Key Points to Include in Your Dispensary Standard Operating Procedures PDF

Creating a dispensary standard operating procedure PDF probably isn’t at the top of your mind, especially when you’re focused on the day-to-day responsibilities of running your business.

After all, when most people hear the term “standard operating procedure”, or SOP, they often think about major corporations that have hundreds or thousands of employees.

dispensary sop

Dispensary Standard Operating Procedure PDFs – Why Have Them?

No matter the size or age of your dispensary, creating a SOP can prove invaluable to your business. SOPs can boost teamwork, efficiency, internal communications, and also your sales.

This is because you can include things such as customer interaction guidelines, sections for newly implemented laws and regulations, and have detailed instructions for your employees to handle all operations from day to night.

Do your budtenders know what to do in tough and busy situations? Is there a system for managing inventory? Is there a solid process for handling online orders, from order placement to payment?

Are there established safety guidelines for those working on the backend – working in the growroom, handling inventory, and effectively labeling products?

All of these issues and more have appropriate solutions that can be documented in a SOP.

What Exactly is a Dispensary Standard Operating Procedures PDF (SOP)?

There’s really no one-size-fits-all when it comes to a SOP. The most basic description is any document that includes a “how to” of specific procedures in your dispensary. Items to include will be unique to your business needs and the operations that keep it afloat.

In general, the purpose of a SOP can be broken down into two major umbrellas. The first describes all of the workflows and operations you have for running your business daily. This is where you can focus on improving efficiency, creating consistency, and establishing standards for your employees.

The second umbrella is regulatory compliance. Are laws and regulations readily available to your employees for reference? Having a standard operating procedure that includes these and safety guidelines ensures that every member of your team is following the proper protocols.

Formatting a Dispensary Standard Operating Procedures PDF

Saving your SOP as a PDF file is highly recommended, as this format is easier to share with larger groups of people. Also, it isn’t as easy to edit as a Word document or Google doc, which greatly helps to improve accurate version control.

As mentioned, there isn’t necessarily a standard way to format your SOP PDF. However, it is very important to keep the language in your dispensary SOP document as non-technical and as “human” as possible.

This ensures that all members of the team, no matter their background or rank, can understand the processes being outlined in the document. This eliminates confusion, and helps to streamline all of the processes that are being outlined in the document.

You may even consider creating multiple SOPs. Frontline budtenders, for instance, should have an SOP that handles all of the various operations that could happen inside the store. Grow room employees, on the other hand, will have different responsibilities from the budtenders, so it would make sense for them to have a completely different SOP to fit their needs.

It’s important to first think of your biggest pain points in operations. Begin with these dispensary standard operating procedures first, and work outward.

The door should always be left open for communication as well – ensuring that your team is given a voice and that their concerns are handled effectively by all levels of management.

Why Take the Time to Create Dispensary Standard Operating Procedure PDF?

If your dispensary is pretty solid in daily operations and growing financially, you might wonder why it’s so important to have a dispensary standard operating procedures PDF.

Even so, any cracks in workflow processes or regulatory compliance will always become more evident as a business scales.

This is why it’s is very important to consider the following benefits to having an SOP in your cannabis business:

Ensures Compliance

A well-maintained SOP is one that is updated or reviewed frequently. Every expectation is accurately documented, so the entirety of your team is able to understand what is expected and what is considered a “successful” completion of a task.

Mistakes happen and they are inevitable. However, having a dispensary standard operating procedure in place greatly limits these, and also exposes any holes in current operations that may need to be clarified or improved.

Increases efficiency and teamwork

As mentioned, when you document workflows, it’s easier to spot areas that may need improvement. By boosting efficiency this way, you can limit time spent and provide your employees with accurate measures of time that should be spent on each project.

If you’re unsure where to begin, start by evaluating your most productive employee. What is he or she doing differently from your least productive employee? Of course, avoid making things personal, as good leadership will always be open to observation first rather than criticism. Simply analyze these differences from an operations perspective, and then outline those workplace techniques within your SOP.

For first time SOPs, it might be worthwhile to have a one-time mandatory meeting or training where the new requirements are outlined. This ensures that everyone is on the same page.

After the final SOP has been dispersed, always keep communication open to refine anything that may be confusing or overly complicated.

Provides a consistent brand experience

In using SOPs, dispensaries can create the exact customer experience they want to be known for. This is especially true for dispensaries opening locations in multiple neighborhoods.

To ensure the customer experience is the same no matter where they go, you want to have SOPs that unify how each location operates. This can include anything from how budtenders interact with customers, to outlining cleaning guidelines amidst the pandemic.

Feedback is Key.

Most importantly, no SOP can be implemented successfully without feedback. In other words, a good SOP is a living, breathing document that is constantly being updated by management. Your business will change and your customers will change. With each new experience, you might find that your current SOP must be updated or become better defined.

As you gain feedback from employees and customers, always be thinking about how you can improve your procedures to improve everyone’s experience.

It’s important to remember that without your employees, the customer experience would not exist. By putting your employees first in creating an SOP, you can maximize profits and begin to encourage a positive environment for your team.


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