Posted by Alexander Glueckler on

Total Quality Management for Cannabis represented by a football playerAs an ardent New England Patriots fan, I cannot help but watch my favorite NFL team win season after season to see the secret to their ongoing success. Sure, they’ve got a stellar quarterback (*cough* GOAT *cough*) and a premier coaching staff, but that alone can only take a team so far. To be as successful as the Patriots, it takes a commitment to Total Quality Management (TQM). TQM is a method by which management and employees become committed to and involved in the continuous improvement of the production and delivery of goods and services. Here we’ve taken lessons we’ve learned from my beloved Patriots, and highlighted five principles of TQM to show how applying total quality management for cannabis business can effectively increase customer loyalty, profits and brand equity:

  1. Focus on quality

In one 45-minute meeting on “situational football,” the Patriots reviewed not only their two-minute offense, but exactly how players should give the ball to the referee between plays so as not to waste precious seconds in the game. This attention to detail, commitment to quality, and continual improvement is just as important to today’s cannabis business.

Ensuring quality in the cannabis industry is more than a smart business goal — it’s a compliance mandate. Cannabis regulations vary by state — sometimes even by county — and they change frequently. As a newly regulated industry segment, it’s understandable that it takes time for lawmakers to get this right. In the meantime, the best way for cannabis companies to achieve and retain compliance is to demonstrate and document quality and consistency throughout the entire supply chain and manufacturing cycle.

  1. Show commitment to the consumer

The Patriots have a significant social media presence with over 6.5 million likes on Facebook—the second most in the NFL. It leads the league in Twitter and Instagram followers. This significant social media presence helps the Patriots stay connected with fans around the world and demonstrates the organization’s commitment to those fans. It’s a model that cannabis companies are well served to adopt.

For cannabis companies, commitment to the customer involves designing products or services that meet or exceed the customer’s expectations every single time. This involves the product itself, its functionality, attributes, convenience and even the means by which the information about a product is received by a client and the way the company interacts with its customers. It requires a company to collect, analyze and share a tremendous amount of information and use that information to engage customers and anticipate their demands.

  1. Eliminating errors

 The Patriots personify an old quote from former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula, who, when asked, “Why don’t you overlook a little mistake?” answered, “What’s a little mistake?” Cannabis companies will benefit from this kind of TQM thinking.

Total quality management for cannabis is all about eliminating errors — in manufacturing, distribution and delivery — with the intent of streamlining supply chain management and ensuring that resources are used in the most efficient way possible. It requires a high level of internal controls, defined workflows and quality control procedures.

  1. Consistency

The New England Patriots have set the standard of winning in the modern NFL and have demonstrated incredible consistency for decades. Maintaining product consistency in the cannabis industry is also a winning formula.

In addition to having a quality product that is delivered effectively to customers, product consistency is a must. When customers see product at a dispensary, they want to know what they are getting. If they tried your product last month, will it be similar this time around? Brands are associated with experience, and cannabis companies must meet that demand each and every time with their products.

  1. Employee involvement

“This is not a game Tom Brady is going to win [by himself]. Every single player matters. Every single player can change the course of the game. That’s why everybody, even the ones who are going to be on the sideline, has to enter the stadium completely prepared to be the person who wins the game for us.” Wise words from Bill Belichick during a 2018 interview. Similarly, an engaged and empowered workforce is just as important to cannabis businesses.

An engaged workforce is one where employees have the emotional ownership in what they do for the company, they are empowered to make decisions to improve processes, they provide superior service, and are keen to take up new challenges. Building an engaged, involved workforce takes a commitment from ownership and management to provide the opportunities, training and tools employees need to do their best work.

Total Quality Management — a commitment to be the best — is every bit as applicable to business as it is to football. In follow-up posts, we’ll take deeper dives into the nucleus of Total Quality Management for cannabis businesses — with ideas on how companies can incorporate quality control, quality assurance and quality improvement into every aspect of operations.

To learn more about what your company can do to incorporate Total Quality Management for cannabis business, contact us.