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How to Standardize Your Cannabis Product Naming Conventions for Clean Inventory Reporting

30 January 2020  |  6 min read

cannabis inventory naming convention

Clean data is one of those topics that seems like a nice-to-have, or something you’ll address down the road. As you’re busy opening or operating a cannabis dispensary, sitting down to talk about clean data — and naming conventions — is usually pretty far down the priority list.

But a little best practice implementation now will save you time and struggle in the future.

The importance of clean data

Clean data is the only way to have reliable inventory, reporting, and dashboards.

What if your product catalog has duplicates and you couldn’t identify how much of a certain product you were selling?

Maybe you have a product called: Wana Chocolate Brownie 50 mg
And another called: Wana Choc B 50 milligrams

Are these the same product? Which is your inventory manager using? And which are your budtenders using? With a potential duplicate, it’s impossible to trust your data.

That’s a problem.

Then imagine how that one data issue would impact the rest of your sales reports, your inventory, your compliance. Having bad data could be detrimental to your brand and business.

Clean data is the key to not only compliance and inventory efficiencies, but in growing and operationalizing your cannabis business.

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Clean data is the key to not only compliance and inventory efficiencies, but in growing and operationalizing your business. One way to ensure clean data is to use proper naming conventions in your cannabis product catalog.

Naming conventions 101

A File Naming Convention (FNC) is a standardized way of naming products that takes into account what the product is and how it relates to other products. Simply put, it’s the way you name and label products.

The idea is that you name all products consistently and in a specific order or manner so that they are easy to find, edit, audit, sell, etc.

A standardized product catalog in your cannabis POS software is the source of truth for every inventory item that touches your store and creates a uniform way of showing products both in menus, but also in your reporting.

cannabis product naming conventions

Standardizing cannabis naming conventions is important to keep your three inventories — Metrc, your POS, and your physical inventory — in sync, especially when dealing with different flavors or units of measure.

Benefits of standardizing your cannabis product names

We’ve already outlined some benefits to having clean data. But here’s a more robust look at why you need to standardize product names at your cannabis dispensary.

  • Save time: No more trying to figure out which product is which or how much stock you really have of something.
  • Enhance reports: Reports and dashboards are only as good as the data that goes into them. With clean product catalogs, your reports will be more accurate and you can more quickly see exactly what products you’re looking at.
  • Improve inventory: With standardized naming, one glance is all you need to verify product, removing errors in your inventory protocol.
  • Reduce errors and redundancy: Your product catalog must be correct at all times. You must know what you have, how much you have of it and what it costs. Errors or redundancies make it impossible to have an accurate view and ensure you’re selling at the correct price.
  • Assist in new employee onboarding: If a new employee starts and you have a standard way of naming your products, it’s much easier to get them onboarded and understanding store operations.
  • Help speed expansion: As you add stores, your product catalog and naming conventions follow, meaning you have one less thing to worry about and one less thing to fix before you can grow.
  • Provide peace of mind: If you know your data is hygienic, you can trust your reports, trust your inventory, and trust you won’t run out of stock or order too much.
  • Remove subjectivity: With a set naming convention, you aren’t left to decipher each employee’s style of naming.

A simple formula for standardizing cannabis product names

There are four key components to properly naming your inventory.

  1. Brand name
  2. Strain name or flavor
  3. Type or texture
  4. Total mg amount

Put together, here's what the cannabis inventory naming convention template looks like in practice:

{Brand Name} {Strain Name or Flavor} {Type or Texture} {Total mg Amount}

Correct cannabis product naming examples

  • Blue Kudu Blue Dream Wax 1g

  • The Lab Bubba Kush Cart 500mg

  • Wana Chocolate Brownie 50mg

Incorrect cannabis product naming examples

  • BK B.Dream Concentrate 1 gram

  • Lab-B.Kush Cart 500 mg

  • Wana Choc B 50mg

Best practices for product naming conventions

  • Make sure your POS has one master product catalog for all locations. This process is important if you have one store — critical if you have multiple.
  • Be careful of abbreviations because they are easy to confuse (especially since many products in cannabis have similar names).
  • Avoid periods and hyphens.
  • It’s acceptable to abbreviate measurements. Choose how you treat units of measure and be consistent.
  • Speaking of, be consistent with every element of naming conventions, from measurements to how you use capitalization to the order of the elements.
  • Avoid using all caps (or all lowercase).
  • Avoid characters like /, &, !, # or $ because when you extract data into spreadsheets, that can mess up your raw data file. These also make it hard to search your product catalog.
  • Keep it short. If you’re in a state where you’re printing the name on exit labels, you’ll need to make sure your product names fit into the label space.

Do you need to update your product catalog? Here’s where to start

  1. Go through and audit your current product names to understand what you have and how much effort it’ll take to update and fix errors. You can download your current catalog from your cannabis POS software.
  2. Decide on your new naming convention. Consistency is the most important thing.
  3. Apply all new product naming conventions to your POS, either through a bulk upload or by manually deleting old products and/or renaming existing products to fit the new naming convention.
  4. Train staff. Every person who uses your POS system needs to know the naming convention, how to use it and why it’s necessary — especially anyone who can enter new products into the catalog.Guest checkout cannabis pos
  5. Create workflows for managing this long term. As you’re pulling inventory reports (such as par reports), take a moment to scan through the names. It’ll be easier to spot outliers in this format. While you’re doing inventory audits, run data audits as well (For Flowhub customers, use the Products Report). Look at the spreadsheet and evaluate by category, brand, product type, etc. to make sure everything looks correct, the appropriate names are used and there aren’t any duplicates or errors. If there’s a discrepancy at any time, simply update the name in your product catalog. Remove any duplicates.
  6. As you bring new products into your store, set them up correctly from the start and create dispensary standard operating procedures (SOPs) for training new staff.

To learn more about naming conventions, product catalogs or other strategies for improving the efficiency of your cannabis dispensary, request a demo.

Amber erickson

Amber Erickson

Amber's goal is to create helpful and engaging content to empower cannabis professionals to run a successful and compliant dispensary. Amber joined Flowhub to support the company's mission to help make cannabis accessible to everyone through innovative technology. Connect with Amber on LinkedIn.

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