Leveraging AI to Cut Costs in Cannabis Operations

Kenny Hall
June 6, 2024

AI might sound like just another passing trend but, if used wisely, it can revolutionize the way that you run your cannabis business. From time-saving technologies to cost-cutting calculations, cannabis AI tools are something that every business owner needs to take a closer look at.

What Is Cannabis AI and How Does It Benefit the Industry?

AI is short for Artificial Intelligence and it’s a catch-all term for a wide range of technology. Rather than the human-like robots you might have seen in sci-fi movies, AI tools are sophisticated bits of software that excel at analyzing large amounts of data, recognizing patterns, and making predictions or decisions based on that data.

By using AI tools to evaluate vast amounts of data, it’s possible to gain brand-new insights into your operations while streamlining several procedures.

Benefits of AI in Cannabis Operations

For business owners, cannabis AI tools can be used to optimize a wide array of tasks including cultivation, production, distribution, and sales. For example, AI-powered systems can monitor and adjust growing conditions on the fly, allowing growers to optimize plant health and yield. Furthermore, AI tools can streamline supply chain management by predicting demand, managing inventory, and reducing waste. On the retail side of things, these tools can provide personalized recommendations to customers, improve marketing strategies, and enhance overall customer experiences.

AI Applications in Cannabis Cultivation

Automating Plant Monitoring

Meticulously inspecting every leaf and flower can quickly eat up an entire day. Luckily, AI tools are becoming increasingly skilled at real-time monitoring. Over the last few years, there has been a massive surge in the so-called “Internet of Things” (IoT) which has seen interconnected sensors making their way into everything from keychains to coffee pots.

In a grow space, things like hygrometers, thermometers, soil moisture sensors, and more can all be networked to allow for moment-to-moment tracking of every plant and automatically make corrections at the first sign of trouble.

Predictive Analytics for Yield Optimization

Knowing the right time to harvest is an imperfect science at best. By using a combination of historical data and real-time monitoring, cannabis AI tools can identify the perfect harvest date with enough advance notice to make sure that you get the most out of every crop. These same tools can monitor and adjust resources such as water, nutrients, and energy, as a way to further reduce waste and costs. Lastly, these tools can be used to set schedules to reduce downtime between harvests.

A cultivator is checking their cannabis plants while looking at an iPad.

Pest and Disease Management

Spotting an infestation early is key to successfully stopping it from destroying your hard work and, once again, AI tools can help with that. AI-powered image recognition software has become incredibly sophisticated in recent years and modern tools can potentially spot the very first signs of pests before they become a serious problem. What’s more, is that these systems can recommend—or even implement—preventive measures like adjusting the environment or applying targeted treatments.

Cannabis AI in Dispensary Operations

Inventory Management

Managing inventory is hard enough for any business but when your product has a relatively short shelf-life, these problems quickly compound. AI inventory management systems can monitor market trends and compare them to previous and current sales data to help maintain optimal inventory levels. Additionally, AI can monitor expiration dates and manage stock rotation to help reduce waste.

Personalized Marketing

Along the same lines, AI tools can monitor each of your customers' purchases and habits allowing for highly custom, tailor-made promotions designed to appeal to a single customer. Combined with existing loyalty programs, these promotions are a great way to increase customer engagement and retention without the need for intense market research.

A woman is looking down at her phone.

Customer Service Automation

There’s a good reason why most websites and helplines today are staffed by AI. The vast majority of customer questions can quickly be answered without the need to tie up precious resources allowing you and your employees to focus on running the day-to-day operations. While there’s no replacement for human contact, AI customer service bots are a great tool for streamlining customer communications.

Reducing Administrative Costs With Cannabis AI

Payroll Automation

Handling payroll in a timely and accurate manner is one of the most important responsibilities of any business owner. After all, you don’t work without pay, so why should your employees? Tracking and calculating everyone’s hours, vacation time, bonuses, deductions, and everything else is a constant chore that can easily overwhelm even a smaller shop.

This is an area where AI truly excels since your payroll system can be integrated directly into your scheduling system to monitor and record such things as holiday pay, overtime, vacations, and taxes owed. This takes a lot of the pressure off of your accounting team by freeing them from having to check each employee’s time cards when payday rolls around.

Scheduling and Time Tracking

Juggling the schedules of even a few people can be tricky and trying to keep an entire team on a set schedule is no small task. Once again, though, there are AI tools to help manage your employees’ schedules. With features such as automatic schedule generation, stored templates, and custom rules these tools can make scheduling a breeze.

These tools tie directly into your payroll system making a perfect storm for streamlining several processes simultaneously. With the flexible nature of AI, it’s become possible to build tools specifically aimed at cannabis dispensaries. Smart scheduling helps business owners avoid overstaffing or understaffing with real-time analytics. Strategically approve shift swaps by analyzing costs and setting custom rules, with a chronological review of all shift swaps, releases, and time-off requests in one place.

Partial screenshot of a dispensary's staff schedule.

Hiring and Onboarding

AI tools can also help you manage your workforce more efficiently and effectively. By keeping all of your employees’ data in one place, you can streamline the entire hiring and onboarding process.

When it comes to hiring, AI can help you manage applications from a single platform with digital offer letters and internal communication. Once you’ve found the perfect candidate, onboarding is a breeze with a single digital system that allows employees to fill out information, sign contracts, and upload details from any device. One login works across multiple dispensaries, centralizing employee documents and simplifying management.

Final Thoughts on Leveraging AI in Cannabis

While AI tools are a potential windfall for businesses, it’s important to remember that they’re just that – tools. No matter how sophisticated these systems might be, they still aren’t a replacement for a human workforce. AI isn’t here to replace people but to help them do their jobs better. 

If you’re curious as to how cannabis AI and automation can help your business, book a demo with KayaPush to explore the possibilities of strain free HR.

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June 2024


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