How software can help manage and support growing nursery groups
Advancements in technology have never been more important when supporting the early years sector to move safely beyond the pandemic, as well as save time, reduce manually-intensive admin tasks and focus on what they do best – child development.
So, when nursery chains are heading for expansion, what are some of the considerations they have to make, and how do digital solutions facilitate growth? Neil Lewis, head of customer success at nursery management software organisation Connect Childcare, delves into the detail.
In today’s digital-first world, more nursery chains are turning to technology in a bid to streamline operations, centralise processes, and manage staff more efficiently.
Throughout Covid-19, the early years sector was made to respond swiftly. Several settings used intuitive tools to maintain ‘business as usual’ – as face-to-face training sessions were held online, virtual tours took the place of physical show-arounds, and a greater level of communication happened with parents primarily via mobile apps.
With one eye on reducing their carbon footprint too, many nursery managers are switching their mindset to one of being digital-first when it comes to implementing savvy software to handle administrative tasks.
Automating billing solutions is becoming something of ‘the norm’ and settings are providing more streamlined ways for transactions to take place – including parents using contactless payment methods and acknowledging accident forms at the click of a button.
These swift and secure processes mean that busy parents are no longer juggling papers telling them how their child’s day has gone, and pressured practitioners don’t have to sift through bulging filing cabinets or access complex spreadsheets to find relevant information.
When managers can log into a portal to update an invoice via their nursery management system, or quickly write an observation in the mobile parent app for example, that can save a huge amount of time and alleviate plenty of stress. Plus, having a technology-first mindset and intuitive solutions to help make people’s lives easier, can be attractive selling points to both prospective parents and future employees.
So, for ambitious nursery groups to continue their growth trajectory, here are five key areas they must focus on if they are to successfully expand…
Processes must be centralised
For large multi-sited nurseries, having everything available from one hub means all settings can be managed effectively, without individual sites losing flexibility.
Keeping cashflow at a constant
Groups offering in-app payments can ensure parents always keep up to date with their fees, and easily flag any outstanding transactions their technology alerts them to.
Managing staff more effectively is essential
With so many sites to think about in a single nursery group, having a centralised record can not only make chains – and its individual settings – more efficient, but intuitive software can be implemented into an existing system so employees can be assigned to specific locations, and there’s less reliance on agency workers.
High-level security should be in place
There’s no question safety is of paramount importance in any nursery site. Having privacy settings in place can reduce data breaches and ensure groups remain compliant throughout.
Real-time reporting can help when identifying trends
With the advent of technology comes an even greater focus on the data managers can unlock. Every chain will be sat on millions of pieces of insight, meaning users can run entire group reports or drill down into individual settings. They therefore not only have full control of data, but can respond proactively to any patterns that emerge.
It’s important that nursery groups research a range of childcare management software, as well as look into additional advantages including brand reputation, technology features, cost, and the support services available.
Discover what Connect Childcare’s nursery management software can do for your nursery group. Book a demo today.
Date published: October 26, 2021