Episode 16: Supply chain veteran Ben Cook on moving iPhones to moving cannabis
With Guest Speaker: Ben Cook – COO of MedMen
Priyanka talks to Priyanka talks to Ben Cook – COO of MedMen – the largest cannabis company in the US. But let us back up a little bit here and address the legend that is, Ben Cook!
Let me back up a little bit here and address the legend that is, Ben Cook! I started working in supply chain in 2016 when I first started following Ben – at the time he was the Director of Supply Chain & Logistics at Apple and was working on building the supply chain for iPhones and iPads. The following year, I noticed he went on to lead the supply chain at Target and the year after that at Walmart. Cut to the present date, and Ben has basically transitioned from moving iPhones to moving weed! I mean …. How “dope” is that?!
I have so many questions for Ben, not least of which is how and why did he even decide to make such a big career move? And then of course a lot of other questions about the cannabis industry itself and its supply chain challenges – something I know very little about. What’s also extremely interesting is that MedMen is often called the “Apple store of weed” because of its look and experience. So I’m going to be asking Ben how his former Apple experience helps him in his current role.
Questions Ben answered
- A quick brief of cannabis rules and regulations – how many states is it legal in – medical vs recreational?
- From established companies like Apple, Target, and Walmart… to now MedMen! What made you make the jump?
- Cannabis is an interesting one in that it has a long shelf life just like medicines and is very regulated just like pharma. Yet, it is produced and grown in smaller units like groceries and not in mega factories like in the case of pharmaceuticals. So where exactly is it positioned and what “industry” does it fall closest to in terms of how the operations and supply chain is set up?
- Can you describe the MedMen operational set up and distribution nodes? What are the biggest challenges in your supply chain?
- MedMen stores are touted to be the Apple stores of weed. Was it a conscious decision to decision the stores as such, and why? What effect does this have on your brand? How does your Apple background help?
- Since cannabis is not legal in all states in the US, how does this impact your inter-state logistics? Or do you always have to end up producing right in the state it is expected to be consumed?
- Unlike most other retail products that are openly marketed through various channels, cannabis doesn’t have that luxury (yet). How do you market MedMen/how is the demand growing so quickly?
- Paint me a picture. It’s 2028… what is MedMen up to and what does the cannabis industry look like?
For more on this, listen on.