Dabstract cannabis concentrates

5 SOP Categories That Are a Must for Every Cannabis Extraction Business

When I’m asked what is one of the most important elements of making a cannabis business successful, my answer is always creating your SOPs. As such, I will be writing a series on the subject, and this blog will give an introductory overview of the types of SOPs appropriate for cannabis extraction facilities and their importance.

SOPs, or Standard Operating Procedures, are the work instructions, forms, reporting mechanisms, communication platforms, data collection and reporting tools that manage day to day operations of a facility.

They are essential to the success of any cannabis extraction company because they streamline the processes, assist with the training of new employees, provide an instant resource for team members, foster accountability, and ensure consistency.

Cannabis extraction facilities utilize complex processes and procedures. Workers are performing multiple involved and technical tasks that without thorough procedures and documentation would require constant supervision. SOPs help managers manage people and not processes and help free up time to scale and grow the business.

Consistency is key at every level of a business, from your employees to your management team – as well as your consumers, who expect the same quality from your product every time they make a purchase. The ability to implement and execute SOPs on a day to day basis is critical to providing reliable and consistent results that will make your business thrive.

When getting a facility online and operational, documenting and developing your SOPs will provide the structure to refine the processes and determine where additional investments will have the biggest impact on the operation. While the process of creating SOPs can be tedious, it is worth spending the time and laying the groundwork so the business can develop and innovate from a solid foundation.

At UCG, we’ve identified 5 key manufacturing SOP categories that we would recommend for any cannabis facility’s success:

  1.     Administrative
  2.     Extraction
  3.     Post Processing & Product Formulation
  4.     Packaging
  5.     Material Handling

Within these categories, UCG has over 100 in-depth SOPs and work instructions that direct day to day operations of the manufacturing facility. While this exhaustive library of SOPs took years to complete, having spent the time and resources to set a strong operational foundation gives us the ability to hire and train staff and implement facilities quickly and efficiently. Furthermore, it allows us to assess all operations and implement cost saving techniques and rapidly deploy new technologies. It also allows us to fix problems when something isn’t going right in terms of production quality, yields, or test results, as well as make our processes scalable.

We often see facilities that have underdeveloped or outdated SOPs, meaning that employees are operating and conducting their jobs from memory which makes it nearly impossible for there to be consistency at any level. In situations like this, the operation depends almost entirely on certain individuals showing up and performing the work because they are the only ones who have the knowledge or background to successfully complete a given task. This is a liability, and minimizing risks is critical for any successful operation in any industry.

Is your facility prepared for key members to be quarantined, have extended absences, or leave? SOPs allow a business to pivot quickly and continue to perform through challenging times and sudden departures.

As an operating partner, UCG provides licensees with access to our library of SOPs, which are customized to their application and facility. This is an invaluable resource that shortens the time involved in getting a new facility up and running and provides exact methods of success that have been tested, refined, and proven in multiple jurisdictions.

Dylan Thiel

Dylan Thiel is the Chief Technical Officer of Union Cannabis Group. He also designed and now serves as the Lab Director in Washington’s premier cannabis extraction facility at Phat Panda (Grow Op Farms, LLC).