural experience needed to grow cannabis on a large scale.

The institutional knowledge needed to reliably grow massive amounts of cannabis simply doesn’t exist, he said, and the industry won’t figure it out for a while.

Sutton said he did not believe there would be enough supply to meet demand for 18 months, which would “result in the collapse of some of these big companies on the stock market.”

Harvest Coming Soon

Jordan Sinclair, vice-president of communications for Canopy Growth Corp., disagreed with Sutton’s assessment.

Sinclair said the shortages were the result of larger than anticipated demand, logistical issues in getting product onto store shelves, and yields that are still a few months away from being harvested.

Canopy has been expanding its production capability over the past year, but it will be a few more months before the facilities are in full production mode, he said.

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

Rosalie Wyonch, an analyst with C.D. Howe Institute, said she believed there was plenty of blame to go around and that “no one is completely guilty, and no one is completely innocent.” Licensed producers failed to deliver enough cannabis, provinces failed to procure enough cannabis, and the Canadian government via Health Canada may not have approved enough LP licenses in time for legalization.

Wyoch also said legal producers were short on medical cannabis because they were routing deliveries to meet their obligation for recreational cannabis.

“The truth is, there’s a huge incentive for licensed providers to supply distributors before they supply medical patients, and as a result these medical patients are getting the short end of the stick,” she said.

A Little Perspective

Taking a step back, we can see that even with the shortages, Canada is doing a lot better than other places in which recreational cannabis became legal. In California, for example, there was no cannabis available for an entire year after legalization became official, and cannabis dispensaries are still spotty throughout the state.

In Massachusetts, recreational marijuana was legalized in November 2016, but sales are not expected to begin until this month, a full two years after legalization and four months after the July 1 target date this past summer.

Future Looks Bright

Despite the shortages, the strong demand for cannabis signals a bright future for the cannabis market in Canada. With so many major Canadian cannabis companies focused on producing large quantities of premium cannabis, consumers will be well served in the near future.

Cam Battley, Chief Corporate Officer at Aurora Cannabis, is among the bullish believers, noting that even though some cannabis companies might have stumbled getting their products to the provinces, the fact that there was such high demand was a good thing. Customers will be pleased with the high-quality cannabis that will be available to them, he said.

As we noted in a previous post, major Canadian cannabis companies like Aurora, Canopy Growth Corp., The Green Organic Dutchman, and Tilray are looking beyond Canada and making moves to become leading providers worldwide.

As the Financial Post reports, a new report from the Bank of Montreal projects a worldwide cannabis market of $194 billion in 2025. The report pegs the total Canadian cannabis market at $5.9 billion. Based on these projections, says the Financial Post, “the potential of the global cannabis industry is so vast that it could eventually make the sky-high valuations of some Canadian licensed producers look like bargains.”

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. 


For APTMetrics, Power BI Is a Gift That Keeps on Giving

To say that Power BI has been a game-changer for HR consulting firm APTMetrics may be an understatement, according to CFO Marty Kelly.

Kelly credits Power BI with not only improving his company’s performance, but with making his job and those of his co-workers an order of magnitude easier and more efficient.

APTMetrics’ primary business is assessment-centered talent management solutions. Kelly says Power BI has yielded benefits across all areas of the business, including finance, marketing, sales, and operations, allowing for the consolidation of information across multiple disciplines. The scope of Power BI’s potential uses is limitless, he said.

Kelly took advantage of MaxQ’s Power BI expertise to implement a solution that matched his business needs and made it easy for his team to access data from multiple sources, view and manipulate the data, generate reports, and perform an unlimited range of analyses.

Changing Outcomes

Although Power BI was deployed initially for managing accounting in the financial department, Kelly said the solution’s flexibility has provided a host of unexpected benefits.

For instance, Kelly said he now can take snapshots of the consulting business via Power BI and know much earlier in the month how well the company is doing. By monitoring and managing the project allocation of the company’s 40 consultants, he can make adjustments that improve business outcomes, something he could not do in the past.

Using Power BI, Kelly said, he can view up-to-the-minute information as the consultants input their time and project data into the shared system. “If I know a week-and-a-half into a four-week month that I am falling short,” he explained, “I can call the consulting officer and get people more billable hours.

More Effective Financial Management

Power BI also has enabled Kelly to manage the company’s financials in new and more effective ways. “I use Power BI for in-depth financial analysis, database management and querying, and to create graphical presentations in support of the company’s business model,” he explained.

Power BI is extremely fast and flexible, said Kelly, enabling him to access and analyze data and respond to business issues faster than in the past. It also enables him to delve into financial data to pull up sophisticated financial extracts and generate reports from multiple databases with relative ease.

“I can slice the data in unlimited ways to meet the needs and requests for analytics,” he said, “and I don’t have to distribute reports because people can access shared Power BI reports.”

Power BI also has made forecasting more accurate and reliable, Kelly said, as well as easier to perform. “With ten days of information, I’ll nail the forecast for the month,” he explained. “What used to take four hours, I can now do in ten minutes.”

A Wealth of BI Benefits

Besides better financial management and forecasting, Kelly said Power BI makes it easy to create and monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) for marketing, sales, and the company’s financials. Power BI also enables him to analyze detailed project lines of business and to better understand the company’s customers in terms of revenues and profitability.

In addition, Kelly said he uses Power BI to generate “Flash” reports covering key aspects of the company’s revenue stream—consulting hours, assessments delivered, and how many tests were administered on the IT platform side.

Power BI enables him to nest multiple layers of data, which consultants and other teams can then expand, collapse, button, unbutton, and drill down into.

Everyone in the Power BI Pool

Initially used only by Kelly and his financial staff, the use of Power BI is quickly expanding to support the entire company, including three businesses (consulting, assessment practice, and IT platform for high-volume testing), business partners, the APTMetrics sales staff, and the executive team.

Power BI plays a huge role in the annual financial plan, Kelly said, enabling him to manage the yearly results of the business more effectively. After budgeting and forecasting for the full year, he can refine the plan in real time as the year progresses. “I can see how sales activity is turning into business,” he explained, “and I can more easily compare actual financial data with the full-year plan.”

Kelly also uses Power BI to calculate sales incentives, prepare supplemental financial information for the company’s CPA, and support pipeline activities. “With Power BI I can see whether we are back on a sales cycle and if there is too much quiet time. If we haven’t heard from a customer in a while, it’s time to contact them.”

Accessing data to generate reports has become easier with Power BI, Kelly said, eliminating the need to compile data in Excel and run reports from Microsoft Dynamics. “I used to have to drag a Crystal report into a database or do a direct query from the Dynamics tables and mine those. Power BI is much faster and more efficient.”

Installation a Breeze

Kelly also had praise for the ease with which he and his team could begin using Power BI, and for the MaxQ team who installed and configured the Power BI solution. Once the MaxQ team understood APTMetric’s requirements, he said, they were able to write the formulas, connect the data sources, and have Kelly and his team up and running in two days.

“For setup, we needed help from the folks at MaxQ,” said Kelly. “But once it was set up, we haven’t needed much help afterwards, just an hour of consulting support from time to time.”

Only the Beginning

After one year of using Power BI, Kelly says his company is just getting started. “We addressed key business needs first, but we haven’t come anywhere close to tapping Power BI’s capabilities.”

A big benefit has come from requiring less people to do the work, said Kelly. “If I didn’t’ have these tools, I’d have a million people doing all these tasks. With Power BI, I need less professionals to get the work done, and the work is more efficient and accurate.”

Has Power BI exceeded his expectations? “Absolutely,” said Kelly. “The cost is low and the value for the money is amazing. Every day we see new ways to use the tool. It keeps giving more value.”

Has it made the business more profitable? “Yes. More forward looking, efficient, and profitable.”

“I’m a big fan,” said Kelly. “I have yet to see a downside to it.”

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.


How to Fix Incorrect Purchase Receipt Accruals

                                    In this series, we answer real-life questions from Acumatica users

QUESTION:  I have a variance in my PO accrual report. How do I correct it?

ANSWER:  If you have a report in which there is an accrual account difference, the cause may be multiple Reversals of AP Bills. If this is the case, here is how to resolve it:

First, if you perform a Reverse Action in an AP Bill created from a PO Receipt, as shown below:

Please note that the system provides a warning:

If you continue, all links to the PO Receipt are carried over to the Debit Adjustment (highlighted below):

Unfortunately, there is no restriction to the number of times the AP Bill Reversal Action can be performed, allowing, in this example, creation of a second Debit Adjustment tied to the same PO Receipt:

When the Debit Adjustments are released, the result is double Unbilled Quantities and Unbilled Amounts in the Purchase Receipt Accrual Details report:

RESOLUTION

It is not apparent how to correct this error. You can do so by creating a new AP Bill against the PO Receipt:

The system will take all documents associated with the Receipt into account and create a net Bill, i.e., double the Quantities and Amounts, as shown in this example:

Once the Bill has been released, the PO Receipt has been cleared from the report:

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.


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.