Maintaining operational excellence is a crucial aspect of running a nursery group, as it directly influences the quality of care…
Go Glass Campaign: Growing for a sustainable future
McQueens Dairies, a family business, specialises in doorstep milk deliveries and supports nurseries in Scotland and the north of England. Anna McQueen, director speaks to NMT about the Go Glass Campaign
We are a milk business. A milk delivery business. We have been delivering to household doorsteps across the UK for almost 30 years. And we are a proud family business. Our parents (Mick and Meg) started it in 1995. In fact, the 5 of us (my 4 brothers and me) remember Mum delivering the milk in the early days from the back of the car on our way to school. We have certainly come along way from those humble beginnings but that sense of responsibility and care for our customers has always been number 1.
Ensuring they have milk outside their front door before 7am in the morning matters to us. Given our family heritage, we decided to become agents in the government free milk scheme so that we could supply nurseries and child minders with their milk too. In fact, it feels great to be supporting the wonderful people that work in this critical sector of our economy, who play such an important role in raising the next generation.
How did the company overcome the challenges of the pandemic?
Like most businesses, there was a lot of rolling up sleeves and simply getting on with it! Lots of long hours and weekend working!
Understanding the rules and regulations was a continual focus and applying them with due care and consideration to our people, first and foremost, and to our customers. After all, we’re a people business. We needed our “work family” to be looked after so that they could, in turn, continue to deliver the very best service to our customers, both residential and nursery.
We experienced unprecedented demand during the pandemic and that allowed us to scale many of our operations a little ahead of our plans.
Of course, many nurseries had to remain open to provide critical cover for keyworkers’ children, so we had to provide continuity of service and keep our communications flowing continuously to reassure them we were staying by their side to help.
The day that all nurseries were greenlit top reopen, we were delighted that we had played our parts and always delivered.
Any lessons learnt that you will take forward?
You learn about the resilience of people and the importance of community. We were fiercely proud of both our staff and our amazing customers, who never complained and simply got on with dealing with the changes all around them.
Like many businesses, we learnt how valuable technology can be in keeping us all connected and in fact we will look to invest more heavily in our IT infrastructure in the years ahead.
Finally, we learnt about the importance of focusing on what matters – looking out for each other – and making time to offer support in a myriad of ways. It reinforced to us that milk is one of those products that provides important health and wellness benefits – let’s face it… we’d always been fans of it!
Moving forward, we will continue to be proud cheerleaders and help educate people on why they should continue to consume it daily.
What are the objectives of the Go Glass Campaign?
Nurseries want to do their bit for the planet. We recognised this in our campaign by actively promoting the benefits of switching their milk orders to bottled milk (glass). This way every nursery can feel good about their sustainability agenda.
We wanted to make it fun too and make them appreciate (and the kids) how easy it is to be supportive of the greater good agenda.
We have been delighted that so many nurseries have responded positively to this message. When it comes to Mother Nature, I think we all agree every small gesture helps!
Why will this be beneficial to nurseries across the UK?
Aside from the obvious benefits to the planet, there is a feel good for all nursery staff that they know they are securing a brighter future for generations to come.
Of course, taking bottled milk in, gives them the perfect opportunity to talk to the children about environmental matters and how we can all recycle for the greater good. So, it’s a wonderful educational opportunity for them too.
Can you detail more about the overall sustainability campaign for McQueens?
We’re doing a lot of work on this at the moment. It goes without saying we’re committed to achieving and maintaining the highest standards of corporate social responsibility for our customers, our employees, the community and the environment.
We are looking to extend our relationships with the community and giving back so that we can make a positive contribution to help create a better future for the surrounding neighbourhoods we service.
We work with local partners in our sourcing and supply chain, strive to avoid unnecessary transport emissions and much more. We have introduced practical changes to our production proves that help us be green in many different ways.
Go Glass Campaign: Going forward, what are your goals for the next 5 years?
To ensure our focus is always the customer and their changing needs. Right now, there is acute pressure on household income, and we want to support our customers any way we can.
We care not just about them, but their community and we hope to ramp up our initiatives in the localities we support across the UK.
We want every interaction they have with McQueens to be first class and for them to feel good about buying their milk from us – we will be rewarding customer loyalty in many new and exciting ways. You can expect too that we will be adding to the list of products we sell – in fact our new flavoured milks have already hit the streets and are going down a treat.
Finally, we want to be an employer of choice and repute, and our brilliant Recruitment, Retention and Talent teams will be pulling out all the stops to ensure every member of our staff feel valued every day.
Earlier this year, Cairneagle published a survey for nursery providers outlining the current challenges.The company’s managing partner Arun Kanwar dives…
The food a child eats at nursery might well be their main daily source of nutrition. Charlotte Goddard finds out…