Friday, May 29, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

Honoring the men and women that fought selflessly for our freedoms and paid the ultimate sacrifice is something that many of us in the funeral industry do not take lightly. We received many great photographs and stories of how you celebrate and honor the fallen during the Memorial Day holiday

Calvary Catholic Cemetery & Mausoleum in Lincoln, Nebraska
At Calvary Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleum, they held an outdoor mass followed with a meal of hot dogs, chips and cookies. They also help a ceremony dedicating and blessing the new stained glass in their mausleum and above ground mausleum for miscarried babies.


The Funeral Source
For Memorial Day weekend this year, The Funeral Source attended four different wreath-laying ceremonies and four different parades around the Cincinnati Tri-State area. They also laid flags on a number of fallen veteran’s graves, including a gentleman who fought in Iwo Jima and Guada Canal. The Funeral Source is thankful for the sacrifices that our soldiers have made so that we may enjoy the freedom and democracy that the U.S. offers to its citizen.


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.





    

Are you embracing all cultures equally?

Last week, I had the pleasure of traveling to Toronto, Ontario.
Ethan Darby,
Director of Business
Development
This was the first time I had ever been to Canada. While there was not much of a cultural difference in daily life, I found their death care practices to be unique and interesting.

Did you know over half of Toronto’s population was born outside of Canada? It consists of a wonderful mix of ethnicities blending together while still keeping individual cultures alive. Possibly one of the best opportunities to express one’s culture is by honoring the life of a loved one who has passed. No matter where an individual is currently residing, they tend to refer back to their home country’s traditions when a loved one passes. These hometown traditions provide a sense of comfort and tradition for those attending the services. For this reason, it’s imperative that we remain receptive to these unique practices.

Correctly catering to unique cultures can provide your company with new revenue streams, as well as with a great reputation in your community. I encourage you to establish yourself as a multi-cultural service provider by going above and beyond for these families. If there are certain ethnicities that have a significant population in your area, you should research their customs and traditions. Think of ways to implement their culture in the normal services you provide, even if it is small changes, such as providing incense or a special flower. I promise you that these types of personal touches will not go unnoticed, and word-of-mouth will turn you into a true multi-cultural service provider.


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.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Why does it matter where you buy?


Stuart McDaniels,
Purchasing Manager

Everyone knows that Walmart has a great amount of purchasing power. This gives them better pricing, payment terms and other conditions for all of the products they purchase and then resell to us, their consumers. No matter what you may think of Walmart, the truth is that they are the largest discount retailer in the world. In my opinion, that is mainly due to their overwhelming purchasing power along with their willingness to pass these savings on to their customers. 

Walmart gets a better
deal on shampoo from
the manufacturer than
you or I ever could
For example, neither you nor I would be able to purchase, say, a bottle of shampoo directly from the manufacturer for anywhere near what we can just by walking into a Walmart and picking it off the shelf. Plus, imagine the chaos and the costs involved to the manufacturer if they sold individual bottles of shampoo to each of the millions of customers who may wish to purchase one at a time. Instead, they sell truckloads of shampoo to Walmart at a much better price, and let them handle the individual transactions. 

On our own, customers would not even come close to being able to exercise the same amount of purchasing power as they can when buying through Walmart. However, it’s not all one-sided. Without so many customers, Walmart would quickly lose the purchasing power they have.
The same is true at Trigard. We harness the volume of all of our customers to get the best value on our purchases. Then we pass that value on to you. In short, if we save, you save. It’s really that simple. 

So if you’re a vault dealer buying small orders of form oil, seal groove cleaner, paint or glue from somewhere else, I’d like you to really crunch the numbers to see how much you could save by switching over to buying from us. It might just be a lower freight cost at first, but the more dealers who buy from us, the more purchasing power we’ll have. And I promise to pass that savings on to you.

If you’re a funeral home, are you buying infant/child casket vaults from someone other than your vault dealer? Talk to your Trigard dealer about the price of those items and see how much savings you can find.

In the end, it’s a win for all of us.
 
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.

Friday, May 15, 2015

What happened to my cash flow?

Beth VadeBonCoeur, Accountant
Tax season is (finally) over. Your accountant has likely told you how your business did last year. But do you ever wonder, “If I made money last year, where did all of my profit go?” 

There are times, as business owners and managers, where the accounting records show a profit, but it’s still difficult to pay bills. When you are "in the black," it's easy to assume you should have extra cash. But in reality, this is not always the case.

What happens to your cash flow, and how can you solve the problem?

Whether you’re a funeral home, vault dealer or cemetery, you should start by looking at your inventory. We all have some kind of inventory: caskets, urns, finished vaults, infant/child products. It can feel good to have a warehouse or garage full of products ready to go out to families, but did you realize that you’re also looking at dollars sitting around? They’re just in the form of products.

Managing inventory levels can be a challenging balancing act. If inventory levels are too high, then you have a lot of money sitting around in the form of products. Carrying excess inventory is costly, because you have to pay to manage it and store it. But on the other hand, low inventory levels create their own problems. You may not have enough product on hand to meet customer demand. This leads to lost sales, rush charges and a negative experience for the families you serve.

So, how do you make it work? Regularly monitor and review your inventory levels. The amount of finished, ready-to-go inventory needs to be compared to actual sales figures to determine if the balance is right.

You also need to consider your inventory mix. Are you keeping lots of slow moving items?

Your purchasing habits also impact inventory levels. Are you buying earlier than you need to?

Competition, death rates and so many other parts of your business are ultimately out of your control. However, inventory is an area where you can make a big impact. By taking the time to monitor inventory levels and making necessary changes, you will see improvement to your bottom line and your cash flow.
 

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.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Don't let your competition run your business


Drew Edwards,
General Manager,
Sunset Funeral Home

I have a bronze plaque in my office that was given to me almost 20 years ago by my friend and boss, Rich Darby. It reads, "There is hardly anything in this world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man’s lawful prey.”

I believe it is as true today as it was two decades ago.

At Sunset Funeral Home, we are decided to invest in some remodeling that we are confident will result in a better experience for the families we serve. Our list includes everything from fresh paint to re-striping our parking lot. Some changes are small and others are more extensive, but they all are chosen with families in mind.

These improvements are taking place at a time that our competition is running advertisements talking about being “cheaper” than us. History has proven that the consumer that enters any arena as the “cheapest” usually will have the shortest lifespan in the marketplace, regardless of the industry. My advice is simple: don’t let your competition run your business.

Whether you own a funeral home, a vault company or even a crematory, you need to ask yourself what you stand for and what you represent. In order to be the best at what you do, you have to believe in your product, your people and your pricing. Set your pricing on products and services at a margin that is competitive, but with the flexibility that allows you to be the best at what you do.

After all, who do you want to be in your market in 20 years? You or your competition?
 
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 5, 2015

FREE ADVERTISING!

Did that get your attention?

Imagine this scenario. Three times a week, you see your business-card sized ad in the obituary section of your local newspaper. It has your logo and phone number. People read obituaries, so you know they see it. But is it working hard enough for you?

Advertising is an investment, which means it needs to perform for you. Did you know that we have a gallery of proven, hardworking ads for funeral homes, vault dealers and cemeteries?

Our ads are consistent, clear and centered on your customer. Best of all, they're available to you with a touch of customization for no charge. Just email the Trigard marketing team.


Here is a mini gallery of recent ads that can be customized for you. Click a thumbnail below to open a full-size preview.


Trigard's outdoorsman
Appliqu
é ad

Trigard's summer
layers of protection ad

Trigard's Healing Tree ad

Trigard's Healing Tree
and personalization ad

Trigard's
Showroom Magic ad





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.