In any cemetery or crematory, having a comprehensive overview of your business is essential to maintaining a sustainable operation. Whether you need a snapshot of your financial position or projections for the year ahead, an indicator of the current state of company assets, or need to ensure regulatory compliance, there are many reasons why businesses operating in the death care sector need to adopt a smart approach when it comes to business intelligence and reporting.
There is a saying, ‘The Devil is in the Detail,’ and this is often the case when it comes to business intelligence. Without it, on the surface, things can often seem as though they are ticking over nicely, and the numbers appear to roughly add up to what you’d expect. But without clear visibility of your entire business operation (the good and the bad), the cracks will slowly start to appear.
Cemeteries and crematories are often working with a fixed budget, limited resources, and finite capacity while also facing increasing customer demand. Many often fall into fire-fighting mode, simply dealing with whichever issues are the priority at that particular moment in time. This means that any insight is usually short-sighted in nature. This works entirely at odds with the need to create a sustainable, secure, long-term business operation. The smartest decisions are made when all the cards are on the table, and the effective use of data ensures that you’ve got the entire deck on view.
Here are some of the key ways in which cemeteries and crematories can benefit from comprehensive business reporting:
Identify profitable revenue streams
Finance is the lifeblood of any business, and gaining greater insight into how money is flowing in and out of your operation and from where is essential to understanding what is working well and what isn’t. We know that finding ways to generate additional revenue above the fixed costs for a service provided (such as a cremation) can be difficult. When you do find a good revenue earner, clearly identifying the additional income generated will be essential to justifying future expenses, marketing investment, or resources to grow that figure further. Additionally, understanding the natural peaks and troughs in your cash flow can assist with more accurate sales forecasting, allowing you to plan ahead rather than always being on the backfoot.
Remain compliant and up to date
When resources are already stretched, the last thing your business needs is to get caught up in compliance or regulatory issues or find discrepancies when compiling end-of-year reports. Comprehensive reporting systems ensure that everything is tracked, logged, assigned, or reconciled, meaning that the reporting process remains smooth, streamlined, and cost-effective. It is easy to pull up past reports, double-check any queries or review any changes that need to be made ahead of formal deadlines.
Synergize operating costs
Cemeteries and crematories are often busy operations with different departments and functions working to their own agendas. Maintenance has different priorities to Operations or Marketing, yet all need to work together to achieve optimal outcomes. By gaining visibility to the entire business, it will be easier to spot synergies and areas for collaboration, as well as identifying the leaks; those areas where cost-savings or efficiencies can be gained.
Improves understanding and empowers teams
When individuals, teams, or departments work in silos, they become oblivious to issues affecting those outside of their immediate circle. When this happens across a business operation, a lack of empathy, understanding, or appreciation of other function’s pain points leads to internal conflict, job dissatisfaction, and increased staff turnover. It also leaves the business in a precarious position, with those responsible for managing it having very little understanding of how all the cogs fit together.
Comprehensive reporting does far more than simply stating the ‘what’; it helps to facilitate a greater understanding of the ‘why’ and the ‘how.’ By providing context to proposed decisions, particularly if it comes to a change in budget, resources, or schedules, employees are able to see the bigger picture; this is something that they can ‘buy into’ and feel personally involved in. Teams that work together to achieve a shared outcome are more effective, more efficient, and they’re generally happier too.
Business intelligence is often one of the areas that is often passed around as ‘somebody else’s problem,’ but that’s usually due to a lack of understanding about what it is, what it shows, and fundamentally, how it can help. Once the benefits of reporting are seen in practice, it becomes much easier to incorporate it into everyday business decision-making. Thankfully, there are a number of solutions out there, such as the OpusXenta Business Intelligence, which can help you to utilize your business data to make smarter business decisions, empower your staff, and keep your customers happy; a win-win all round!