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Alex Burnett: Continuous Improvement Efforts Are Rare in Cannabis

How lean manufacturing principles can have a profound impact on cannabis operators.

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This week, Alex Burnett, co-founder of Canna Innovations, joins the Cannabis Equipment News podcast to discuss how lean manufacturing principles can have a profound impact on cannabis operators. 

About three years ago, Burnett left the corporate world with aspirations of setting up his own shop using his expertise in lean manufacturing and data analysis. He was intrigued when he saw lean manufacturing principles used in horticulture, particularly greenhouses. At the time, the cannabis market in Oklahoma, where Burnett is based, was just starting to take off. 

Burnett worked in the manufacturing industry for some 30 years in some very cost-competitive industries. He realizes that no company is ever operating at the highest possible level of efficiency, and says there is always some room for improvement — and as any industry reaches a saturation point, companies look to improve operational efficiencies to reduce costs. 

While Burnett has seen growing interest in lean manufacturing practices from MSOs, he says it is rare for small to mid-sized operations to show any interest. Sometimes, something as simple as keeping a clean, well-organized facility can save operators hours of labor every week. 

His focus on operational efficiency also led Burnett to design and develop the Trellis Trap, which significantly cuts the time spent removing plastic netting. 

Jump around:

  • The state of lean manufacturing in cannabis. (5:22)
  • Low-hanging fruit for small to mid-size operators. (6:15) 
  • How to save hours just by keeping tools more organized. (11:51)
  • Why lead growers and management need to set expectations for tool and inventory management. (13:10)
  • Value-stream mapping for the cannabis industry. (23:33)
  • The birth of the Trellis Trap, the industry's response and ROI. (26:50)
  • A deep dive into the Trellis Trap. (33:20)
  • How long it will take for cannabis to catch up with modern manufacturing. (39:47)
  • The state of cannabis in Oklahoma. (41:51)

Please make sure to like, subscribe and share the podcast. You could also help us out by giving the podcast a positive review. Finally, to email the podcast or suggest a potential guest, you can reach David Mantey at [email protected].

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