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7 Ways 4PL Companies Can Help the Cannabis Industry

And the two big challenges these companies face.

The Symple Seeds fulfillment facility in Florida.
The Symple Seeds fulfillment facility in Florida.
Symple Seeds

As the cannabis industry grows and matures, novel business solutions are needed to bring the sector forward and encourage further growth and legitimacy. Fourth-party logistics (4PL) organizations are common in other industries, and 4PL cannabis companies can improve the cannabis sector, too.

What is Fourth Party Logistics?

Fourth-party logistics (4PL) refers to a business providing all supply chain management, logistics, and more, to other partner companies. For example, Symple Seeds fills this niche in the cannabis industry — they are a cannabis seed distribution company offering shipping and logistics, supply chain management, customer service, order and customer tracking, and even seed and strain creation. In short, they are a full-service 4PL company that provides everything their clients need to run their cannabis businesses effectively.

7 Ways 4PL Companies Can Help the Cannabis Industry

The cannabis industry has experienced massive growth over the past several years. 4PL companies are uniquely suited to helping cannabis companies — and, therefore, the industry as a whole — continue to expand and become the best it can be.

1. Increased Cannabis Supply Chain Visibility

Because 4PL companies consolidate every step in the supply chain into one provider, 4PL makes it easier to oversee the entire process. Keeping track of the whole process ensures transparency and efficiency and helps maintain the finished product's quality.

Supply chain monitoring, management, and transparency are critical in the cannabis industry to ensure the quality of all products that make it to market. More and more companies are emphasizing oversight from “seed to sale,” from the beginning of a cannabis product’s lifecycle to the moment it is purchased. 4PL companies enable monitoring during each of these steps.

2. Streamlined Cannabis Compliance

Working in the cannabis industry requires navigating legal regulations and ensuring product quality to maintain compliance. 4PL companies are well-equipped to handle regulatory issues because they specialize in helping cannabis companies operate.

The traceability and transparency that come with 4PL operations also assist in navigating issues of cannabis company compliance; having an organized, easily trackable supply chain will make it easier to prove compliance and demonstrate that each process step is operating as it should be.

3. Technology Integration to Modernize the Cannabis Industry

One of the most significant benefits that true 4PL companies can offer to the cannabis industry is advanced technology. 4PL companies offer real-time product tracking and management to help create more efficient operations and more informed companies.

Many 4PL companies also offer customer relationship management (CRM) services. When combined with product and order tracking, 4PL companies can assist you in providing stellar customer service to the consumers who help your business succeed.

4. More Efficient Cannabis Shipping & Logistics

When you work with a 4PL company, you only have to communicate with one other business to facilitate your entire supply chain. There are fewer moving parts for you to keep track of and coordinate, making shipping and logistics exponentially more straightforward and efficient. Ensuring efficiency in your cannabis supply chain will help your business run more effectively and serve customers better.

5. Cannabusiness Cost Optimization

Optimizing operations and increasing efficiency also leads to more cost-efficient businesses. Cannabis 4PLs save clients significant operating costs by cutting unnecessary processes and ensuring things move smoothly to serve more customers more effectively.

6. Customizable Solutions for Each Cannabis Client

Cannabis regulations vary widely from state to state. Every cannabis company is different, and 4PL companies are equipped with a wide range of strategies and services that can be tailored to serve all different types of customers.

For example, Symple Seeds has extensive warehouse and supplier networks and prides themselves on serving all different types of cannabis companies. From local dispensaries to extensive multistate operators (MSOs), 4PL companies are equipped to handle the needs of many businesses.

7. Scalable and Flexible Solutions for the Evolving Cannabis Sector

The cannabis industry is constantly evolving. The nature of 4PL companies makes it easy to adjust service offerings and operations based on client’s evolving needs in the face of regulatory changes.

Most notably, working with a 4PL company makes it easy for cannabusinesses to scale up or down as needed to respond to changing demands or temporary roadblocks in their local cannabis industry.

2 Challenges Facing 4PL Cannabis Companies

Despite the many advantages that 4PL companies can bring to the cannabis industry, this business model still has to contend with significant hurdles.

1. Navigating a Complex Regulatory Environment

As already mentioned, the complicated legal landscape surrounding cannabis is typically the most challenging aspect of business for any company in the sector. However, 4PL providers are more well-equipped to deal with these confusing legal frameworks and regulatory roadblocks than most other cannabis logistics companies. Because 4PL companies integrate all of the necessary services under one umbrella, they have more power to navigate complex legal landscapes and more experience doing so.

2. Overcoming Cannabis Industry Stigma

Another major challenge facing any company operating in the cannabis industry is the continued stigma this sector faces. Public opinion and misunderstandings about cannabis can make finding partners, such as shipping providers and warehouse leases, more challenging than in other industries.

However, recent cannabis industry news, like the potential rescheduling of cannabis, signals a positive shift for the industry as a whole. Public opinion of cannabis is changing, too; more than 85% of Americans now feel that medical or adult-use cannabis should be legalized. Ideally, it will become easier for businesses in the cannabis industry to operate with the help of 4PL companies as legislation and public opinion continue to shift.

The Future of 4PL in the Growing Cannabis Industry

As more cannabis companies embrace the help of 4PL organizations, like Symple Seeds, the industry will continue to grow and thrive. 4PL companies will help the industry in many ways, as these organizations are well-equipped to deal with the hurdles facing any business that operates in the cannabis industry.

Additionally, 4PL companies will ultimately help the cannabis industry grow and scale, becoming recognized as a legitimate and profitable burgeoning industry by the business world as a whole.

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