My own historical family businesses are a perfect example of the evolution of a business to fit the consumer and stay relevant. Back in 1872 my great-grandfather arrived in the New World with a skill as a cabinet maker. He set up shop and when people died family members approached him about building a coffin for the deceased. The cabinet business evolved into two businesses, a furniture store and a full service funeral home. As time went on, we became very adept at the funeral business and concentrated on that business. . . eventually moving into cremation also.
You get the idea. . . business very rarely moves linear, but generally moves with starts and stops that sometimes takes some strategy shifts. . .and some bold ideas along the way. Australia’s largest provider of death care services, InvoCare, announced in this article that they will be “resetting their strategy so they can better leverage their core assets”. In my opinion, it is a shift to stay at the fore-front of what the consumer is looking for. . . .a shift that every business must continuously look at to stay relevant and move forward.
The article also states that the result will be that InvoCare will “shift in its business focus to simplify, standardize, and control costs“. InvoCare says that this shift will “prioritize share of value and profitable growth instead of volume market share.”
According to this strategy presentation CEO Olivier Chretian opines, “We can better leverage our assets while shifting our business focus”. The presentation shows investors that InvoCare will focus on trends affecting the consumer, the demand for services, and the market. Over, the next couple of years InvoCare will move into three phases of the strategy – 1) Reset, 2) Grow and 3) Diversify. (BTW-The strategy presentation linked here is excellent to see in that it gives explicit goals and methods of reaching those goals — If you strategize in your position, you should take a look at it)
Again, according to the article listed above, InvoCare sees new opportunities in “Green Memorialization, digital engagement, business to business, the expansion of its cremator network, bringing its business to new territories, and property options“. The company also noted that it continues to see opportunity with its recent US$ 36.4 million expansion into the pet cremation market. Management noted that “pet ownership rates continue to grow, the humanization of pets is increasing, and the industry is highly fragmented”. (You can read about InvoCare’s expansion into the pet cremation business here)
Australia and Covid-19: While doing research for this article I wanted to check up on the statistics for Australia as to how funeral homes coped with Covid-19 and additional deaths in the country. It appears, that like New Zealand, being an island nation that limited the travel early and strictly to the nation paid big dividends for Australia. As of May 27, 2021, (yesterday as of the published date of this article) Australia has had only a total of 30,063 known cases of Covid-19 with only 910 deaths for the entire country.
Even more amazing, the vast majority of the deaths occurred between the July-September 2020 time period, with only 6 additional deaths occurring from October 15, 2020, to today’s date. That is in a nation of over 25 million people. Obviously, they have done something right.
Here are the Australia statistics on Covid-19 from Worldometer. (FYI–This is a good source to find Covid-19 information on an interactive format for countries all over the world.)
Have a great weekend.
More news from the world of Death Care:
- Aftershocks: The long-term impact of Covid-19 on the funeral industry and funeral planning. Worth
- Service Corporation International completes offering of $800 million of Senior Notes. PR Newsiwre
- From body snatchers to dodgy marketers: The dirty history of funeral schemes. The Conversation
- In SE Minnesota, legal dispute over an old cemetery raises questions about who owns the past. Radio commentary and print story. Minnesota Public Radio
- Oakland Cemetery announces opening of lighted glass cremation niche option. The Indiana Gazette (IN)
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