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Who Will Win the Casket Battle? [DISCUSSION]

Casket companies have controlled the headlines on ConnectingDirectors.com for the past few months. First Aurora Casket made a big splash by selling to a private equity firm, then followed up with job cuts. Batesville Casket experienced 40 job cuts, and just last week Genesis Casket Company cleaned house by removing its entire executive team and a reported 50 factory workers.

The only one of the big 3 who hasn’t been in the news is Matthews International! Let’s not forget about Thacker Casket who I guess is now the largest family owned casket company.

So we want to ask: Who will win the casket battle? Which company is going to come out ahead?

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  • Howard Beckham

    One of the most valuable “assets” casket companies still have for the most part is a distribution network for their products. I also expect to see some consolidation in one shape form or fashion. This consolidtion could be any thing from the outright merger to shared manufacturing resources perhaps, but it will be in the distribution network that will have the largest long term effect.
    Many of you may still remember the days when stores like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Sears “Craftsman Tools” proudly had signs in the stores that said “Made in the U.S.A.” We all know where most of the stuff in these and many other stores come from now.
    These casket companies know that too. They also know that most funeral homes can not or will not purchase 20 to 60 assorted caskets in a freight container. Most funeral homes like to call their local casket suppliers service center and have the casket delivered the next day to their door.
    Thus, I believe that the casket distribution network these companies have is their most valuable asset. As much as it pains me to say it, unless the casket companies can significentl improve the manufacturing process to lower overall cost while improving quality of the product they are making, some of thase big names if they are to survive, will have a “Made in China” sticker at the foot.

  • dan isard

    Ryan, please. Leave the sensational headlines for The Post! Being the biggest casket company in the US is a temporary matter. The time period is uncertain but it is definately a limited time period.

  • El Magnifico

    This is a no brainer: The Asian caskets! Now, with a large array of Asian casket distributors growing everyday and the improved quality of these alternatives, if you add the convenience that the funeral director don’t have to buy a full container anymore, the challenge for the American made units is even larger. You may also want to take into consideration that some of the big names are already importing and using Chinese hardware in their units,so, what are we talking about? As Howard says, I also believe that it’s a matter of time to see “Made in China” labels on some of the big 3 caskets. Well, they are already manufacturing in Mexico,so, what’s different with China, ah? Besides, as Dan says: this is just a matter of a limited period. Very soon, most of the caskets companies are going together with the fluid companies to a resting place…unfortunately. Just wait and see…

  • Matt Thompson

    While I believe distribution is a key component to the industry I don’t believe it’s a deal breaker anymore. Many FH owners are looking more and more and better price and “ok” quality workmanship as compared to absolutely perfect workmanship. It’s a reality in today’s economy. Also, most consumers can’t tell the difference and many more don’t give a crap. I never ever thought I’d hear myself say those words 10 years ago, but times have changes unfortunately.

  • Joe Scrogham

    After 25 years in the automotive business and retiring in 2002, I decided to go back to the workforce in Jan. 2012. I choose Casket Sales. I did the research and found the Asian Caskets were of equal quality at less than half the price. I decided to broker Caskets with a large importer of these products, they also subsidize their products with USA made products. I appears to me that Mathews has the best upfront plan, they have both, Import and USA made. The market trend has change primarily because of rising cost and many using cremation. I sell a beautiful 18g Caskets to a Funeral Home for $750.00, they in turn offer it for $3699.00 I am not one to judge what people should make but until all of us realize we are running the business in the ground with high prices ( no pun in tended) it is going to get more difficult to survive, for US manufactures unless diversity prevails. I love American made products and support when it is feasible. Genesis can make it but the management needs to thing, diversity. I applied with Genesis, wish I had gotten a chance to assist them

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