Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Are you having the talk?

Summer is creeping around the corner which means cookouts, days at the pool and lots of quality time with friends and family. This makes for a great opportunity for families to "Have the Talk."

How are you helping spread the word about the FAMIC education campaign, "Have the Talk of a Lifetime?" With your help, the "Have the Talk of a Lifetime" campaign will help people in your community discover the unique life stories of the people who matter most to them. These discussions can help families and friends make important decisions about how they wish to remember and honor the lives of their loved ones through meaningful memorialization.

In addition to encouraging more meaningful memorialization, "Have the Talk of a Lifetime" has helped consumers understand the important role that funeral professionals play in the memorialization process.

Start promoting "Have the Talk of a Lifetime" by logging in at talkofalifetime.org or call us at 800.798.4900 to get the materials on a CD.

This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at http://www.trigard.com/tuesdays.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Help employees stay safe in the heat

Sheryl Baumeister,
Human Resources
After a long, frigid winter, it's hard to believe that summer is just around the corner. If this past winter is any indication of what we can look forward to this summer, we can expect it to be hot and humid. For those of us with employees working in the manufacturing environment or outside, the heat may become a serious safety concern that we must educate them about and make sure they are well prepared to fight the heat.

During extremely hot and humid temperatures, the body's ability to cool itself is greatly affected. When our bodies heat too rapidly to properly cool off, our body temperatures rise and heat-related illnesses can develop.

Heat-related illnesses can range from heat cramps to heat exhaustion to more serious cases such as heat stroke. Here are just a few tips to educate your employees on how to help combat the summer heat:
  • Put less fuel on your inner fires. Eat less protein and more water based food. Protein increases metabolic heat production which also increases water loss.
  • Drink plenty of water. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids, even if you don't feel thirsty.
  • Rest often. To cool off, make sure your employees are taking small breaks in shaded areas to help keep cool.
  • Dress appropriately. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.
  • Protect yourself from the sun. To ensure you are fully protected from the sun, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and apply a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
With the warm weather upon us, I hope these tips will help keep your employees cool and safe this summer.

This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at http://www.trigard.com/tuesdays.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Get the waste out

Ryan Snyder,
Plant Manager
As manufacturers, we know the importance of getting rid of waste. And when referring to waste, we're not only talking about the physical waste, but also within the process of how we run our plants.

When we examine the way we do things and get rid of the waste, it makes us leaner. And being lean helps us stay competitive.

Throughout the manufacturing industry, there are seven widely-recognized categories of process waste, including:
  • Defects - work performed incorrectly
  • Work in process - work waiting to be completed
  • Overproduction - work completed earlier than necessary
  • Waiting - work that people are waiting on due to work imbalances, defects or other root causes
  • Motion - unnecessary human movement required to complete a transaction or customer request
  • Transportation - movement, either physically or electronically, of a customer transaction which consumes resources and costs, but is not required to satisfy the customer
  • Overprocessing - excessive work that doesn't add value to the product for the customer
In the manufacturing world, it's all about ensuring that everything we do ultimately provides value to the process in which we do our job and to our customers. Anything that we are doing that does not provide value is a waste.

Many times we are so caught up in the daily grind, that we often overlook the obvious waste in our processes. The extra effort towards a leaner way of doing things makes us more profitable and better equipped to provide value to the families we serve.

We have to make the time to evaluate what we do on a daily basis. I would be willing to bet we will find more than one of the seven categories of waste hidden in our daily routines. Take the time to be more lean.

This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at http://www.trigard.com/tuesdays.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Do you see the silver lining?

Donna Darby-Walthall,
Chief Financial Officer
Spring is finally here, which means it's marathon season. Watching the news about the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing a few weeks ago, I was reminded that with every negative situation, there can be a silver lining sitting in the shadows. One story in particular caught my eye. It was about a young woman who had lost both of her legs during the bombings and how she fought to run the race again this year. She wasn't going to let her new disability stop her from achieving her goal of running and finishing the race. She could have focused on the negative side of her situation, but she decided to rise above it.

I was so inspired by her story that I couldn't help but think how this situation applies to our industry. We have a choice. We can focus on what some perceive as threats to our industry, such as cremation or how today's consumer doesn't seem to value tradition. Or we can focus on the positive: helping families during the most difficult of times.

We have to stay positive and continue to educate the families we serve. We have to find new ways to help them celebrate the lives of their loved ones. Our families deserve the best. 


This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at http://www.trigard.com/tuesdays.