The Sira Spotlight series focuses on one of the most interesting aspects of Sira Naturals: our people. Each month, we’ll be highlighting members of our staff from across the entire organization.
As we approach 2020, we at Sira Naturals reflect upon the hard work and dedication of our amazing staff. The Sira Creative Team sat down with our Vice President of Planning, Analytics and Business Systems, Jim Natale, to hear his stories and learn about his role in streamlining digital and physical production and retail operations.
What is your role at Sira?
My role was modified recently to include Planning, Analytics and Business Systems. I was previously focused more on Inventory, Logistics and Business Systems including the implementation of LeafLogix.
How long have you been a part of the Sira Team?
I started on a 4-week consulting engagement in April of 2018 – focused on inventory reconciliation with the new NAV system – and joined the team full time in July 2018.
How has your prior work experience informed your role at Sira?
My prior technical experience scaling businesses for hyper growth in the High-Tech industry prepared me well for the challenges Sira was facing when I arrived as a consultant. Leveraging a Lean Master discipline to address needs in Inventory, Materials, Analytics and Business Systems has proven to be exciting and challenging. Even with the direct technical experience, the cannabis industry is a little different. Focusing on learning the inner workings of a cannabis operation was first and foremost during my first year at Sira.
What responsibilities and duties does your team manage for Sira?
At the time, I’m running a one person show – so it’s just me!
How has system analytics streamlined aspects of Sira’s production?
We are only scratching the surface today with manually created analytics – actually more Business Intelligence than Analytics. Using LeafLogix, our new Point-of-Sale Enterprise platform with Looker BI built into their solution, we will be able to provide new insights into our business and help shape the decisions we make going forward. Examples range from Exploring patient preferences to assure we are sending retail what is desired, defining capacity by area and by product for better business planning, refining the costs going into our products to be more market competitive or using market data to determine what we should invest in next. The possibilities are virtually unlimited.
You recently transitioned the company onto a new Point-of-Sale and Enterprise platform, what type of project management is involved in taking on such a big task?
As many have heard before, the cliché applies in this case – ‘it takes a village’!
This was not a one-person task and took a small army to implement this solution without major business impacts – especially at a time when we were ramping up wholesale deliveries. We needed to recreate all of our data in the new system in preparation for the cutover – along with coding our products properly for the new SW solution. We also wanted to change all the product names to a standard format working across all the Ayr companies – which further complicated the transition.
Special shout out to Kevin Balchuinas (and team), Alex Carll (and team) and Paul Fisher for their support through this entire effort!
As an adult-use customer, what’s the best product you’ve tried? Favorite AU dispensary?
I live in Upton, so Caroline’s is my AU choice locally – although I enjoy traveling to different dispensaries across the state and see how they are crafting their products and their sales/display areas.
I don’t have my medical card, so I’m limited trying a lot of Sira product not wholesaled through AU dispensaries. I was lucky enough to participate in a Dab Collab with Cultivate and that afforded me a chance to buy our Rosin. E2 Labs made two batches from our 3 Chems and their Purple Punch flower. That was by far the best product I’ve ever had – especially delivered in the Peak – in over 30yrs. I had never had Rosin made from Bubble Hash – what a difference – those E2 guys are the best!
What are the most rewarding aspects of your role?
I live to learn, love to fix problems and enjoy teaching people new ways of doing things.
Sira has given me the opportunity to do all of that! I was able to learn new things in an entirely new industry, address the challenges inhibiting our growth (which was aligned with my prior expertise) and help the team grow personally. The best part is doing that while providing the team with processes and tools to help make their job more enjoyable and efficient – at the same time!
What do you like to enjoy doing outside of work?
I think I have a few too many things that keep me buys outside work…
• First and foremost, nothing beats a nice long walk in the woods with my dog Rocco and my wife Denise.
• I’m a die-hard Patriots fan who bought my season tickets when they were 1-15 – not a fair-weather fan like you see too often today.
• I enjoy brewing Mead with my best friend since nursery school.
• I ride a Harley Fat Boy to get away from it all.
• I’m building a 69 Camaro drag car to keep the excitement flowing.
• Finally, I spend time fishing to relax.