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"Harvest has gone from five days to just one"

CAN: Grower combats labor shortages with automation

Unfilled jobs in the food-service and hospitality industries are making it difficult for cannabis companies to retain entry-level employees, prompting some cultivators to change how they operate to gain a competitive advantage in the labor market.

Safari Flower Co., a licensed cannabis producer in Ontario’s Niagara region, is combating the so-called “Great Resignation” with automated processing equipment from Mobius, a cannabis automation and technology firm.

Implementing their new automation equipment enabled Safari to reduce the amount of time spent on trimming by approximately 75% and improve working conditions for the processing team. The net result has been a smaller and happier workforce with the ability to apply compensation programs based on meeting production efficiencies.

“The impact of technology and automation on our labor force has been very well-recognized as a retention strategy,” said Brigitte Simons, Safari’s Chief Executive Officer.

Before bringing automation to their processing operations, Safari would require two 8-hour shifts to buck and trim each harvest. The procedure involved separating the flowers from the stalks by hand and trimming each cannabis flower with scissors — a task that led to boredom, repetitive strain injuries, and high staff turnover.

The non-progressive, manual trimming procedures strained Safari’s labor force as it could not incrementally increase the company’s working capital towards employee compensation planning due to the lengthy inventory processing cycles. Further influenced by increasing wages in other regional job sectors, staff desired to participate in procedures under constant improvements.

"Now, with the new Mobius processing system, tasks are more ergonomic and engaging. Even better, the harvest has gone from 5 days down to just one day." 

Thanks to mechanical buckers (machines that separate the flowers and leaves from the stalks) and a high-speed trimming system that includes infeed and quality control conveyors, Safari has reduced repetitive strain injuries and increased employee satisfaction.

“If you can give your employees technology that brings value back to the operators, you will have a sustainable, committed workforce that will come every day with dedication to your efficiency measures,” said Simons.

For more information:

Safari Flower 

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