Insects, powdery mildew, mites, over-watering, theft, spray damage, airy colas, low potency, high costs, weighing errors, nutrient deficiencies, low yields and, of course, messages left by regulators. These are the basic challenges every grower must address, and also the only real question is are they going to address them before they happen or after they sneak up and surprise everyone?
Risk management is the practice of avoiding surprises and mitigating those that do occur. Its goal is ensuring a shop can run regardless of the circumstances with no matter who may be on the floor. No matter who developed the cultivation process, the operation depends upon everyone following that process right down to the specifics. In a high turnover labor market, ensuring consistency and preventing errors is a challenge that standard operating procedures (SOPs) are specifically well-created to meet.
SOPs describe the facts of each task performed inside the operation right right down to the hand-washing manual. If that makes you chuckle, realize that hospitals still post hand-washing procedures today, so that should tell us something about what it takes to get a message across whilst keeping it right in front of the staff’s mind when they hustle through a full day.
SOPs are an education and communication tool which allows a whole operation to learn the process and discuss it with other people to maintain things working well. The payback is blessed, mind-numbing calm and confidence in operations, plus a better financial well being.
Way More Than Plants
When people take into consideration SOPs they generally think about how to mix nutrients or take cuttings. Those procedures do form the majority of an SOP package, but the most crucial SOPs have nothing concerning plants, but everything related to effective management.
SOPs contain each of the parameters that control plant growth. Not having them accessible when starting facility selection and design is like a coach walking on the sidelines without a game plan.
The foundational SOP for people is workflow and schedule since it describes what plants move from where, to where, when and through whom. Workflow also outlines all the tasks involved with growing plants. Add plant size to the discussion and you can predict plant capacity, yield potential and labor demand, which makes workflow quite a powerful business tool.
After investing in a revenue engine such as this, the engine has to be protected, and the most significant protection it needs comes from the operators themselves. Change (and never small change) is typical within the cannabis standard operating procedure template, and alter paves the way to mistakes, so managing it is crucial. A good business case helps make change-driven decisions, and detailed planning and implementation by management ensures revenue won’t skip a beat.
Feedback characterizes how good a procedure will be performed, and this data is the foundation for handling the process. Yield, percent of cuttings that root out, pest pressure, plant kills because of disease and the like provide an objective look at the operation’s health, good, bad or ugly.
Education is not usually regarded as a form of protection, but it is, since it protects against false facts and sloppy thinking. The greater common knowledge you may have, the less stress there is between people because they can communicate in a common tongue. That tongue is defined down within the SOPs.
The foundational SOP for all of us is workflow and schedule as it describes what plants move where, to where, when and by whom.
As noted above, the bulk of an SOP package is comprised of task descriptions identified within the workflow, including: take cuttings, sanitize trays, perform apical pinch and assign work schedules. Understanding each element of mzjexy tasks in addition to the best way to control the variables inside them is the foundation for developing a powerful SOP.
That seemingly large chore may be organized employing a technique used developing service diagnostics for printers. All the moving parts within a printer are like variables in a task. Look at all of the moving parts (variables) within the task and get of each and every, “what when it decelerates, wobbles or stops … what will happen for the output?” If you don’t such as the answer you come up with, which is a part, or variable, you need to concentrate on and manage. Determine what has to be performed to keep the part from reducing, wobbling or stopping, and document those steps in the SOP.
Accomplishing this using the numerous tasks involved with cultivation creates a mountain of knowledge which needs to be reviewed, assembled and tested for accuracy. But when that is done, the end result is the current “how-to” guide for that operation. Remember to include regulations and worker-safety tasks inside your SOPs; they move, too.
Indeed, there is absolutely no value to SOPs that take a seat on a shelf. SOPs are an organizing tool and, when used actively to teach people, they can have a powerful effect.