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February 8, 2022

Cannabis Business Procurement: How to find Trusted Suppliers

Recent supply chain uncertainty has proven that it is more important than ever to ensure that your cannabis business has material vendors that you can trust.  Supply chain and procurement have a direct effect on your bottom line and should be a priority in the fiscal management of your business.  In this blog, we will discuss some of the things you should keep in mind when looking for suppliers to support your business.

Before you search for a new vendor, have a good understanding of your company’s ideals, and needs. This will help guide you when looking for a new vendor. 

Your company ideals should be pervasive throughout your company, and that even includes your supply chain.  Make sure that you are working with vendors with shared ideals.  If your company prioritizes organics, work with vendors who offer and understand organic materials. If giving back is important, find vendors that are charitable. Having vendors with similar or matching ideals will be helpful.

Identifying the exact needs of your company is critical.  When changing vendors, it could open an opportunity for consolidation or a cost change.  Maybe you lose your paper goods vendor, but through reviewing your current vendors and needs, you find that you can order the same paper goods from a vendor you already have, thus consolidating your needs, streamlining a portion of your purchasing, and potentially helping towards a price break.

Search Away

You now understand your company’s ideals and have identified the needs. The search for the vendor begins.  You can find new vendors a few ways – referrals and online are the most popular ways. Also, a vendor’s reputation is important, so you want to know what that reputation is.  Ask your peers if they know the vendor and get their thoughts.  Look online to see what folks are saying.  A few extra minutes of digging can help bring confidence in the vendor. 

Once you have identified your target vendors, there are many questions to ask them to see if they are the right fit for your company.

In no particular order:

  • Do you offer terms or payment options?
  • Are there discounts for early payment?
  • What type of discounts and deals do they offer?
  • Are their pricing tiers?
  • When do pricing changes occur?
  • When are products introduced or discontinued?
  • Do they have a recall program?
  • What are your lead times?
  • What are your minimum orders?
  • Is their a fulfillment rate? Or do they suffer a lot of out of stocks?
  • What are your delivery options?
  • Do they offer special orders?
  • What are your delivery days?  What are the delivery times? Can we pick up orders if possible?
  • What is the return policy?
  • Order online or in person?
  • Do I have a rep?  How often will I see them?

Another aspect to consider is what type of educational, product, or equipment support does the vendor offer.

  • Do they offer trainings on product or equipment?
  • Will they keep me apprised of new items or trends in the industry?
  • Do they offer technical support?
  • Do they provide samples?

Then finally, and maybe most importantly, would they provide you with all the appropriate regulatory support when applicable or needed? You want to make sure that you are working with vendors who have a good understanding of the regulations revolving around their products. This is so critical to your operations, as you never want to run afoul of the regulatory departments you may have to deal with.

If you can keep these important things in mind when vetting your vendors, it will help you find vendors that you can rely on and more importantly, trust.