Dec 28 , 2022
Msnmarijuanasup Winter Supply Chain Article
Preparing for 420 – How Weather and Holidays Affect Cannabis Supply Chain
Every year, retailers of various sizes get out promotional materials to prepare for Black Friday sales the day after Thanksgiving in the US. In 2021 alone, businesses made an estimated $30 to $40 billion in sales on this unofficial holiday, equaling about 13% of the entire year’s revenue.
It should be no surprise that the cannabis industry has a similar holiday that requires as much preparation as its retail cousins. That is when everyone from the small grower in California to retail dispensaries in Maine has to secure their state-compliant packaging and prepare their inventory for the massive event that is 420.
April 20th is the annual gathering of recreational marijuana users across the world. What started as a small event by a bunch of high schoolers has become a cultural phenomenon that needs to be capitalized upon for many businesses to stay afloat.
A vital issue with ensuring your cannabis-related company is ready for the massive influx of orders is getting your freight forwarding services in place before the winter storms, unpredictable weather, and various holidays slow that down the international supply chain.
Why Preparation Matters in Cannabis Supply
Turn on the news once the temperature dips a little, and you’ll immediately hear about all the various winter storms crushing the nations highways, especially on the East Coast. Just recently there was a dangerous cold front that rippled across the country, causing more than 50 deaths due to snowfall, accidents, and lack of heat in the home.
These severe weather events range from snowstorms measured in feet in upstate New York to historic flooding in Florida. All these cause painful delays in the various seaports, shipping hubs, trucking lanes, and train depots going up and down the East Coast. Once these areas are restricted due to inconvenient weather, every single business owner experiences a lack of supply.
If you cannot fill your shelves with all the delicious gummies, edibles, vapes, and raw products – you cannot increase your sales. That can lead to disaster when 420 rolls around and you’re still waiting on shipping lanes to open once again.
More than 63% of the goods being moved around the United States are strapped and stored inside 18-wheel trucks. This means stores cannot receive their goods every time a storm shuts down the roads in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, or Washington. Add on top of that the boats waiting in the harbor like planes lining up for take-off, and you have a negative jigsaw puzzle that gets exponentially more challenging to unravel the more prolonged the weather event. Naturally, no one wants to deal with this kind of shutdown.
What About the Holidays
Maintaining your cannabis product supply in preparation for 420 also takes careful planning and flexibility surrounding the holidays of the world. Shipping and freight forwarding is not restricted to just the East Coast. Products and supplies from China, Europe, Indonesia, and more are all affected by the various holiday events worldwide.
Of course, it is easiest to think about Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year in the US. Each of these holidays places massive demands on the global supply chain, so much so that even the basic UPS driver has to hire 2-3 assistants to keep up with the various shipping concerns in a small local community. Scale that up to all the retail demand, and you have a logistical nightmare.
This means the small dispensary in New York waiting for supplies for all the deliveries needing to be made may run into a serious issue around the holidays. The same is true for international events. Don’t forget Christmas is celebrated in many other parts of the world with the same level of supply chain demand. But there is also the Chinese New Year, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Easter, and more that may affect the successful and on-time delivery of your 420 packaging.
No one is immune to the ever-popular awkward questions from family about relationships, work, and unsolicited opinions. Everyone would rather be enjoying an edible to relax instead of dealing with extended relations during the holidays. In other words, when the demand spikes, you had better have a plan for your supply.
How to Prepare for the Supply Chain Slow Down
You can expect the supply chain to slow down from late November to mid-February. This is a natural occurrence of the increased demand caused by the holidays and winter weather. Also, the colder it is outside, the more people want to chill inside.
To accommodate those slower delivery schedules, your business needs to get in your orders for products, cannabis-related items, and child-resistant packaging by the beginning of February. This is to ensure your 420 events will be well supplied when your dispensary doors are overrun by eager consumers ready to celebrate the biggest unofficial marijuana holiday of the year.
This will also help you overcome any unpredictable winter weather events. If you don’t order your 420 packaging in large quantities now, you could miss the shipping windows for trucks and have to go with air. This can eat into your profit margins by adding variable costs to your freight forwarding services related to storing, more “hands-on” packing touchpoints, and delayed sales potential.
It gets even worse if you have to rely on sea shipments for your goods due to poor planning. These have a 60-90 day window around the holidays that can get significantly worse when rough weather is around the corner. No one wants to risk shipping containers falling overboard in bad storms, lost and damaged cargo, or having their product rerouted to ports unknown due to safety concerns.
Ensure Your Supply and Order Now
The best way for a business of any niche market, including cannabis, to ensure supply will be there when a spike in demand occurs is to preplan for weather events and holidays. As 420 is the annual Mecca of marijuana users everywhere, it only makes sense to give your business a lot of leeway regarding shipping and supply chain logistics.
At MSN Packaging Inc., we frequently have to field calls for last-minute orders in late March when retailers and dispensaries realize their regular suppliers are not going to make the deadlines needed for state-compliant packaging. These goods are necessary to sell to the droves of customers walking into their locations.
While we do our best to ensure delivery times for all our customers, we strongly urge you to put in your orders now and up to the beginning of February. This way, you have the flexibility in timing if weather events slow travel on land, air, or sea.
Give us a call today, and let’s discuss your bulk order, so you are well-prepared and stocked up. The next time 420 finally arrives, your sales number should skyrocket because you took the time to work with our fantastic team at MSN Packaging!
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