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The Nursery Kitchen, a provider of wholesome and home cooked meals for children in day nurseries across the UK, has partnered with LCR 4.0 to digitise the entire business.

The company predicts that the work with LCR 4.0 and delivery partner the Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) will lead to an annual revenue increase of 14 per cent over a three-year period, adding over £621,000 to the gross value added (GVA) of the local economy.

The Nursery Kitchen provide meals with no added preservatives or additives and creates tailor-made menus to cater for children with all manner of dietary requirements and allergens. Before approaching part ERDF funded business support programme LCR 4.0, all of its customer records were entirely paper-based.

Working with the VEC, the company has been able to understand its existing industrial processes, regulatory requirements and paper-based processes in order to develop the design of a database template, setting out how the company could achieve its objectives.

Giving greater connectivity throughout the business, the Nursery Kitchen is now using systems integration to get a snapshot of live operational data based on weekly orders. This data will help to improve efficiencies, as well as give greater visibility of customer buying habits.

The new system also automates many of the company’s existing factory floor and office administrative tasks leading to significant cost savings, while providing a solution for the tracking and control of allergens in the food itself.

Katy Elliott, director of the Nursery Kitchen says: “The Nursery Kitchen has always been committed to providing the best quality of food to children and young people. Approaching the LCR 4.0 programme and working with VEC as a result has helped to establish a plan to apply digital solutions in a way that will make the ordering process easier for our customers, whilst providing a new level of efficiency, ingredient control and traceability that would not be possible with traditional paper processes.”

Dr Andy Levers, technical director at the Virtual Engineering Centre (University of Liverpool) and the technical lead for LCR 4.0, said: “The work we have done with The Nursery Kitchen is new territory for us. It’s a company making a real difference to young people in Liverpool City Region and further afield.

“This is an excellent example of how bringing in new technologies and digitialising processes can have a real financial impact for the business, as well as social and economic benefits for the community.”

Looking to the future, the Nursery Kitchen is being supported by the Made Smarter initiative to accelerate plans to further digitise operations. The company also has ambitious plans to increase the overall meals provided nationwide by 5 per cent, increasing the total from one million meals a year by an additional 50,000.