Technology purchases and upgrades can be intimidating, especially for Senior Living communities.
The residents’ needs add an interesting dynamic to choosing the right software, and it has to make sense to leadership from a cost and functionality perspective. This is where Katie, owner and founder of Bright Solutions, comes in. With her extensive knowledge of software and the needs of Senior Living communities, she is an advocate for her clients and helps them choose the right software for their community.
This was exactly the case for Peter Farewege, Executive Director, at Juniper Communities, specifically their Bucks County, Pennsylvania location. On the blog today, we’re talking about the Point of Sale (POS) software Juniper was looking for and how Katie and the team at Juniper worked together to identify and implement the right solution.
About Peter & Juniper Communities
Peter Farewege has a passion for caring for seniors. His dad had a stroke at a young age, so he helped his mom care for his dad for about 11 years. Peter saw the value in caring for this generation and went into the industry to not only lead a staff of caring professionals but to genuinely care for residents and their families. In our interview, Peter spoke highly of his team of over 200 employees! “Our days look different every day,” he says, “and we have to be ready for whatever the day throws at us…..with a smile.”
In the spring of 2017, Juniper decided it was time to update their dining options. In the massive 10 million dollar project were plans for an addition including a kitchen and community dining room, a gorgeous seated patio for residents to enjoy, and a new apartment building. Along with these updates, it was decided that the community would need to update its POS system. The hope was that it would benefit both employees and residents and the interactions between them. With the decision made to start the search, they reached out to Katie.
“The first thing we did,” says Peter, “was to clarify what we needed the POS system to do. We talked through how the changes would impact the relationships between our employees and residents. We want our employees to be empowered to make the right decision and to feel a sense of ownership in what they do day in and day out, and it was important that the new POS system would help them collaborate with each other and with residents.”
A few of the requirements included:
- Support multiple dining program contracts
- Accommodate all types of dining rules including meal per day, declining dollars, payroll deduction, restrictions on how dollars are used, a la carte pricing, etc.
- Support all types of venues including dining, retail, and ancillary
- Mobile technologies
- Integrations to billing and payroll
Choosing a vendor
With a plan in hand, they started reaching out to vendors. Since Katie is familiar with the vendors, she was able to immediately remove some contenders and give them a list of a few vendors that might be a good fit. Peter says of the vendor selection process, “It was the toughest part because vendors will tell you what you want to hear! Katie was able to give us a detailed comparison of vendors and their capabilities in a clear and concise format. At the end of her presentation, it was clear to us which vendor was the right fit.” He went on to say, “We went into this knowing a little bit about POS systems, but having Katie’s expertise was a game-changer. She was asking vendors tough questions, and she really had our best interests in mind. We really felt like she was part of our team, not an outside consultant.”
Conversations happen more fluidly and honestly with a seasoned software professional involved. With Katie asking tough questions up front, there are less surprises as the project moves forward, and the implementation stage goes much smoother.
Next comes implementation. The leadership team at Juniper had full access to Katie during implementation. “She was very responsive and answered our questions during implementation. She was by our side the whole way up to the end,” Peter said. Having a consultant on-hand for implementation makes the process smoother for everyone. Katie was able to talk about how to educate both employees and residents on the changes based on how she has helped other communities roll out technology.
At the end of the interview, we asked Peter if he would refer Katie to a Senior Living organization who has chosen to implement a new software, and he answered, “Yes! We really enjoyed working with Katie, and our team would recommend her.”
For Katie, it’s about building relationships. She enjoys meeting with leadership teams that are lost and confused as to which software to choose, aren’t sure if they need new software, or don’t know if they just need to add a module of an existing software. “It’s neat to see the confidence rise as we work through the process,” Katie says of working with her clients. “There are many great solutions available to our industry, but at the end of the day my clients must find the right fit for their communities. It’s gratifying to work with teams to find the best solution for them.”
Juniper Communities is just one example of a successful project. If your Senior Living community is planning a technology purchase or upgrade, contact Katie.