Cannabis Packaging Pain Points: Slow Turnaround Times & Long Lead Time | Sana Packaging

Cannabis Packaging Pain Points: Slow Turnaround Times & Long Lead Times

From seed to sale, cannabis is a heavily regulated industry and compliance is the name ...

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From seed to sale, cannabis is a heavily regulated industry and compliance is the name of the game. This is especially true when it comes to packaging because you simply can’t sell your cannabis products unless you have compliant packaging that arrives on time. 

Looking at the cannabis packaging regulatory environment, every legal cannabis market requires some form of ASTM child-resistant certified packaging, whether it’s the primary product-touching layer of packaging or a secondary layer of packaging like an exit bag. 

Furthermore, some states require cannabis packaging to be opaque while others do not, and some states require specific wall thicknesses for cannabis packaging while others do not. There are also a number of labeling requirements to keep track of and, of course, these too vary state-by-state. 

Looking at the larger cannabis industry regulatory environment, another reason packaging is so important is that it is often the primary product differentiator at the retail level. Unlike buying produce at a grocery store, in most legal cannabis markets you can’t pick up and touch, feel, smell, or see cannabis products before making a purchase. 

You’re likely making your cannabis purchasing decision based on a combination of brand reputation and shelf appeal - i.e. packaging. 

So if you’re a cannabis brand, producer, distributor, or retailer that is already navigating the nuanced landscape of cannabis packaging regulations and labeling requirements, the last thing you want to deal with is a packaging pain point that can affect your ability to legally sell and distribute your products. 

This blog series will explore some of the most common cannabis packaging pain points and reveal opportunities to solve them. 

Some of the most common cannabis packaging pain points include:

1. Slow turnaround times and long lead times

2. Expensive shipping and international shipping challenges

3. Poor customer service

4. High minimum order quantities

5. Complicated customization processes

6. Unsustainable materials

This blog post will examine slow turnaround times and long lead times, what causes them, and how you can address these issues. 

Slow Turnaround Times & Long Lead Times

When the livelihood of your cannabis business is dependent on compliant packaging that arrives on time, slow turnaround times and long lead times are both frustrating and detrimental to your business. 

So what causes slow turnaround times and long lead times?

Poor Planning

When compliance is the name of the game, proper planning is the winning strategy. Some things, like custom printing and labeling requirements, inevitably contribute to slower turnaround times and longer lead times. 

Typically, the only cannabis packaging products that ship next-day are blank products. And unless you have the means to fulfill your printing and labeling needs in-house, your cannabis packaging is likely going to require some level of customization, adding additional touchpoints.

Too Many Points of Contact

The more people you need to communicate with when you order cannabis packaging the more opportunities there are for important details to get lost in translation or an unnecessary game of telephone. 

This is especially true when custom printing and labeling is a part of your order and too many points of contact can quickly contribute to slower turnaround times and longer lead times.

Long Travel Distances

This is fairly obvious, but products that ship from overseas have longer lead times than products produced and shipped from domestic locations. Working with partners in drastically different time zones can also contribute to slower turnaround times. 

It’s worth noting that products produced overseas have a much larger carbon footprint than products produced domestically. In fact, shipping a single 25-pound package from China to the United States emits roughly the same amount of carbon as three cars over the course of an entire year. 

Ultimately, the best way to address any cannabis packaging pain point is to work with a packaging supplier you can trust and to build a long-term relationship with your packaging supplier. 

So what are some steps you can take to mitigate your cannabis packaging turnaround times and lead times? 

Talk to Your Cannabis Packaging Supplier

It all starts with a conversation! You need to talk to your cannabis packaging supplier to ensure you are on the same page. Only then can you begin building the trust required to sustain a long-term working relationship. 

Ask These 4 Key Questions

1. Where is your packaging produced and where does it ship from?
Packaging produced domestically will inevitably have shorter lead times than packaging produced overseas. Buying domestically produced packaging is also one of the easiest ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your cannabis business. 

2. Can you facilitate our printing and labeling requirements?
A cannabis packaging supplier that can facilitate your printing and labeling requirements will help streamline your packaging and labeling process and reduce turnaround times and lead times. 

3. What are your typical lead times for products that require custom printing and labeling? 
Again, proper planning is the winning strategy! While this is an obvious question, you don’t want to forget to ask and risk being caught off guard by a longer turnaround time or lead time than anticipated. A good cannabis packaging supplier runs a tight ship and should have a canned response to this question. 

4. Will I have a dedicated sales representative that knows me, my business, and my needs?
A dedicated sales representative can make a world of difference when it comes to streamlining communication, printing and labeling services, and shipping logistics. Every cannabis business is different and every cannabis business has its own unique needs, so working with a dedicated sales representative that knows you, your business, and your needs can save you a lot of time, money, and logistical headaches. 

Create a Packaging Ordering Schedule

A key part of proper planning is creating a cannabis packaging ordering schedule and doing your best to stick to it. This is a great way to mitigate longer turnaround times and lead times. 

This is also a great way to save money by minimizing your risk of having to rush an order. For instance, if you know that your cannabis packaging orders with custom printing and labeling requirements typically have a 3-4 week lead time, you should place your reorders 5-6 weeks before you run out of packaging. 

Key Takeaways About Slow Turnaround Times and Long Lead Times

As we mentioned above, the best way to address any cannabis packaging pain point is to work with a packaging supplier you can trust and to build a long-term relationship with them. 

Furthermore, one of the best ways to communicate your cannabis brand’s commitment to sustainability is through your packaging, but you need to have packaging that prioritizes sustainability first! 

Contact us if you’re ready to discover the real impact your packaging has on the environment and you’re ready to build a long-term relationship with a cannabis packaging supplier you can trust. It all starts with a conversation!

The second post in our blog series about cannabis packaging pain points will explore expensive shipping and international shipping challenges