The childcare sector is under pressure. Low margins, high work pressure ... In addition to being care providers, day-care centres are increasingly becoming enterprises with staff and extensive administration. Also the ever stricter legislation and requirements do not make things easier.
Wingparent wants to unburden nurseries by setting up an ecosystem around all products (food, pharmaceuticals, etc.) and services (waste processing, maintenance, etc.) they need in their daily operations. We manage the entire chain on their behalf: products and services are purchased, managed and delivered to their door. This position allows us to steer purchasing behaviour towards circular products and services, thus contributing to a circular transition in the childcare sector.
In concrete terms, we want to use this project to set up circular transition paths at childcare centres, where we first carry out an analysis of the organisations and their purchasing behaviour, and then offer guidance to put them on the circular path. This can be in the form of financial information, training, exchange of experience, good practices, workshops, etc. In this way, we give the initial impetus to the 'Circular Childcare' label.
We carried out a detailed purchasing analysis of all segments in three childcare centres, after which we worked out extensive support processes with various test products.
The three sample projects were scaled up to 25 childcare centres that have since switched partially or completely to our automatic stock control system.
We created a digital learning platform where day-care centres can download activity boxes, among other things. Each thematic box contains a fun, often sustainable activity with an online element for each weekday. This environment will be further expanded.
We have linked a forum to the digital learning platform in a protected environment where different groups can exchange experiences.
MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
We developed a digital learning platform because accompanying training courses, events, workshops, etc. were repeatedly postponed due to the corona pandemic. This platform has great added value given its lasting impact, but it did require a large investment of time during the start-up phase.
The pilot projects revealed a number of technological barriers to our current technology (webshop, ERP system, etc.). To achieve the desired, far-reaching stock control and to scale up the system, we will have to invest even more in this component.
The unpredictability of the corona pandemic was a hindrance to our project, because for automatic stock control we rely on predictability as much as possible. However, the pandemic did ensure that nurseries were more willing to switch to our system than expected.
There is currently no consensus on what a circular label exactly entails. We need a tool that calculates (and compares) the sustainability impact of the purchase of different products, so that we as a company can always choose the right circular product.
25participating accommodation sites
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Thanks to this subsidy programme, our project received a strong boost, which enabled us to obtain bank financing and to approve our application for a VLAIO development project this time.
Furthermore, we got to know a whole range of new players in the childcare sector, explored collaborations and entered into partnerships.
We can conclude that we can anchor our project and will certainly continue to develop, improve and scale it up.