At Elevated Signals, we’re all about driving productivity and optimizing operations - so we are always keen to talk about ways to make cannabis facilities more efficient.

With this in mind, we want to explore some of the best-practice tools we see used in other environments and industries - but not necessarily in cannabis - and give you some tips on how they could help your facility...and what better place to start than Kanban boards?

Kanban what?

In its simplest form, a Kanban board is essentially a “to-do, doing, done” list. You often see them on office walls made out of sticky notes.

A form of ‘Agile’ project management, the Kanban system was originally developed in the 1940s by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer working for Toyota automotive in Japan. By using the process, the manufacturer was able to produce what was needed, only when it was needed - avoiding overproduction and the requirement to keep a large inventory. Kanban is often credited with taking Toyota from operating at a loss, to the global giant it is today.

The system gained popularity in the early 2000’s when the software industry adopted it (at Elevated Signals our team of developers rely on it) and today there are a number of Kanban board tools available that digitalize the process, making it even more effective for project management.

Advantages of using a Kanban board

Kanban boards help you visualize the progress of any project or work flow, which ultimately reduces the burden on teams and provides producers with the transparency they need to make better decisions. There are many advantages to adopting this approach in your facility, for example:

Improved visibility and collaboration: Kanban allows teams to look at the state of downstream process, helping them ask the right questions and plan for their own processes.

  • Improved visibility and collaboration: Kanban allows teams to look at the state of downstream process, helping them ask the right questions and plan for their own processes
  • Removing bottlenecks: Information is readily available so you don’t need to ask questions. It’s no longer a question of “can I package this lot” its now “when do I anticipate packaging this lot”
  • Higher predictability: Gained through less interruptions, helps you make better sales decisions, The Kanban system helps you reduce the amount of waste and better manage your inventory

Why should I adopt this approach in my facility now?  

Cannabis operations have become way more complex in recent years. While the legal industry started out focused on flower, the introduction of 2.0 products brought with it a whole load of new inputs, adding an extra layer of complexity to stock and inventory.

Furthermore, there are more skews, teams are bigger, and Covid-19 has led to less predictable supply & demand. As a result, communication between teams can often be difficult - and it’s not always easy to know what is going on in a facility at any given point.

With the industry getting more and more competitive, if producers want to survive, and thrive, they have to start exploring new, innovative ways to drive efficiencies.

Read part two of this mini series to find out how to build and use a Kanban board in your facility.

Got questions? Get in touch with us: hello@elevatedsignals.com