Money Grows On Trees: How To Run The Most Efficient Marijuana Trim Crew

Originally published by The Leaf Online

Money grows on trees. Any marijuana grower knows this truth.

While indoor growers have the luxury of timing their own harvests (some even set up a system that creates a weekly harvest), outdoor growers harvest once a year. That time is now, and there is a lot of work to be done.

Larger grows almost always rely on trim machines and electronic hand trimmers but many harvests are still processed entirely by hand, which has always provided the highest quality trim but can often get to be very expensive. Workers are either paid by their yield or by the hour. An unorganized trim crew not only reduces the efficiency of an operation, but also costs a lot of money– and there is no reason to let those dollars rot on the stem.

A lack of management in the trim room leads to diminishing returns, which reduce ROI. Diminishing returns refers to the decrease in marginal output per worker as any single factor is increased, such as the amount to be trimmed. For example, if there is simply one plant to trim, it hardly makes fiscal sense to process the single plant in an assembly line. Most of the line will be waiting behind the bottleneck, usually the person doing the detailed manicuring. But, if more plants must be processed, workers are less efficient if each worker handles every individual task required to process the plant. If every worker is working as a silo, rather than a dedicated member of an assembly team, their output is significantly smaller than the same worker in a structured operation.

So how to use the law of diminishing returns to increase the efficiency and the yield of a grow operation?

Start with a few small tests. If it takes one trimmer an hour and a half to process one whole plant, the trimmer can process 5.3 plants in an 8-hour workday. If the growers must to process 30 outdoor plants it would take about six days to process the harvest, and possibly hourly pay for the trimmer. Time each individual step the trimmer takes to process a plant, in order to find the bottleneck (the area of the assembly which is the longest step). This is where the greatest efficiency increases can be found. As workers performing tasks ahead of the bottleneck complete their tasks they can assist the bottleneck to close out the process. Time is money, especially when paying trimmers hourly.

Next: Learn HR best practices for trim crew management.


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