How the Cannabis Industry Uses RFID Technology to Cultivate Business Intelligence from Seed to Sale
With its unique capabilities, RFID is generally considered to be the Cadillac of auto ID technologies for the cannabis industry, allowing solutions that address both strict regulations and daily business needs of operators.
RFID has wide-ranging benefits for the cannabis industry that range from tracking individual plants to real-time inventorying of thousands of plants to business intelligence capabilities that can integrate with systems for plant lifecycle management, plant, and package inventory, and more.
Today we’ll discuss the wide-reaching impact RFID has to offer the Cannabis industry.
Tracking Highly Regulated Products
Cannabis is a highly regulated industry that involves valuable cannabis plants, by-products, finished products, and shipping units. In non-metrc states that don’t require RFID for tracking, companies may use traditional barcode systems or even paper-based manual systems, which don’t offer ease of tracking and have more limitations than RFID. Learn more about metrc (marijuana, enforcement, tracking, reporting and compliance) and non-metrc standards in our recent blog.
RFID: Highly Effective Tracking and Business Intelligence
RFID can provide item-level tracking of individual high-value assets (cannabis plants, by-products, and finished products) with real-time reporting back to the respective regulatory body. RFID is an ideal auto ID technology to provide functionality with the ability to track each individual item.
It also has the capability for bulk reading thousands of tags (items) in minutes without the physical line-of-sight needed with traditional barcodes. Manual and barcode-based tracking and inventory operations can take hours or even days to complete.
RFID also provides a dramatic increase in accuracy and corresponding reduction in errors, which improves efficiency and ROI for cannabis companies. With a hand-written ledger for example, you can quickly imagine the potential for errors. And barcodes are easy to miss, easy to double scan, and can be obscured by dirt and grime so prevalent in grow environments. A properly implemented RFID solution can deliver more than 99% accuracy.
Another benefit is providing Real-Time Locating Services (RTLS). Need to find a specific plant or batch of plants? Most modern RFID systems support some type of “Geiger counter” or dashboard functionality to locate items within a meter or two, making it easier to find specific plants.
And optimizing effectiveness means RFID will allow you to get more done with fewer employees. Cannabis operators generally design and pilot their operations in stages. In the initial stages, labor is usually not an issue. Operations are limited, scales are small, and there are plenty of people to monitor and evaluate the budding enterprise. But with the flip of a switch, cannabis operators can work to transform from a limited pilot operation to full production. When this happens, the only solutions are to either hire many new employees or have auto ID infrastructure already in place that can handle the sudden increase in size and volume. With a properly designed RFID solution, operators can easily transition from pilot scenario to full production.
Print RFID Labels In-House with Printers Designed to Work Right Out of the Box
RFID plant stakes, wrap-tags and other tag types used in the cannabis industry can be difficult to print and encode with traditional RFID-enabled printers. The tags can be relatively thick, stiff and have unforgiving edges. TSC Printronix Auto ID developed the T6000e and T4000 series enterprise-grade RFID printers to work right out of the box with tag constructions like these. These printers are able to print and encode RFID standard labels, plant tags and even on-metal tags, offering a robust, in-house printing solution to leverage RFID technology. The T6000e also comes in a 6-inch model, which can handle plant stakes and tags up to 6.8 inches in width.
These RFID printers are available with our Try and Buy Program to minimize your risk. Or you can talk to one of our printer experts to determine the best printer for your application. Schedule a consult online: FREE Printer Expert Consult.