As supply chain challenges affect businesses and consumers across the country, we have experienced few effects on our day-to-day business due to planning and forethought.
This forethought is important as a customer-focused business where families come to us—often unexpectedly. The last thing they want to hear is a three-month wait for a casket. Supply and demand is not something we want our families worrying about as they say goodbye to a loved one.
We’re fortunate with space and several locations, so we’re able to keep extra merchandise on hand. We also keep an updated online inventory of merchandise. When an item comes into our facility, we log the item along with which of our locations has it. When an item sells, a funeral director removes it from our inventory online. The software alerts our comptroller if we are getting low on an item so we can reorder it.
If we are out of a certain item in one location, we may have it in another location, and can transfer it and update the online inventory.
Phaneuf orders about 50% of our urns from overseas, and the current supply and demand challenges has a big impact on that. Several of our urn distributors have shut down, and we’re actively seeking alternate vendors. We work with several casket vendors via our casket distributor, as they cannot keep everything in stock due to increased demand and supply challenges.
Working with families
Even when supplies are not a global issue, we’ve had instances where a family prearranges for a specific casket, urn or memorial book years ago, and the company has since gone out of business or stopped producing that item. We offer options as close as possible to the chosen item of equal or greater value. This is similar to when someone preplans for a service at a church that has since closed, wants a certain clergy member that retired or even wants to use a specific florist that is no longer in business.
Granite State Quality Awards
Making it as positive an experience as possible is our priority for families. In 2013, Phaneuf earned the Achievement of Excellence–the highest recognition level in the Granite State Quality Awards. Phaneuf earned this recognition, in part, for our customer-focused culture and our approach to strategically grow and sustain a family-owned business in an industry where larger corporate chains are the trend. The recognition is based on the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, accepted around the world as the standard for organizational performance excellence.
We’re always looking into ways to improve our supply chain as the current challenge continues. We’ll always maintain our effort in keeping merchandise on hand for families’ peace of mind, knowing there will be a casket or urn available that is right for them.