DSC_0246by Charlie Kanet

How important is it to acquire the right equipment for your crematory facility? Ask Jimmy Howard with Howard Mortuary, in Sanger, TX.

After 20 years of working in the mortuary business, in 2012 Jimmy Howard took a significant step and started a crematory business of his own, Howard Mortuary. Equipped with a new retort, he enthusiastically opened his doors. Yet just two years later, he had thoughts of closing.
“Right from the start, the retort was a problem,” recalls Howard. “I was so frustrated that I figured I would either get out of the business or find a better brand.” That’s when he found the right equipment, backed up by the right company. Now his business is efficient and growing – and Howard is able to enjoy his role as a business owner.

“This is a total 180 degrees from what I was used to,” says Howard, “from the customer service to the daily retort operations.” Howard Mortuary can perform up to 10 cremations in a 12-hour shift. “With my old machine, in a normal day I averaged only three cremations.” The cool down between cremations was lost time and lost money, with idle employees. “Because of the old retort’s inefficiency, I couldn’t keep up with demand and had to turn away business during busy months – and no business owner wants that.”

Now Howard is able to fulfill the needs of all of his clients, even those with large and oversized cases, without even using the old retort. His new cremator – with a load capacity of up to 1,000 pounds – is now operating 12 hours a day, often with oversized bodies, and yet his natural gas bill has actually gone down. “That’s a bonus I wasn’t expecting.”

The 180-degree difference extends beyond the functionality of his new cremator. Howard was astounded by the level of customer service and support he received from his new manufacturer. The technician performing the start-up remained on-site for three days, insuring that he and his staff were properly trained in the operation of his new cremator. “With my first retort, the installation technician couldn’t get out of here fast enough,” recalls Howard. “Now when I have a question, someone takes my call immediately, or calls back shortly, and walks me through everything patiently and knowledgeably.” That’s a significant difference from the “old days” when it typically took eight hours to get a call back about the previous retort, which his wife had nicknamed the “devil machine.”

The training on the new cremator was a breeze. “We were all comfortable right away with the user-friendly operation.” Howard likens the operation of his new retort to taking a new route to work. At first it feels different, but when you arrive you discover you’ve saved a bunch of time.

Jimmy’s story could be your story. If you are shopping for equipment or service for your new or existing crematory, shop thoroughly so your story also has a happy ending. FBA

Charlie Kanet is president of Kanet Advertising, a full-service agency in Cincinnati. With more than 25 years in the advertising and marketing field, Kanet specializes in the business-to-business segment, with a particular focus on serving the death-care industry.  Kanet Advertising has been recognized nationally with a Hermes Award, a Marcom Award and a Stevie Award, all for advertising created for clients in the death-care field. For more information, call 513.241.2874, or email [email protected], or visit www.kanetadvertising.com.