Cemetery management software

Inventory Intelligence: Why it’s Crucial for Cemeteries

Having the clearest, most accurate picture of your inventory opens up a range of possibilities. Here's what they are and how to get them.

Kindly choose your preferred language by clicking on the globe icon and selecting your desired option from the available choices.

| Read time: 4 mins

For cemeteries and crematoria, knowing exactly what they have and where they have it is crucial. Operations teams, for example, have told us that managing and planning out available inventory is a significant challenge for them.

There are a number of reasons for this, prime amongst them being a reliance on older, disjointed systems that pull information from a number of different sources.

This, along with a combination of manual record keeping, process changes over time, staff attrition and deteriorating paper maps and ledgers, do little in the way of instilling confidence in the data deathcare providers are often working with.

And it's this lack of confidence, clarity and control that represents the antithesis of what we might describe as ‘inventory intelligence’.

We can therefore think of ‘inventory intelligence’ as having the clearest and most accurate possible picture of our inventory - its status, its value and its potential - achieved using digital tools and methods that allow us to capture and utiliSe that information optimally.

Those tools, as part of a cemetery management solution that attaches data to a unique location, open up all sorts of opportunities for cemeteries and crematories in understanding and auditing their physical locations and what they understand within their business systems.

As is the case with PlotBox - a solution built around that locational piece - a process involving drone flights creating hundreds of images stitched together to create a full aerial view, accurate to within 3 inches, amplified with surveying techniques for true GIS locational mapping.

The full power and potential of this process is realised when used in conjunction with a range of intelligence tools that enable cemeteries to find the real value in their inventory.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits this ‘inventory intelligence’ can provide:


Mitigating risk and minimising errors


In June 2021 a $20 million lawsuit was filed against a US cemetery for misplaced remains of their daughter. In this case, the family had been visiting what they believed to be the grave of their loved one for nearly two decades.

It’s a headline that is repeated time and again, highlighting that this is a very real and commonly realised risk for cemeteries.

The cost of misplaced burials can be counted, not just in thousands, or even millions of dollars in lawsuits, but in the very real emotional cost to families, and reputational damage to cemetery operators - distress, confusion and calamity at time of need that have lasting ramifications. 

Human error happens, but these can be compounded with inaccurate record-keeping over time, information being manually overwritten on paper maps or records.

Unsurprisingly, many cemeteries we’ve spoken to have been concerned about the risk that this carries.

An accurate account of your inventory can be achieved through data verification - reconciling the information held with that captured during the mapping process. The picture is completed with exact plot locations linked to deceased records, with accompanying information and even headstone imagery.

This not only provides greater confidence in what cemeteries have and where, but will help eliminate the risk of duplication and misplacing plots.

Moreover, the ability to proactively identify the potential risks of past mistakes will help cemeteries to get ahead of them.


Uncovering inventory


Mapping, it might be said, equals, “What inventory do I have to sell?” and without accurate, up-to-date and easily interrogable information, that’s not always a given.

In fact, without an accurate picture of your inventory, you could be missing opportunities for additional sales and revenue streams.

Admin errors or oversights, changes in plot management, misaligned sales processes, shortcomings in original mapping work, or simply not fully understanding your space, are just a few of the reasons why you may have more to offer than you think.

For example, the onsite verification process for one PlotBox customer helped them to identify inventory that had been marked as being on hold decades prior. When reintroduced into stock, this equated to a value of millions of dollars.

This process included locating the positions of the plots across several hundreds of acres, linking 450,000 interactive points, and capturing around 300,000 individual photographs. 

During this work, we were able to add tags showing any irregularities, or plots were located in the wrong location, as well as identify inconsistencies in inscription details versus the data that was held on file.

The potential for return on investment of this level of intelligence therefore is huge - and for some, could even offset the cost of the project entirely.


Pre-planning and space management


Land availability continues to be an issue for cemeteries of all sizes - and something that can be exacerbated without a clear understanding of available inventory.

Key to making informed strategic decisions in helping to ensure sustainability is to not only know exactly what you have, but the rate at which you are running out of it.

Inventory reporting, based on accurate, real-time information will allow cemeteries to review what they have in terms of plots, both at a specific point in time, or by showing the movement of inventory over a time period.

Accurate run rates means more accurate forecasts and the ability to take the right action in good time - such as placing plots on temporary or permanent hold within high demand areas, or reviewing the release of pre-paid plots, as well as taking steps to optimise the space you have available by revising facilities management plans or onsite works.

By allocating space and resources based on demand, you can take positive steps to counteract the challenges of land availability.


Accelerating sales


Empowering your teams to sell means giving them everything a customer needs to see to make an informed decision.

That means having real-time plot availability with all related information - which graves are available, on hold, owned but not occupied, and so on.

This immediate validation of inventory data - whether it’s in the home, in the office or on cemetery grounds can remove many of the barriers to sale that come from paper processes, allowing contracts to be signed in the moment and without fuss.

As we’ve already mentioned, data updated in real-time also removes any doubt as to whether a plot has already been sold, eliminating the chance of a duplication not being picked up for several weeks, if at all.

The positive impacts of true inventory intelligence cannot be overstated: audit reports and data verification identify discrepancies, ensuring accuracy and reducing risk; real-time status updates allow cemeteries to become both proactive and agile; uncovering untapped stock creates opportunities and sources of revenue; the ability to pinpoint exact grave locations can help to enhance the customer experience; while complete visibility and control of inventory can facilitate strategic planning.


To learn more, visit: www.plotbox.com



Get ahead of risk in your cemetery. Download our eBook today:

Risk mitigation




Similar posts

Subscribe to Blog Updates