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When to Upgrade from Manual to Automated Pre-Roll Equipment

Pre-roll production has emerged as a highly profitable niche.

The KungTech GCP from One Supply can make 396 pre-rolls in just 60 seconds.
The KungTech GCP from One Supply can make 396 pre-rolls in just 60 seconds.
One Supply

The cannabis industry has been on a remarkable growth trajectory in recent years, spurred by shifting regulations and surging consumer demand. In this ever-evolving landscape, pre-roll production has emerged as a highly profitable niche. As businesses strive to keep pace with this burgeoning demand, the pivotal decision of when to transition from manual equipment to automated machinery takes center stage. 

Scalability Matters

One of the foremost reasons to contemplate upgrading to automated equipment for pre-roll production is scalability. Manual processes are inherently constrained by the speed and efficiency of human operators, rendering it increasingly challenging to meet the demands of a growing market. 

Conversely, automated machinery offers the promise of consistent and rapid production capabilities. As your business expands, automated equipment becomes the linchpin for maintaining a seamless supply of pre-rolls without compromising quality.

Unwavering Quality & Consistency

Maintaining unwavering product quality and consistency is critical in the cannabis industry. Automated equipment is designed to execute repetitive tasks precisely, ensuring uniformity in pre-roll production. This uniformity not only elevates the overall quality of your products but also fortifies your brand's reputation as consumers learn to trust your quality standards.

Manual pre-roll production relies heavily on skilled labor, which can be prohibitively expensive and susceptible to human errors. Transitioning to automated equipment is not just about streamlining processes; it's about reducing labor costs, mitigating the risk of errors and redeploying your workforce into more specialized and strategic roles within your organization. This cost-saving advantage becomes all the more significant as your production volume swells.

Navigating Regulatory Hurdles

The cannabis industry is a landscape strewn with regulatory hurdles, and adherence to local and federal regulations is a paramount concern. Automated equipment often has built-in compliance features, such as data tracking and reporting capabilities, which can be a game-changer for cannabis businesses, helping adhere to stringent regulatory requirements and, thus, lowering the risk of non-compliance and the associated penalties.

Speeding Up the Production Process

Automation presents a significant acceleration in the pre-roll creation process. Automated machines can fill, twist and package pre-rolls at a rate far surpassing manual labor, allowing your business to deftly navigate demand surges and capitalize on market opportunities. This heightened efficiency can translate into additional revenue and profitability for your enterprise.

Embracing Versatility & Adaptability

Certain automated equipment is versatile and adaptable, enabling companies to explore new product offerings. Be it different strains, blends or packaging options, automation can streamline the production of diverse pre-roll variations, keeping you competitive and attuned to ever-shifting consumer preferences.

Careful consideration is paramount when selecting automation equipment for your operations. It's crucial to prioritize machines that emphasize versatility and easy changeover as their primary benefits. While automation can significantly enhance production efficiency, some automated systems may have slow changeover processes that could negate their advantages. This issue becomes particularly pertinent when managing a wide array of product SKUs. 

In such cases, the time spent on changeovers for automated machines may overshadow any potential gains in production efficiency. Therefore, it's imperative to strike a balance and choose automation equipment that aligns with the specific needs and product variety of your business, ensuring that the benefits of increased automation are maximized without compromising operational agility.

Calculating the Return on Investment (ROI)

While the upgrade to automated equipment entails a significant upfront investment, assessing the long-term return on investment is imperative. Evaluate your current production costs, labor expenses and market potential to discern when the investment will bear fruit. In many instances, the enhanced efficiency and quality delivered by automation can usher in a swifter return on your investment.

Another key calculation when evaluating equipment is "Pay Back Period," which is calculated by dividing the equipment cost by the equipment's annual cost savings and multiplying by 12. 

For example, if you spend $200,000 a year on labor and the machine costs $100,000, your payback period is six months. $100,000/$200,000 x 12 = 6

In the swiftly evolving cannabis industry, the question is not whether to upgrade from manual to automated equipment for pre-roll production but when to make that pivotal move. Enterprises must meticulously evaluate their present needs, growth projections, and financial constraints to pinpoint the right juncture for this transition. 

Automation isn't just a matter of convenience; it represents a strategic maneuver capable of revolutionizing your pre-roll creation process and positioning your brand as a formidable player in the industry.

Rachel Neves is the marketing manager of One Supply. She can be reached at [email protected].

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