11 Tips to Boost Trim Room Efficiency
As many LPs continue to chase a lower cost of production, it’s surprising how often the trim room is overlooked. A poorly planned and disorganized trim room can be a massive time, energy, and money sinkhole. However, an optimized trim room that’s operated like a well-oiled machine can improve every cannabis executive’s favourite KPIs: ROI, margin percentage, cost-per-gram, and kilograms processed. We talked to our internal experts and chatted with some of the most efficient LPs around to compile a list of 11 tips that will help you optimize your trim room and make your trimming operations more efficient.
1. Position the infeed and outfeed of your trim line appropriately.
Depending on the size and entrance / exits of your trim room, this isn’t always as obvious as you’d think. The goal is to reduce your employees’ steps and the frequency they cross paths. An ideal trim room has two doors. One that can primarily be used as the entry point for the raw material being brought into the room, the other as the exit point for the processed material and waste to leave the room. In this scenario, the infeed of your trim line would be angled towards the entry door, while the outfeed of the line would be angled towards the exit door. In some cases your trim line might actually be at a diagonal angle in the room. Setting your room up with an “entry” and “exit” door will not only reduce employees crossing paths while carrying heavy objects, it may even reduce workplace injuries. It’s loud in a trim room, and if somebody is going out the same door that another person is entering, collisions can easily happen because you can’t hear the person approaching on the other side.
2. Staff the infeed heavier.
When we visit LPs to help them optimize their trimming process, one of the first things we often change is the infeed to outfeed staff split. Most LPs have a single person loading the conveyor on the infeed side, while they have 3-5 staff on the outfeed side doing QA. But by simply adding an extra employee to the infeed side, they can remove 2 from the outfeed. The additional employee not only helps load more consistently; they act as a “pre-QA” check by removing branches, stems and large leaves that made it past the bucking process. This provides flower better access to the blades and results in a higher-quality trim with less dependence on manual QA at the end of the line.
3. Have a separate sanitation room and team.
Don’t try and save money by cramming everything into one room, it’ll end up costing you more in the end! The idea is to have a sanitation team cleaning your hot-swap components while your trimming team continues to trim. When all of this is in a single room, you lose the ability to do both at the same time.
4. Keep critical spare components on hand at all times.
If a component gets damaged or fails, we’re always available to ship you a replacement. However, if this happens in the middle of a trim session, you’re out of luck until a new part arrives. That’s why we recommend having a healthy stock of backup components to protect you just in case you need them. You can simply swap out the broken component and be back up and trimming quickly, rather than wait the 1-3 days shipping it normally takes to deliver replacements.
5. Use wheeled storage racks.
Dropping components on concrete floors can damage them. So rather than having your trim and sanitation crews carrying components around (especially when returning cleaned components from the sanitation room to the trim room) use wheeled storage racks. We’ve created custom racks for some components, like our Blade Bays. Wheeled carts can be purchased cheaply from ULine. (See our guide for recommended accessories). By using wheeled storage racks you’ll better protect your equipment from damage and reduce the chance of employee injury when moving sharp or heavy components.
6. Train your staff properly!
There’s nothing wrong with putting entry-level employees in the trim room. But inadequate training leads to problems. A basic 1-2 day course can teach them everything they need to know to get started at several trim room positions. If you aren’t prepared to develop your own internal training program, Mobius offers a 1-day course at our facility in Vancouver. Or, even better, we can come to your facility and provide a comprehensive training course for your staff as well as optimize your entire post-harvest operation. Regardless of what works best for you, remember that you’ll still need a very experienced manager in the trim room at all times, and some positions in the trim room require specialized knowledge.
7. Use stackable, wheeled totes.
Most LPs bring product in and out of the room in plastic bins usually referred to as “totes.” They are quite large, and can be heavy when filled to the top. Rather than have your staff carrying them in and out one at a time, consider using a stackable system with wheels or a dolly. That way they can move 3-4 totes at a time and avoid risking workplace injuries caused by repetitive heavy lifting.
8. Never run out of material on the infeed line.
You should ensure there is always product available so that you’re not stopping and starting. That means new totes are brought into the room and queued up ready to go before they are actually needed. The goal is to reduce downtime as much as possible, especially when its entirely avoidable. Keep in mind the infeed loader(s) shouldn’t be the employee designated to bring new product into the trim room. If they’re fetching new totes of unprocessed material then they aren’t going to be loading consistently, which brings us to our next tip.
9. Ensure that the infeed conveyor is properly filled.
What we mean is that the infeed conveyor should have a single layer of plant material on it as it feeds the M108S, with no visible gaps. This will help maintain a more consistent, higher quality trim and finished product, as well as higher net feed rate.
10. Always have your next trim tote(s) prepped and sitting beside the machine.
This allows you to complete a trim tote swap in the least amount of time possible. Our team can complete a trim tote swap in as little as 4 seconds, (see video here). You still need to shut down your Mobius before swapping trim totes, but if you have a fresh trim tote prepared you can easily have your machine back up in running in less than a minute.
11. Have empty totes or trays ready at the end of the outfeed conveyor.
Similar to the above tip, you don’t want to slow operations when the tote/tray fills up. If you have them ready, you can swap the processed-product tote without stopping the machine at all. It seems like a minor detail, but the minutes saved add up over the course of a day.
Your trim room should be a model of efficiency! And while this is certainly not a comprehensive list, it’s a great start to making some major improvements to your trimming operations. Need help implementing any of these tips? Drop us an email or a phone call, we’re always available!