Document Operations, Save Your A**!

Documenting your operations sounds like a colossal waste of time. But is it? Why would any cannabis operator want to make and keep records of what they have done? Documenting operations for the creation of cannabis SOPs; on a regular schedule is, hands-down, one of the smartest ways to help your cannabis business thrive (and save your a** at the same time).

What is documenting operations?

Simply, documenting operations is capturing what goes on at the heart of your business, for instance, how your employees log inventory, dispose of green waste, or even greet and sell customers.

It captures operational issues and shortcomings, for example, improperly stored cannabis products, non-compliant label and packaging, unsanitary spaces, or even security risks so you can fix them before they become big-ticket problems.

Conversely, it also captures everything your team is doing right and facilitates a strong company culture, employee pride, not to mention more efficient profitable operations.

What can documenting operations do for my business?

First, documenting operations proves to the world that you are an experienced business leader. It shows strength, control, and transparency. It also helps your business do the following:

• Lower risk and increase peace of mind

• Identify operational issues early

• Drive product consistency

• Build and protect brand integrity

• Provide defense against unfounded allegations from disgruntled employees

• Help you negotiate better terms with insurers, bankers, lenders

• Help you negotiate better contracts with third-party suppliers

• Improve company culture

• Increase profits

It doesn’t matter if you have 10 or 2,000 employees, documenting operations is good for business.

What are best practices for documenting operations?

There are four phases to properly documenting operations:


Prior to documenting operations, establish compliant and company-specific policies and standard operating procedures (SOPs) and share them with employees. These policies and SOPs guide onboarding, training and retraining, and day-to-day operations, so they need to be maintained in an easily accessible location. Update policies and procedures as company processes improve or whenever laws and regulations change. Share them quickly and efficiently so that all employees are aware of the most current policies and SOPs that affect their workday.


Implement a repeatable system to collect meaningful business intelligence. Establish the parameters of the documentation, choose whether to document all or some operations, such as plant- or product- touching operations, customer-facing interactions, facility sanitation, or premises security.

Using the established policies and SOPs as guidance, craft pass/fail steps for each part of critical operational workflows to guide you and your team through self-audits. As appropriate, require photo documentation, uploaded documents, and/or comments to prove compliance or explain a situation.

Determine how you will collect and maintain the information. Identify who on your team will document operations; set up recurring schedules; and manage assignments.


Once information is collected, review the information to determine if further action is required at this time. Identify stakeholders and pass along kudos in the case of compliant operations, or outline steps to address documented or potential problems. Set a schedule for following up and documenting progress; add it to your reminders or work calendar.


Determine who in your company is authorized to access and share documented operational intelligence.

Determine how this information should be shared. Can it be downloaded, emailed, and printed? Shared only on a protected platform?

Decide to whom you and your team will deliver appropriate information. There are many reasons to share collected operational intelligence and ways to do so.

Do you need to reinforce or implement training innovations? Share gathered intelligence, complete with date and time-stamped photos, documents, and field comments with decision makers and affected employees.

Do you want or need to prove compliance? Share information with facility and regional managers, the C-suite, trusted advisors, existing or potential third-party suppliers or even external authorities.

Do you need to address non-compliant operations? Share the applicable information with affected parties or even trusted professionals who will advise you on best practices and solutions.

Let’s sum it up.

The power of documenting operations and using this information to inform management cannot be over-stated. It helps smart business operators improve processes, cut excess operational costs, mitigate risk, solidify product consistency, protect your brand, increase competitive advantage and ultimately, increase your bottom line.

We can help. ProCanna is a user- and mobile-friendly cloud-based platform that provides everything you need to establish, implement, and maintain an operational documentation system that will add efficiency and accountability to your business and improve your bottom line. Give us a call at 207-400-9584, ping us on social media, or email for more information.

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