Leading Funeral Publication


Batesville Personnel Cuts

Last week wasn’t a good week for the two largest US casket companies. We reported last Friday that Aurora Casket reportedly cut 14 employees, though we never did get an official statement (regarding the personnel cuts) from an Aurora Casket spokesperson, the information reported has been confirmed by numerous individuals who were personally affected by the cuts.

On Friday of last week we also received information that Batesville Casket Company was handing out personnel cuts of their own. Initally reported to us from multiple sources was that 50 employees were let go including Delivery Managers and Office Personnel in Batesville, as well as the CSC Manager and Regional Manager in St. Louis. After conversations with Batesville Director of Brand and Marketing Communication Teresa Gyulafia we know this reported information wasn’t completely accurate.

Just like we did when learning about the Aurora Casket layoffs we reached out to Batesville for an official statement regarding the personnel cuts being reported.

We received the following statement from Batesville Director of Brand and Marketing Communication Teresa Gyulafia:

"We consistently monitor and size all elements of our operations to ensure that resources are aligned with market conditions and the evolving needs of our customers. The organizational realignment implemented over the last week affects only 40 positions across the company, or just over 1% of our workforce. We did not close any offices or service center locations; in fact,  we continue to make investments in a number of areas of the business to support our customers. As we have for more than 100 years, Batesville will continue to monitor the challenges affecting our industry and the changes we must make to continue to provide the right combination of products and solutions. "

It appears that the market projections for the coming fiscal year (beginning October 1st) for Batesville aren’t what they hoped for. A continual decrease in ground burials, longer life expectancy, and less money being spent on death care services is affecting the profession as a whole, no one or company is exempt.

The question we have to ask is how do companies best prepare for these market challenges? Are we just going to see more and more layoffs?

*Thank you to Batesville for providing an official statement for this article


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  • JackM

    Even though client-families have the choice to cut their costs when arranging services, they are truly the ones who suffer the overall results of this tightening economy in the end. Certainly casket companies and funeral homes are justified in cutting staff and other expenses in an effort to maintain viable businesses, but the lack of well-trained, knowledgeable, and professionally skilled personnel to adequately guide families through the funeral/memorial processes is becoming limited. It seems that in years past, more than one licensed funeral director was available most anytime to assist those in need. Today we will be seeing many more part-time people involved with fewer full-time licensed personnel, but the needs of the bereaved remain as demanding as ever.

    We can look at the casket companies, much as families look to funeral home, as a valued resource and a friend-in-business there to assist us when we need them. Today, in the private sector, that is changing very rapidly. Both need to be very cognizant of all employee positions, their value to the company and to the customer, and the related expenses. Again, the end result, is that the customer, client-family, today’s consumer in general, is the one missing out on some degree of personalized service.

  • Robb

    Teresa G…just another corporate talking head. “Affects ONLY 40 positions” she is quoted as saying. May have been worded a little different if her position had been one of the 40 (or 1% of the workforce) eliminated.

    • Steve P.

      Auruora being sold and facing layoffs. Batesville facing layoffs, Genesis Casket “streamlining” their executive staff and facing layoffs. Makes me wonder what the future will bring.

  • johng

    blame it on the greed factor that has been destroying what use to be a profession and now just like and industry. The independent funeral directors instead of working with each other and protecting themselves from big brother, acquired the big brother way of doing things. I have been in funeral service since 1963 and have seen what use to be a profession go down the tubes. The greed of the funeral “industry” has brought about the demise of the these casket companies. Casket sales have been replaced by the rental units or whatever the trend is. The problem today is that the mortuary schools in most cases are producing clones who worship the major corporations and have no concern for the families and therefore we will see the demise of more suppliers.

    • Robb Ustacould

      I was a mortuary school “clone” at one time that didn’t cowher down to the corporate greed. Matter of fact, I was chastised many times for confronting the “empty suits” in the front offices of corporations like SCI, Loewen and Batesville. Along the course of my often dismal career in funeral service, I encountered so many overflowing egos and over-engineered college-degreed ideas that seemed so fruitless at the time. But hey, what did I know? To most of them, I was only a dumb-azz mortuary school graduate (with only an AA Degree.) Today, I sit back, read this crap and tell myself, I told them so…