In case you missed it: An article by Sean Johnson, CemSites’ Chief Technology Officer, was published in ICCFA Magazine’s March–April 2016 issue.
How software can address difficult
Change is happening so quickly that it can be difficult to keep up with the ways technology can help you better run your cemetery. These case studies might help you recognize ways you could improve your record keeping, sales process and revenue.
What issues is your cemetery facing today? Perhaps your records are in poor condition. Maybe communication with other staff members is not as organized as it should be. And—a situation I’m sure many people can relate to—revenue is not increasing as much as you would wish.
You may think of cemetery management software only as a way to digitize records, but today’s technology can provide solutions to so much more than keeping track of who is buried when and where.
During my experiences of working closely with cemeteries to develop software to improve their operations, I have noticed common issues surrounding data management, process management, accountability, communication and revenue.
Here are five case studies to show that, through management software, cemeteries can eliminate data mistakes (and lower liability), automate and streamline processes, protect records from malicious actions, efficiently manage staff communication and increase revenue.
I hope these stories about our death care industry peers will prompt you to evaluate your own cemetery’s workflow issues and view management software as a powerful asset to improve many aspects of your cemetery.
Names have been changed to protect identity.
Case #1: Data management, Todd (Pennsylvania cemetery)
When I met Todd, his cemetery records were incomplete. As his secretary began to transcribe records, he found many discrepancies between the books, previous management systems and the grounds.
Critical fields such as burial location, payment amounts and contact information were not being consistently recorded. Countless records were simply missing, and others were incorrect or did not make sense.
We all understand how important it is to keep accurate records — one small error can result in a lawsuit.
Todd found his solution in record management software that has smarter data entry components to limit opportunities for mistakes. He now uses a visual tool to mark grave locations, allowing mistakes to be seen and corrected instantly and easily — a big change from both paper records and previous software.
Critical fields are also required to be filled in when entering a record, to ensure that the data will provide the cemetery’s managers with as much insight and and as many opportunities as possible.
With this smarter technology and accompanying visual tools, Todd was able to correct more than 6,000 records in just one week.
If your paper records are filled with data holes, or if there is no easy way to see mistakes in your current record system, it is time for an upgrade. It is difficult to gain business insights from messy data, and valuable opportunities can be missed.
Case #2: Process management, Rob (New York Cemetery)
Rob was a new hire with no cemetery experience. The previous manager was fired for embezzlement, leaving Rob to manage two old and confusing record systems that contained overlapping data.
Rob was in dire need of one system to meet all of his cemetery’s processing needs, including a formal accounting system (since money was a hot topic at the time) and a way to speed up his contract process.
The duplicate data was cleaned up and migrated into an easy-to-use, all-in-one software solution, which allowed him to eliminate the two outdated systems. The new system includes contract automation so that cemetery employees never again have to write contacts by hand, along with an accounts receivable module to assure the cemetery that embezzlement will not reoccur.
Since all of his processes are within one system, the software can seamlessly integrate financial information with records to auto-generate reports such as balance due, payment history and inventory status.
Using more than one or two computer programs to meet your management needs may be less efficient and more costly. Investigate whether one program can integrate all processes…
…read the full article in the March–April 2016 issue of ICCFA Magazine.