cremation management software

PlotBox and the Must-Haves for Modern Cremation Management Systems

We asked a bereavement services industry expert to review PlotBox's cremation management software in in relation to modern best practices. Here's what we found.

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| Read time: 7 mins

It’s always good practice to review how your solutions work in practice in relation to the practical needs of customers; after all, it is these insights that help to shape and develop products and services that do what they need to - whether that’s providing operational efficiencies, mitigating risk, enhancing customer service, or ensuring regulatory compliance.

To help, we asked an independent industry professional with an extensive working knowledge of a variety of cremation and cemetery management solutions, the operational aspects of working at a crematorium in conjunction with statutory regulations, and a wide-ranging variety of working practices prescribed by industry groups.

Here are some key takeaways:


What a cremation management system should offer


Help protect the integrity of the Operating Authority


Systems should provide a robust structure which ensures all cremations are carried out in a dignified and lawful manner. By eliminating, as far as possible, the effect of human error, administration teams should operate with systems that promote both accuracy and legal compliance.

For example, once a booking is made, regardless of whether received by online booking or direct telephone call, it should be possible to confirm via email details of the information received.

This helps to improve communication and promote accuracy, by effectively giving Funeral Directors a log of any changes. 

As further details are received, the system should assist the team by indicating which forms are required, and ideally a log of when they have been received, or what is outstanding.


Efficient and cost-effective management


Solutions should save time and assist both daily and periodic requirements by providing accurate and reliable reports for dissemination to the team, higher management and recognised national industry representatives including the CMA and Cremation Society.

Systems should also promote best practice and provide a robust way of working - delivering processes that ensure efficiencies are maintained without compromising an effective way of working.


Aid sustainability


Systems should be easy to use and avoid over-complicating tasks, so they build confidence in the team to allow offices to move away from the traditional reliance on paper records.

The management of paperwork and files must also adhere to the statutory regulations and permit quick access to the information as required.

Any digital data should be held securely and backed up appropriately, ensuring the continued integrity of the records.

On a related point, many Council Authorities are currently undergoing system reviews, with departments increasingly under pressure to reduce the amount of paper used where possible.




Memorials must be achieved in a sensitive and ethically considered approach, also being mindful of the restrictions being placed by GDPR.

There needs to be a secure way of keeping a record of who has purchased which memorial and under what condition -  i.e. lease periods.

Not all services will have the benefit of a dedicated memorial assistant, so any system in place should accommodate prompt, easy-to-follow progression and updates to an order. As well as this, time-saving options when managing the ownership, lease periods and renewal options are required.


Financial management


A crematorium financial system must be able to adapt to individual needs - from the completely independent facility responsible for its own invoicing, monitoring and debt collection, to the facility that passes invoicing responsibilities to a corporate finance team or system. 


Flexible Configuration


Once the initial set-up has been established, there are often occasions when system settings need to be changed - for example, annual price reviews, new products and updates to both the facilities and the diary.

It is essential, therefore, that all changes can be made without losing or compromising any information or data previously retained.

Crematorium staff are often under pressure, and should have the tools to make system changes (such as changes to document templates), without necessarily needing support from the software supplier.




What good looks like


From bookings to scheduling and cremation workflows; document management to financial controls, reporting, and disposal instructions - what then should a cremation management solution be providing in practice?

By no means an exhaustive list, here are a few suggestions:


Safe, secure cloud hosting


A cloud-hosted system in which data is regularly backed up, stored across multiple data centres and subject to continual testing can help to ensure that records are kept safe with all the due care and attention necessary to keep the records from misuse or corruption.

SaaS delivery models also provide a range of practical benefits such as less reliance on internal IT, or the need to configure VPNs etc. in order to enable remote access.

Hosted on the vendor’s servers rather than installed locally, it’s much faster to deploy - allowing crematoriums to benefit from much shorter implementation times. And because it’s managed and maintained by the vendor, live updates are provided automatically, keeping systems constantly up to date, and without incurring big upgrade charges.


"There are many improvements offered by PlotBox that exceed the capabilities of most other software providers. The successful and proven ability to email is only one example and the positive impact this has
to life in the crematorium office cannot be overstated."


Communication and emails


The positive impact of email within the crematorium office cannot be overstated, and ideally, reliant on few details from the authority, thus avoiding any complications imposed by the various policies and security measures in place when dealing with emails.

The ability to send emails automatically when a booking is made by stakeholders such as funeral directors, as well as via the office is also an advantage, as well as further emails that indicate when bookings have been amended - creating a clear picture of what happened and when - helping to ensure complete visibility of the process.


Diary scheduling


Centralising all the information required to operate a crematorium in every practical sense, via a main and auxiliary diaries is ideal. Having multiple diary options further aids communication with the wider team - all of the information needed in one place, streamlining processes, enhancing communication and aiding resource planning.




Being able to adapt a cremation solution to individual needs is important, and specifically, post-initial setup, the ability to filter various layouts and prompts to meet the needs of the business in relation to statutory regulations is of great value. 

For example, easily amend document templates, or add columns to reports - without assistance from your software supplier - providing a crematorium with the ability to adapt configuration as required.

Of course, here the greater the amount of detail that can be captured, and in an intuitive order, will also help to reduce the possibility of areas being missed, mitigating the risk of error.


"The use of the funeral director portal allows Funeral Directors to upload a lot of information including copies of the paperwork. This is also another brilliant progression."


Funeral Director Portal


Clear and timely communication with stakeholders is always important. Here, the use of online portals - such as the PlotBox Funeral Director Portal, allows Funeral Directors to make provisional bookings online and even upload relevant information, including copies of required paperwork. 

Together, these help to not only improve communication and save time, but also enhance the customer experience, allowing them to make important decisions in the moment and without unnecessary delay.

While the information provided will always need to be checked and verified by the crematorium team, it does mean that paperwork is moved more securely and more conveniently processed as needed.


"Within PlotBox bespoke checklists can be created for any major process. These checklists are very useful tools and can be configured by the individual offices accordingly. It makes it easy to keep track of the progression of paperwork etc and ensure all necessary tasks are completed."


Check Lists


A completeness check of some kind within a management system is of course a necessity, but not all will offer a secondary means of tracking workflow.

The ability to create bespoke, configurable checklists for any major process is a major advantage, as they provide an easy way to keep track of the progression of paperwork and ensure all necessary tasks are completed.

This not only helps to provide a paperless way of working, but where a greater level of control is required over when tasks are actioned - such as the scattering of cremated remains or audit of ashes on hold etc. - reports should be easy to create, export and even print off, if necessary for audit purposes.


"The memorial function in PlotBox is as robust and competent as you would expect it to be with such a comprehensive system. The ability to reserve and keep active record of advance enquiries and reservations
is just the beginning."




The ability to reserve and keep active records of advance enquiries and reservations is just the beginning in terms of memorial management. The ability to link this to mapping functionality will then enable operators to provide clients with an extremely professional product and the clarity this can provide when locating areas can reduce most of the inherent difficulties when dealing with memorialisation.

Moreover, utilising this in conjunction with a CRM will also help to ensure that sales enquiries are managed professionally, as well as providing another opportunity to reduce the amount of physical paper required in the office.




Financial control is paramount. Ideally, these financial processes should be integrated to allow for more seamless processes - whether running as a standalone system or linking to existing accounting platforms - in all, helping to save time and reduce risk.


"From the moment you log on you are aware of the very many improvements PlotBox has to offer compared to [other] systems on the market."




Ultimately, a modern cremation administration solution should be one that gives you complete confidence and control in your data, with the processes to effectively manage your teams, streamline your processes, ensure compliance and provide the best possible service to families.

If you would like to know more about how you can achieve this for your cremation facility, click here.



Crematorium management


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