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SMART Warehouse Planning For Missouri Cannabis Companies

SMART Warehouse Planning For Missouri Cannabis Companies

The aggressive search for space and technology can launch a winning operation.

If Missouri’s new cannabis industry has stirred your business instincts, now is the time to act. Voter approval of medical cannabis has sparked a frenzy of business development. A primary step for producers, manufacturers, and distributors is finding warehouse space. That’s not going to get easier if you wait.

“Space is going to evaporate quickly,” says Mike Markham, Commenco’s Director of Technology Solutions. “You can count on it.”

Markham’s career includes experience in Colorado’s warehouse market during the early years of that state’s cannabis industry.

“The warehouse space in Denver was eaten up in no time. Businesses snatched up available facilities while new ones were being built. All of it was related to cannabis. Kansas City is going to be the same scenario.”

Mark Long, President, and CEO of commercial real estate giant Newmark Grubb Zimmer, started seeing signs of a ‘green rush’ earlier than you might expect.

“We had inquiries about commercial space before cannabis even went to a vote in Missouri.”

Long says Kansas City already enjoys a solid industrial real estate market, and he expects the cannabis industry to add to its strength.

“We are showing space for cannabis purposes regularly and we believe the pace is only going to pick up. Most of the people talking to us are very serious. I mean, they are real, and they’re interested in all kinds of facilities to accommodate anything from growing to distribution and retail.”

Long doesn’t expect the cannabis industry to have the kind of sweeping impact as the railroad industry, for example, but he does see it bringing significant change.

“Property managers, building owners and the commercial real estate industry in general are going to have to adjust and learn the nuances involved. Cannabis is going to provide jobs and take space. It will be a flurry of activity.”

Regardless of the kind of cannabis operation you’re launching, Long offers a piece of advice for your real estate search.

“Get a team of experts to help you who know their way around and know what’s involved. You are going to need them.”

Markham expects Commenco’s cannabis clients to include anyone operating in a warehouse space such as manufacturers, distributors and third-party warehouse companies.

Like Commenco, many warehouse companies specialize in meeting tough regulatory standards similar to those taking shape in Missouri’s cannabis industry. Markham says rather than build from the ground up, manufacturers and distributors commonly contract warehouse companies to provide space and manage just about everything that happens there.

“They handle much of the operation outside of more specialized agricultural processes that may be part of a cannabis business. So businesses that contract warehouse companies pay for the whole package as they need it rather than taking on the responsibility of the infrastructure and operation themselves.”

Markham says warehouse companies in Kansas City are likely eyeing the rising cannabis industry right now and preparing to change directions.

“You’re going to see warehouse companies run out current contracts and switch to cannabis clients because the opportunity may simply be more valuable.”

After you find space for your cannabis operation, you need to set it up for success. That’s where Commenco comes in as an inventory and security technology provider with deep experience stretching back decades. Markham says Commenco’s roots in communications hardware combined with expertise in the wireless infrastructure that supports hardware, makes it an ideal partner.

“The design of communications infrastructure is different for every warehouse because there are many levels of complexity to consider when you’re connecting people and tools within a specific space.”

Markham says analysis of a warehouse environment begins with a site survey that captures the basics of the space and the demand that will be placed on the wireless infrastructure.

“Will there be 20 workers or 200? Will they be mobile on forklifts or other equipment? What kinds of devices will they be using? Those are the kinds of factors that determine the need for routers and other access points.”

How the warehouse space is used is also an important factor when designing a wireless infrastructure that can sustain operations over time.

“There’s the overall amount of space inside a warehouse and then there are the objects that fill it. How is inventory stacked? How is equipment stored? What are the spatial relationships between inventory, equipment and people? All of this needs to be considered to create a wireless infrastructure that’s reliable and not riddled with disconnected pockets here and there.”

The next step is matching the needs of the warehouse operation with the right inventory tracking and security hardware, and making sure all of it connects well with the wireless infrastructure and software systems that keep managers in control. Markham says Commenco specializes in making sure everything works together on a comprehensive level.

“You really don’t want a fragmented approach to all of this. Putting together a wireless infrastructure, hardware and software should be a unified effort to make sure your operation is set up and optimized from end to end.”

Markham is quick to also point out that setup is not the end of the story. Maintenance is a fact of life. Unlike other technology providers, Commenco won’t just walk away after getting your warehouse up and running.

“We maintain what we put together. That way you don’t have to worry about lots of downtime or troubleshooting yourself if there’s a wireless system or hardware glitch.”

So if you want to win in what’s expected to be a very competitive cannabis industry in Missouri, find the right warehouse space and technology partners as soon as possible to secure a powerful advantage right from the start.

Commenco is your trusted source of warehouse communication technology information as the cannabis industry evolves in Missouri.

Learn more about technology solutions for Cannabis Operations