Before we dive into the substance of the GrowerInTheLoop.com maturity model framework, I want to discuss how it’s actually used. It’s important to understand that we have a basic model framework and it looks a bit like this:
Green Nanny considers this the basic Maturity Model Framework. We’ve selected this schema, because it allows us to consistently represent different stages, but also act on those stages as though they are an active data model. In this section I’ll break down the different parts and explain what they mean.
Right now there are fourteen different plant pillars. This could change over time with newer versions of the Maturity Model Framework, but we believe we’ve captured the primary essence of what the plant needs to flourish under the care of a grower.
- Temperature control is important for indoor cannabis growth, and the ideal temperature range varies depending on the stage of growth. The temperature range should be between 68-77°F during the day and 62-72°F at night.
- VPD, or vapor pressure deficit, is a measure of the humidity in the grow room. Maintaining the correct VPD is important for optimal plant growth and development. The ideal VPD range is between 0.8-1.3 kPa during the vegetative stage and 1.3-1.8 kPa during the flowering stage.
- Carbon Dioxide:
- Carbon dioxide (CO2) is essential for plant growth, and indoor growers often supplement the air with additional CO2 to increase plant growth rates. The ideal CO2 level for cannabis growth is between 1000-1500 ppm.
- Radiation or Lighting:
- Light is a crucial factor in indoor cannabis growth. The use of HID (High-Intensity Discharge) lamps is recommended for optimal growth and yields, but LED may be preferred based on your region and budget. The ideal light spectrum for cannabis growth is between 400-700 nm, which is the range of light that plants use for photosynthesis.
- Air distribution:
- Air circulation and distribution are important to maintain fresh air and prevent the buildup of humidity, which can lead to mold growth. Fans and exhaust systems can be used to circulate air and maintain proper airflow.
- Water is an essential component of cannabis growth, and growers should ensure that their plants receive adequate water throughout the growing process. Overwatering and underwatering should be avoided.
- Nutrition and Fertilization:
- Proper nutrition and fertilization are crucial for cannabis growth. Nutrient deficiencies or excesses can cause stunted growth or reduced yields. Growers should use fertilizers designed for cannabis plants and follow recommended feeding schedules.
- Irrigation and Fertigation:
- Irrigation and fertigation systems are important for consistent watering and fertilization of plants. Automatic systems can be used to deliver water and nutrients at regular intervals.
- Growing Media:
- Choosing the right growing media is important for cannabis growth. Soil, coco coir, and hydroponic systems are all viable options. Growers should ensure that the growing media has adequate drainage and nutrient-holding capacity.
- Beneficial Microorganisms:
- Beneficial microorganisms can be used to enhance plant growth and protect against pests and diseases. These microorganisms can be added to the growing media or applied as foliar sprays.
- Oxygen and Oxygenation:
- Oxygen is essential for root health, and growers should ensure that their plants receive adequate oxygenation. Air stones and other oxygenation systems can be used to increase oxygen levels in hydroponic systems.
- Rootzone care:
- Rootzone care is essential for plant growth, and growers should ensure that their plants have adequate room to grow and develop healthy root systems. Regular pruning and transplanting can be used to promote healthy root growth.
- Canopy Management:
- Canopy management involves controlling the height and width of the plant canopy to promote optimal growth and yield. Techniques such as topping, pruning, and training can be used to manage the canopy.
- Diseases and Pest control:
- Indoor cannabis plants are susceptible to pests and diseases, and growers should take measures to prevent and control infestations. Integrated pest management (IPM) strategies, such as using beneficial insects and applying organic pesticides, can be effective in controlling pests and diseases.
For each of the plant pillars, we break them down into maturity stages. This isn’t the maturity of the plant, but the maturity by which the grower or facility approaches this area of care. This is broken down more, but for illustration here is the best way to think of these levels of maturity applied to an overall cultivation facility:
- Initial stage (Ad hoc):
- In this stage, cannabis cultivators have little or no technology adoption. Processes are primarily manual, and there’s limited use of digital tools for tracking and managing cultivation. Data collection and analysis are also minimal or non-existent.
- Developing stage (Basic digitalization):
- At this stage, cultivators begin to adopt basic digital tools, such as spreadsheets and simple software applications, for tracking cultivation processes and managing their business. Data collection is more organized, but data analysis capabilities are still limited.
- Defined stage (Intermediate technology adoption):
- Cannabis cultivators in this stage have implemented more sophisticated technology solutions, such as integrated cultivation management systems, sensors, and automation tools. Data analysis is more advanced, and cultivators start to use data-driven insights for decision-making.
- Managed stage (Advanced technology adoption):
- In this stage, cultivators have embraced advanced technologies like IoT, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to optimize their cultivation processes. They are using data analytics and predictive modeling to make strategic decisions, and there’s a strong focus on continuous improvement and innovation.
- Optimizing stage (Cutting-edge technology adoption):
- At the highest level of maturity, cultivators are leveraging cutting-edge technologies like robotics, advanced AI, and blockchain for supply chain management. They continuously innovate and optimize their processes, staying at the forefront of the industry.
This section provides an example of what to expect from people at a particular maturity level. For example, if a facility’s maturity level in caring for plants with regard to disease and pest control is ad hoc, you might expect growers to visually inspect plants for signs of pests or powdery mildew, or maybe only react after they’ve seen signs of disease. A more mature approach might involve monitoring the air filtration system for spores or insects, or use computer vision to inspect leaves. People will always play a part in the plant growth cycle and provide some care based on a plant’s needs, but the level and type of care will vary depending on the grower’s choices and the maturity stage of the facility.
Much like the above, the process section describes the common processes and procedures at this stage. You can expect to see more manual processes in the Ad hoc stage and more automated processes in the Defined or Managed stages. Additionally, more advanced techniques may be applied at different stages.
It’s important to note that you may occasionally see People and Process overlap in the maturity model. That’s normal, because people are usually committing the actions that the processes describe. We don’t see them as duplicate data though. We find it valuable to describe the process, and then describe how people complete the process.
Basically, this is the data schema for this particular plant pillar. Depending on the maturity stage, this could be just a few basic attributes on a table or multiple data models. And this is one area where we encourage customization. We will suggest a great set of starting values, but as you continue your data maturity journey, you’ll want to make these models as rich as necessary to meet your business objectives. When we speak of the “state” of the data, we’re typically talking about this data in its most up-to-date form.
Almost every activity around the plant lifecycle is an event. If you can attach a date and time to some type of action, we consider that an events. We like to capture events. Over time, we can use events to improve efficiency, processes, and even learn how to better grow plants. Events are often used to update the Data Attributes, keeping those values as recent as possible, but we maintain a history of events. Like a bank ledger, we can return to any date and see that state of that attribute. This is a more technical concept that I won’t dive into deeply here, but I will state that there are many valuable reasons to collect data this way, because as the system grows, these events and the data associated with them, will be the training data we need to create more intelligent systems.
We have four basic KPIs that we follow. They are Quantity, Quality, Consistency, and Efficiency.
- Quantity: The quantity of cannabis produced is a critical KPI because it determines the revenue potential of the facility. The more cannabis produced, the higher the potential revenue. This will depend on factors such as square footage, plant density, yield, and cultivation methods used. By optimizing these factors, growers can increase the quantity of cannabis they produce and improve their bottom line.
- Quality: Quality is important because it directly affects customer satisfaction and loyalty. Consumers are willing to pay more for high-quality cannabis, and a facility that consistently produces high-quality products will have an advantage in the market. This can be influenced by factors such as strain selection, cultivation methods, and environmental conditions. By focusing on quality, growers can differentiate themselves in the market and command higher prices for their products.
- Consistency: Consistency is important because it helps build a reputation for the facility. Consumers expect consistent quality and effects from a specific strain, and if a facility can consistently produce cannabis with the desired qualities, it can build a loyal customer base. This can be influenced by factors such as environmental control, cultivation methods, and genetics.
- Efficiency: Efficiency is important because it directly impacts the cost of production. A facility that can produce more cannabis with the same resources (e.g., energy, labor, water) is more profitable than one that can’t. This can be influenced by factors such as energy consumption, labor costs, and yield. By improving efficiency, growers can reduce their costs and improve their profit margins.
These KPIs are interrelated because they all contribute to the overall success of the facility. For example, improving efficiency can lead to an increase in quantity, while improving quality can lead to an increase in customer loyalty and therefore quantity. Consistency is important for maintaining the quality of the product and building a loyal customer base, which can increase quantity over time.
In lower levels of the maturity model it’s often difficult to calculate these KPIs. Most facilities aren’t capturing enough data to do it. We have recommended partners who provide advanced reporting capabilities for state mandated compliance systems like METRC, but one of the issues they’ve seen is that growers will put in the bare minimum of the data needed. This means that the reports aren’t accurate, and therefore, not that useful. Moving up the maturity model, you’ll see that accurately capturing data, and making that data actionable, are a big part of the journey. You can’t measure what you can’t see. And if you aren’t capturing data, you won’t have any way to measure your progress.
To capture data for these KPIs, there are several automated ways a cannabis cultivation facility can use:
- Environmental sensors: These can capture data on temperature, humidity, and light levels in the facility, which can help optimize plant growth and improve consistency.
- Yield tracking software: This can track the yield of each plant and help identify areas where improvements can be made to increase quantity and efficiency.
- Quality control software: This can capture data on the chemical and physical properties of the cannabis, helping to maintain consistency and improve quality.
- Energy monitoring systems: These can track energy consumption and identify areas where efficiency can be improved.
By using these automated data capture tools, a cannabis cultivation facility can have a more accurate and real-time understanding of their KPIs. This can help them make informed decisions to optimize their operations and ultimately improve their bottom line.
This diagram shows how the steps in the process are connected in a circular flow, where the output of the last step leads back to the first step. The process starts with a maturity assessment, followed by finding the gaps, prioritizing the gaps, creating a plan to overcome the gaps, and implementing a program to overcome the gaps. Once the program is implemented, the process starts again with a new maturity assessment. This cycle is designed to continually improve the maturity level of the cannabis cultivation facility.
Unlike many prescribed maturity models, GrowerInTheLoop.com is a bit more flexible when it comes to implementation of the model. If you’re familiar with the concept of process model fidelity, we hold loosely to our fidelity. The Maturity Model is a guide, a possible path to success, but we don’t necessarily prescribe that each step needs to be followed completely. What we do is generate possible plans based on your scores for the self-assessment. Once you complete the GrowerInTheLoop.com self assessment, we’ll generate a report for you with a complete plan that you can share with your IT team. We’ll cover this in greater detail later.