If you’re considering applying for a retail cannabis license or have already started the process, you’re going to want to allocate some time to recruiting qualified employees and staffing your operation.
Because cannabis retail is, in fact, retail, you’ll need to fill traditional managerial and staff roles like general manager, store manager, shift supervisor, and sales associate, which in cannabis is typically referred to as “budtender.” You’ll also need to hire a manager who is dedicated solely to inventory, just as you would in other retail operations.
But even though the role of inventory manager is not new or unique to the cannabis sector, the truth is that it plays a much more significant role in our industry than it does in many others. In fact, proper inventory management is absolutely crucial to the success of a retail cannabis operation.
Why? One word: Compliance.
Compliance Is Key
In traditional retail, the inventory manager must ensure that there is enough merchandise on hand to meet customer demand, but not so much that there’s overstock, which can create cash flow and storage issues. He or she must also perform inventory counts and reconciliations to make sure the product on hand lines up with the store’s transaction data.
In cannabis retail, the inventory manager does the exact same thing — except that the potential consequences for unreconciled inventory are far greater.
The fact is that in our industry, product loss or diversion can lead to a compliance infraction, which could land you a fine or, in some instances, the loss of your cannabis operator license.
5 Key Responsibilities of a Cannabis Retail Inventory Manager
Today, we’re going to take a look at five of the most important responsibilities your inventory manager will be tasked with.
1. Perform daily, monthly and yearly inventory audits and reconciliations.
As we’ve already mentioned, performing inventory audits and reconciliations is perhaps the most critical task your inventory manager will undertake. As a cannabis retailer, your inventory needs to be reconciled daily to ensure that there are no discrepancies and that all sales, receipts, returns and disposals are properly documented and reported to the appropriate state agency.
If you inadvertently report a discrepancy to the state or you get audited and an inspector find your inventory counts off, you could find yourself in serious hot water.
2. Maintain a diverse product selection.
The role of the cannabis inventory manager isn’t all doom and gloom. This person also needs to keep abreast of cannabis retail trends as well as coordinate with budtenders and front-line associates to understand what their customers are buying and what they want to see more of in the store. This way, you can keep a diverse stock that includes top-selling favorites and standbys as well as new and trending products.
3. Coordinate product orders based on projected needs.
The inventory manager also handles product orders and typically works very closely with suppliers and distributors. This means that he or she should be able to maintain a working relationship with suppliers and deal with any issues or complications that arise.
Your inventory manager should also keep an eye on other potential suppliers who may be able to service your business at a better cost.
4. Develop and implement a product merchandising strategy.
Along with maintaining a diverse selection of products to cater to your various customer segments, the inventory manager should oversee your cannabis retail store’s merchandising strategy. Merchandising refers to how you actually set up the products you’re selling within the physical store, and there’s plenty of consumer psychology studies to show that it does, in fact, have an impact on sales.
5. Maintain an organized vault/inventory storage space.
One of the quickest ways to find yourself facing an inventory discrepancy is by having a backroom or storage space in disarray. Think about it — it’s much easier to maintain accurate inventory counts and know exactly how much product you have on hand when your storage area is clean, tidy and organized. This responsibility should ultimately fall to the inventory manager.
Looking to Build Your Cannabis Retail Dream Team?
If you’re preparing to launch your retail cannabis venture and are looking to recruit qualified employees, download our free job description template for cannabis dispensaries. It’s filled with usable job descriptions you can copy and paste or modify to fit your needs — and it’s yours for free.
Download the cannabis retail job description template today!