Dispensary Inventory Management: Working With Limited Storage

Dispensary Inventory Management: Working With Limited Storage

Back Room Storage for Dispensaries

How To Manage Inventory in a Dispensary With Limited Space

The Source Dispensary Storage

Balancing the supply and demand of cannabis is a complicated task. On one hand, in many newer U.S. markets, the product essentially sells itself. Flower tends to move fast, and the early days of a business are spent mainly on simply keeping up with customers’ needs. Even in more mature markets, like California or Colorado, demand remains high as prices have fallen through the floor. 

But then there’s the matter of supply: Oversupply can contribute to backed-up inventory in the retail environment. In other cases, limited supply of a particular SKU or genetic profile can push dispensaries into a tight corner. 

What’s a dispensary manager to do?

We covered some of the biggest dispensary inventory management mistakes (and solutions) that your team may face behind the counter. Basic organization of your inventory may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s not always so simple. Your team may encounter difficulty in tracking product availability and technical issues with sales reporting–and thus decreased customer satisfaction the longer that those problems linger. 

Let’s zoom into these problems.

Consider the First In, First Out (FIFO) solution.

Timely Inventory Movement

First In, First Out

The Source Dispensary StorageCreating a FIFO structure to your secured storage area means that the items are retrieved in the order they were stored. This ensures that the oldest items on your shelves are sold from inventory first. 

This approach is beneficial when considering overall dispensary inventory management–and easily overlooked, given the uncertain nature of supply and demand curves. 

Product freshness is crucial, so you don’t want your oldest products to get bumped by newer products, inadvertently leaving you with even older products for the next customer. 

Implementing FIFO ensures that older stock is sold before newer deliveries, reducing the chances of selling outdated or degraded products. Furthermore, FIFO aids in efficient stock rotation, minimizing waste and ensuring a consistent quality of the product offering to customers.

This is perhaps most important with flower, which can degrade in potency and flavor over time. Depending on your market regulations, flower may be kept in airtight jars with humidity control packs or it may be prepackaged in separate containers from the wholesaler. Either way, freshness is paramount, so a solid FIFO structure is critical to keep up with consumer demand. 

READ MORE: Dispensary Storage: What You NEED to Know

But the same idea goes for concentrates and edibles and other products. Keep your concentrates stable by storing them in a cooler environment while adhering to the FIFO concept. Edibles should be moving through your inventory management system swiftly, as you don’t want to run up against expiration dates before you can sell what you’ve got.  

Pro Tip: Set up automatic reordering thresholds within your inventory management system. When stock levels of a particular product fall below a predefined threshold, the system should automatically generate a purchase order and send it to the supplier. This threshold should be carefully calculated based on historical sales data, lead times, and current market trends to ensure products are reordered just in time before stockouts occur.

Just In Time

The Source Dispensary StorageContinuing with the helpful dispensary inventory management acronyms, let’s address Just In Time (JIT) inventory systems.

The JIT approach insists that your team orders stock as close as possible to when it’s actually needed. This reduces the amount of inventory that needs to be stored on-site, freeing up space and reducing the risk of overstocking or product expiration.

Unless your team specifically sought a property that was larger than needed at first (and thus designed for growth), at some point you will run up against a space problem. JIT inventory management may help solve that.

To achieve a JIT system, you’ve got to be able to rely on your suppliers. Again, this is no small task in markets wracked with a volatile supply curve. But establishing clear communication with growers and wholesalers in your market will ensure that you can acquire products quickly and move them through your storage racks with ease.

If you’re already working with that FIFO framework, your racks should be clearly labeled and organized. As new inventory comes in, just in the nick of time, your team should understand right away where it belongs in the stock room.

Related to the JIT concept, consider the strengths of a retail business that focuses on a curated selection of products that meet the preferences and demands of your customer base. Analyzing sales data and customer feedback can help identify high-turnover and high-margin products, allowing dispensaries to work efficiently even when space is limited. No need to invest in low-demand products on a JIT basis; both of these strategies assume that your team is engaged with your customer base and broader market trends.

Secured Storage Is Key

The Source Dispensary Storage

While FIFO addresses the organization and rotation of inventory and JIT acknowledges your literal space constraints, secured storage ensures the physical safety of your team and the compliance of the stored products

Begin with your storage racks and zoom out: Consider all the ways you can optimize your space. By taking a holistic approach to secured storage, dispensaries can safeguard their operations and, inevitably, build trust with customers.

Secured storage systems protect inventory from theft, contamination, or degradation–crucial in maintaining product integrity and compliance with regulatory standards. Incorporating technology solutions like advanced locking mechanisms, surveillance systems, and inventory tracking software (even beyond what is mandated by your regulators) can enhance your secured storage space, ensuring that FIFO and JIT are implemented efficiently.

Conducting regular audits (biweekly or even weekly) of the secured storage area will ensure that all products are accounted for and that the dispensary inventory management systems are functioning as intended. Use those audits as a chance for the staff to re-familiarize themselves with the range of products and brands offered at your store.

Disorganized inventory can lead to numerous operational challenges, impacting customer satisfaction and regulatory compliance. Implementing a systematic approach to inventory management while keeping an eye on the actual supply and demand trends you’re facing is the ultimate goal. 

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Dispensary Storage: What You NEED to Know

Dispensary Storage: What You NEED to Know

Dispensary Storage

Dispensaries play a critical role in the Cannabis Industry. They are the final mile on a long road of the cultivation journey. This is where the brand is put on full display for the eager consumer to see and experience. Today’s dispensaries are a thing of beauty with many having unique visual experiences, high-end display cases with an overall feel of ease and comfort for the shopping experience.

In order to properly serve the clientele, each of these locations must have a stockroom to store adequate inventory for consumer purchases. Although stockrooms are typically out of customer sight, having a clean, well-organized, well-functioning and regulatory compliant storage area is essential to the day-to-day operations of the retail dispensaries.
Pipp Mobile Storage Systems, the parent company of Pipp Horticulture, has deep roots specializing in providing a variety of storage solutions and applications. For the past forty years we have been servicing the needs of major national retail brands throughout the world. Providing cost-effective, high capacity, high density storage applications for a variety of consumer products.

Pipp’s space saving storage solutions can provide one of several major advantages for your dispensary.   With our high-density storage solutions, we can increase the overall SKU count that you need to inventory to fulfill customer demand.  In many cases we can achieve upwards of a 30-50% increase in storage capacity.   If increasing the SKU count is not a concern for you, we can also increase the storage capacity in a smaller footprint.   With a smaller allocation to finished products this could allow for more front-of-house retail space for the shopping experience.   Lastly, it may also allow you to consider locations with a smaller overall footprint.

Proper Dispensary Storage:

Proper dispensary storage is not just a matter of convenience; it is a matter of compliance and quality assurance. Understanding the importance of storing cannabis products correctly is crucial for maintaining their potency, shelf life, and integrity.

Complying with regulatory standards is non-negotiable in the cannabis industry. Health and safety regulations vary, but they generally cover temperature control, security, and labeling requirements. Failure to adhere to these standards can lead to serious consequences, including fines, suspension, or even revocation of licenses.

Proper storage is essential for preserving the quality of cannabis products. Factors such as light exposure, humidity, and temperature can significantly impact the potency and overall effectiveness of cannabis. By storing products in ideal conditions, dispensaries can ensure that their customers receive products with optimal quality and potency.

Potential Risks of Improper Storage:

Improper storage of finished cannabis products can have several negative consequences that dispensaries should be aware of.  There are three major areas of concern that should be taken into consideration, these include light exposure, humidity levels and room temperature.

Exposure to light can degrade the potency of cannabis. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from both natural sunlight and artificial light sources, such as fluorescent bulbs, can break down the cannabinoids and other compounds in the plant, resulting in loss of potency and effectiveness.

Improper humidity levels can also affect the quality of cannabis. Moisture can promote the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria, which can not only compromise the potency of the product but also pose health risks to consumers. Additionally, if cannabis is stored in an environment that is too dry, it can become brittle and lose its flavor and aroma.

Lastly, fluctuations in temperature can have a significant impact on the integrity of cannabis products. Extreme heat can cause cannabinoids to degrade, while extreme cold can lead to crystallization, which affects the texture and overall quality of the product.

Choosing the Right Storage Solution for your Dispensary:

Pipp Mobile has a variety of storage solutions to meet the space allocation of your dispensary location.   We can offer traditional static / non-moving shelving, as well as our mobile storage solutions.   We have systems to meet most of the space allocations and storage challenges that may arise.  

While mobile storage shelving will provide the best use of the space and provide the increased storage capacity you may be looking to achieve, sometimes the space allocated for storage is not suitable.   In those instances, we can provide standard non-moveable fixtures in both a four-post shelving configuration or wall mounted standards and brackets.   All our options have the capability to maximize the shelf clearances to match your storage bins / box needs in both height and depth.

No matter which system you choose they will all allow you to follow any regulatory guidelines that may be required for your jurisdiction.  

Organizing your Inventory:

Organizing and labeling your inventory is an essential aspect of dispensary storage. By implementing effective organization techniques, you can streamline your inventory management process, improve efficiency, and ensure that your products are easily accessible.

One effective way to organize your inventory is by categorizing your products. Consider grouping your cannabis products based on their type or category, such as flower, edibles, concentrates, etc. This will make it easier for your staff to locate specific items and restock inventory.

Additionally, labeling your products is crucial for maintaining accuracy and preventing any mix-ups. Ensure that each product is clearly labeled with its name, potency, and any relevant information, such as THC and CBD levels. You can also consider utilizing barcode systems or inventory management software to further enhance your labeling process.

Furthermore, implementing a first-in, first-out (FIFO) system can help prevent any product expiration and ensure that older inventory is utilized before newer stock. This can be achieved by organizing your storage area in a way that allows for easy access to older products.

Utilizing Pipp Mobile’s storage solution can help you achieve and implement effective organization and labeling techniques, which will not only optimize your storage space but also provide a seamless shopping experience for your customers.

Security Measures:

Implementing strict security measures is crucial for protecting your dispensary inventory. As a cannabis dispensary, you must prioritize the safety and security of your products to prevent theft and ensure compliance with regulations.

Investing in a reliable security system is an essential step. This includes installing surveillance cameras in strategic locations, such as entrances, exits, storage areas, and point of sale terminals. Make sure the cameras have high-resolution capabilities and are monitored 24/7 to deter potential thieves.

Additionally, consider implementing proper access control measures. This can involve using electronic keycards or biometric systems to restrict access to authorized personnel only. Secure storage cabinets or safes can also be used to protect high-value products, ensuring that only authorized staff members have access.

It’s also important to train your staff on security protocols and procedures. Educate them on recognizing and reporting any suspicious activity, as well as implementing employee ID badges or uniforms to easily identify staff members.

Most dispensary storage rooms or vaults are secure at the room entry, however if needed Pipp’s mobile storage solutions can include additional security measures such as enclosed panels and locking mechanisms to secure the entire area of mobile storage when in its condensed state.  In addition, to these measures we also have individual storage units that come in lockable and enclosed cabinets for those items needing some extra security within the storage room.

By implementing these security measures, you can create a safe environment for your inventory and give your customers peace of mind when shopping at your dispensary. Stay tuned for the next section, where we will discuss additional tips to optimize your dispensary storage space.

Maintenance and Cleaning Routines:  

Maintaining a clean and organized storage space is essential for the efficient operation of your cannabis dispensary. Regular maintenance and cleaning routines not only contribute to the overall cleanliness and appearance of your dispensary, but they also help ensure the quality and safety of your products.

Implementing a system for organizing and labeling your products to maximize storage space and make it easier for staff members to locate specific items. Use clear storage containers or bins and consider implementing a color-coding system to further enhance organization.  This can be sourced on your own or Pipp can provide a turn-key storage solution and can source products to match your needs.   Pipp have a vast supply chain from our forty years of business and are more than happy to provide you with our one stop shop experience.

Remember to train your staff on the importance of regular maintenance and cleaning tasks. Assign specific responsibilities and hold regular training sessions to ensure everyone is aware of proper cleaning procedures and understands their role in maintaining a clean and organized storage area.

By prioritizing regular maintenance and cleaning routines, you can create a welcoming and professional environment for your dispensary while ensuring the quality and safety of your products. Stay tuned for the next section, where we will discuss tips for optimizing your dispensary’s inventory management.

Pipp’s high density storage solutions are virtually maintenance free.   Much like the rest of the facility some routine maintenance is good to help maintain the life of the system.   Keeping the floor mounted tracks, the mobile shelving rides along clean and debris free will help eliminate any issues that could arise.

Training Staff on Proper Storage Procedures:

As a cannabis dispensary owner / manager, it is crucial to train your staff on the proper storage procedures to ensure the integrity and quality of your products. Your employees should be well-versed in handling and storing cannabis products, as well as maintaining a clean and organized storage area.

Start by providing comprehensive training sessions that educate your staff on the importance of proper storage techniques. This should include information on temperature control, humidity levels, and the proper handling of different product types. Emphasize the significance of adhering to specific storage requirements outlined by manufacturers and regulatory bodies.

Additionally, create clear guidelines and protocols for your staff to follow when organizing and labeling products. This ensures consistency and efficiency in locating items, preventing mix-ups or product spoilage.

Utilizing Pipp’s high density storage solutions takes little training and should fall within the guidelines established for the rest of the store.   It is important to be conscious of others utilizing the system when moving the shelving along the tracks.  In addition, it is typically recommended to move one shelving bay at a time to ensure the staff is not trying to move too much weight and create undo stress on the system.

Tracking Inventory:

Monitoring and tracking inventory is an essential aspect of dispensary storage management. By implementing a robust system for inventory management, you can ensure accurate stock levels and effectively track product movement.

There are various inventory management tools and software available that can streamline this process. These tools allow you to easily monitor stock levels, track sales data, and generate reports for better decision-making. By utilizing these solutions, you can avoid overstocking or understocking products, minimize loss due to expired items, and improve overall efficiency.

Regularly conducting physical inventory counts is also crucial in verifying stock accuracy. This process involves physically counting and reconciling the actual stock levels with what is recorded in your system. By doing this regularly, you can identify any discrepancies and take appropriate action.

Effective inventory management not only helps you keep track of your products, but it also facilitates better customer service. By having accurate records of stock levels, you can provide accurate information about product availability to your customers, reducing any disappointment or frustration.

Implementing an efficient inventory management system is a vital step in ensuring the smooth operation of your dispensary and delivering a positive experience to your customers.


Storage may be one of the last thoughts when planning out your dispensary, but it is a crucial part of the overall business plan and can play a significant role in the success of the operation.   There are many things to consider while planning out this piece of the business.   

Pipp strives to make this piece of the plan as easy as possible.  Pipp’s reputation in the storage industry is second to none and our long history of successful installations with hundreds of national retailers has positioned us well to help you take your storage goals to fruition.

Pipp Mobile has a staff of highly knowledgeable team members that can talk you through any concerns you may have and provide different solutions based on your unique challenges.  We have an in-house design team that will provide fixture layouts of your allocated space, along with renderings of your shelving selection to illustrate the solutions we are presenting.  

We will provide a capacity analysis showing the increased capacity gains achievable through the use of our high-density storage solutions, along with a no-obligation turnkey quote.  Lastly, our retail storage solutions offer a 10-year warranty on the products to allow for worry-free use of our products.

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