Two things that appear to be constant in the cannabis industry are growth and change. As cannabis companies look to expand and improve operations, it is not enough to implement an ERP system and appoint someone in accounting or operations to oversee the implementation. Cannabis companies really need to hire an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Manager. The benefit of having someone like an ERP Manager in the organization that has a clear understanding of business processes and how each area needs to utilize the system will better position the company for building an ERP system that is not just for today, but also addresses the needs of the business tomorrow.
The Job of an ERP Manager
Before outlining qualities cannabis companies should consider when hiring an ERP Manager, it’s important to understand the role of the position. An ERP Manager helps coordinate how a company should operate and unites the various functional areas within an organization. The primary role of an ERP Manager is to be the point person working with the software solution provider to help develop, plan, implement and maintain a company’s ERP system.
An ERP Manager works closely with the company’s management team and its various departments to formulate processes – understanding what they do, why they do it and what operational challenges or issues exist. Ultimately, the goal for an ERP Manager is to implement an ERP system that will address the needs of the different areas of the company, improve efficiencies and allow the company to scale its growth.
Consider potential cost benefits
Typically, when a company adds to headcount, additional costs (salary, benefits, perks) that come with hiring a senior manager are to be expected. When choosing to add an ERP Manager to the team, cannabis companies can benefit from some cost savings. Forgoing the hiring of a manager and assigning the responsibilities of an ERP implementation to an existing employee can lead to increased dependency on ERP consultants – which can lead to higher costs. Under this scenario, you can expect to pay more for outside consultants, and you also run the risk of paying for a system that includes more than you need.
A knowledgeable ERP Manager can help ensure the company invests in and implements a software system with the capabilities needed. They can also facilitate training and document information to build a more self-sustainable process for educating employees and maintaining the system. Over time, the company will develop internal expertise and the ERP Manager can coordinate ongoing training and internal support, which can result in cost savings.
Knowledge and experience
Now that you have a clearer picture on how hiring an ERP Manager can benefit a cannabis company, the next question is: What qualities and experience should a candidate for the position possess? To begin, look for a candidate that has experience with ERP implementations. That experience does not need to be on a specific software platform, but the person needs to understand how ERP software works and can be utilized within a company. While previous experience in the cannabis industry can be a plus, it isn’t necessary. As you prepare your search for the right fit to fill the position, here is list of recommendations on what to look for when you’re ready to hire an ERP Manager:
- Previous experience in a highly regulated industry such as manufacturing, horticulture or food industries is a plus
- An understanding of accounting
- Experience managing systems and business processes
- Previous experience with a smaller company in growth mode
- Strategic thinker with good communication skills
- Problem solver
- Detail oriented
- Collaborator, consensus builder
ERP Manager for a leading cannabis company, Ben Marchi-Young, explains, “This is not a traditional Project Management position; companies are best to hire someone with manufacturing experience that understands an ERP system and business process. You need someone that will be involved in using the system and teach others.”
Peter Allison, director of ERP systems for Sentia Wellness adds, “It’s my job to know the software and process of what we do and look at how we can automate specific functions, what we can remove and make sure we have clarity on the steps. I also look at whare we need to put in validation checks to make sure the workflow is successful. That is the job of an ERP Manager.”
Silverleaf is an ERP solution specifically designed for the cannabis industry and built on the Microsoft Business Central platform. Contact us to learn more about our ERP solution and services and how we can be a valued partner.