Canadian Retailer, AR Cannabis, Manages Supply Chain Stability with Cova’s Dispensary Software Solution

AR Cannabis
With six popular cannabis dispensaries across British Columbia, Canada, (and two more on the way), AR Cannabis has earned a reputation for stellar customer service that’s a notch high above the competition. The retailer trusts its staff to tune into each unique community they serve, provide the finest quality cannabis products, and build strong, lasting relationships. 
“We empower our managers,” Matt Chernoff, AR Cannabis Chief Operating Officer, told Cova in an interview. “They know the community, they know who their clientele is, and they order products accordingly to what is best for that community rather than telling the community what’s best for them.” 
But like any cannabis retailer, AR Cannabis constantly faces the forces of competitive pricing, the need to quickly respond to changing market dynamics, the ability to keep inventory flowing, all while at the same time having shelves stocked. This was particularly challenging in the summer of 2022 during a B.C. labor strike.  

Canadian Cannabis Supply Chain Issues
In August of 2022, the worker’s strike forced B.C.’s provincial cannabis distributor to endure a warehouse shut down. A press release from the Cannabis Council of Canada at the time, stated, “The result of the strike on the cannabis industry has been a disrupted supply chain with no shipments in or out of distribution centers, resulting in the halt of cannabis products from licensed producers and processors to retail stores and consumers.” 
In the wake of the strikes, many Canadian cannabis retailers found themselves struggling to keep shelves stocked with products and employees on the clock to serve customers. “We’re out of that product,” is a phrase no customer wants to hear, and without stable inventory, it became an unfortunate, repetitive reply for many Canadian budtenders in B.C. at the time. 

Enter Cova Software
With Cova Software as their cannabis technology partner, AR Cannabis was able to quickly generate advanced, comprehensive reports enabling the retail cannabis chain to gain actionable insights to navigate supply chain challenges. The company was able to track real-time dispensary performance, and make quick AI-powered decisions in, and around, four critical questions important to every cannabis retailer.

– What does our Customer Traffic Look Like During the Day/Week/Year?
– How Are Our Different Cannabis Products, Brands, and Categories Performing?
– How Do Our Promotions and Discounts Perform?
– How Is Our Cannabis Retail Business Performing, Overall?

Cova’s deep reporting functionality answers key questions that helped AR Cannabis make smart buying decisions and stay one step ahead of its competition. With the “Reorder” report, the retailer was able to see which products to buy, at what quantity, when to reorder, what to stop reordering, and how much cash was attributable to their inventory.

During the strike, the retail chain ran Cova inventory reports for every location to determine which stores had excess products, making inter-store transfers according to where more of the same product was needed elsewhere. 

“I used Cova to check the inventory for all our locations, making sure it’s distributed to our busiest stores,” said AR Cannabis general manager, Lorelle Kjarsgaard. “We just tried to keep all of our stores at a base level of inventory according to how much sales they were putting out.”

And each store is uniquely different in its clientele base and buyer preferences. “The new advanced reporting was critical to identifying things like our busiest store cannot run out of pre-rolls,” Kjarsgaard explained. 

With Cova’s “Discount” dashboard, AR Cannabis was able to determine the frequency of discounts used, for which products, by which employees, and in which location. With this AI-driven cannabis reporting dashboard, the company was able to discover what cannabis promotions drove higher sales and how profitable they were for their stores.

To better control supply and demand, AR Cannabis used this reporting module to make the data-driven decision to halt daily promotions during the labor strike, to better control supply and demand forces across its set of stores.  

Understanding dispensary traffic patterns further empowered AR Cannabis to plan and efficiently manage its cannabis retail staff and inventory around the labor strike. With Cova’s “Scheduling & Traffic” dashboard, the retail chain was able to identify what time of day and what day of the week each store was busiest and was able to move around employees to better optimize resources and manage customer traffic. 

In the end, with the help of Cova, and because AR Cannabis had so many stores, the chain was able to distribute products to make it down to the last week of the infamous Canadian cannabis labor strike of 2022 with a little bit of stock in each store. 

“If it had gone for another week, it would have been a different story,” Matt warned. “But with Cova Software’s inventory management capabilities and advanced reporting, we managed supply chain efficiently and came out of this strike stronger and wiser.”
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