Managing product dates are a critical part of the cannabis industry, second only to making a quality product. Successful operators are actively managing the entire lifecycle of what they produce, and actively track the age something was produced along with other key dates, to help ensure the freshness and quality of their products. A product’s expiration date is the last date to be managed, but can be the most consequential. Once the expiration date hits, your options become extremely limited. You can attempt to re-process the product, but not all products can be reprocessed, and the cost is very high and may not be worthy what you are able to extract. Then, the only other option is to destroy the product, a complete loss. So how do you effectively manage to expiration date?
How expiration dates are set
Always check your local regulations, but the majority of states set expiration dates based on the TESTED date, not the packaged date. Once the test results for a product come in, the clock starts ticking.
How products are purchased
Expiration date is certainly a factor – no organization would willingly buy expired product unless they expected to be able to reprocess it for a profit – but most organizations purchase based on harvested or packaged date, when the product was “created”. A common threshold is “90 days” – this is often used as a benchmark for freshness and quality.
How to effectively manage product dates
The first step to is to actively manage your inventory. What do we mean by “actively manage?” It means to have a clear accounting of every package you have, where it is located, how much, and how old it is. Appature makes this easy with two reports: Inventory Aging and Active Inventory:
Inventory aging gives you an immediate view to two aspects of actively managing your inventory – age and location. Use aging to quickly understand what products are at risk for depreciated value (90+ days).
Active Inventory provides all the minute details you need to get your inventory into shape. Use age to identify products at risk of expiration and work an action plan for those first. Next, look into the products approaching 90 days. Many wholesale and retail customers will not purchase anything 90 days beyond the packaged date.
This naturally creates some tension, as the tested date will typically be at least a few days later than the packaged date, depending on how quick testing turnaround is.
To avoid costly mistakes and having to scramble to move inventory, a regular part of your daily and weekly inventory routines should be checking ages. First, check for packages that are approaching a year past the tested date. Next, check the inventory approaching 90 days. Those two areas should be priority for the sales team. These routine checks will significantly reduce the amount of inventory you lose due to expiration and increase the average value of your inventory by helping make sure you sell before it hits key depreciation dates.