Since starting in the furniture industry in 1934, Sauder has used its proprietary technology and spirit of innovation to develop deep roots in the funeral industry, as well. The third-generation, family-owned company has applied many years of experience manufacturing furniture made of engineered wood to the creation of a casket line that is revolutionary in its value, and unparalleled in appearance and quality. Hand built, finished throughout in the finest wood patterns, and accented with traditional brass finish, caskets from Sauder Funeral Products offer a no-compromise value.
Thoughtful products backed by a trusted brand – that’s the essence of the cremation and burial selections offered by Sauder Funeral Products. Every family deserves a meaningful funeral experience, and Sauder Funeral Products helps make it more affordable without sacrificing quality or appearance. The caskets are made-in-America, environmentally friendly and hand built.
“We have more than 80 years of experience in the furniture business and, about nine years ago, we started looking at funeral products, specifically caskets, as a way to diversify. We wanted to make products that were affordable and looked great at the same time. After two years of research and development, we concluded that we could make caskets and could do it at a significantly lower cost than solid wood caskets,” explains Dan Sauder, the Vice President of Engineering and New Markets at Sauder.
Breaking into the funeral industry with a product that was new to Sauder would pose challenges, but with Myrl Sauder, Chief Tinkerer and second-generation Vice President of Engineering and Innovation for most of his 51-year career, on the team, the company knew they would be successful.
“My dad, Myrl Sauder, deserves a lot of credit for the innovative products, the factory itself, and our efficiency. He has not yet retired and is now working full-time in Innovation and New Markets. The idea to get into caskets was his. He is one of the inventors in our Innovation group, which created the caskets, and is also responsible for the years of research and development on the project. He deserves all the credit in inventing and launching our caskets. He believed in it before anyone else did,” said Dan.
Sauder is the largest ready-to-assemble furniture producer in North America, and this status gives them a lot of buying power, which allows them to keep their casket prices affordable without sacrificing quality or design.
“We are buying over 50 semi-truck loads of board per day. This means we get our raw materials at a lower cost than most others and, in addition to that, we have high-efficiency production lines that make over 10 million boxes of furniture per year. We know how to do high volume and efficient work with caskets because that is what we do with the furniture side,” explained Dan.
Most of the casket components are made in the furniture factory and are then sent to a separate factory called the Sauder Funeral Products Focus Factory. This is where the final cutting, assembly, and shipping of the caskets takes place.
“Since we officially launched our casket line as a product of our business, we have seen huge growth every year. It took a while to get our name out there and to get people to trust us in this industry, but people are finally learning who we are, that we stand behind our products and that we are supported by a huge company. We are in it for the long haul and want to do it right. A big part of our research was listening to funeral directors and understanding what they really needed,” Dan said.
With the demand for cremation increasing every day, Sauder Funeral Products offers families a casket option for a traditional funeral that is just as affordable as cremation. Funeral directors know that families prefer wood caskets and the overall look of the wood designs, but families cannot always pay the price for solid wood. Families today no longer want to spend a lot of money on funeral services, which is one reason why cremation has been increasing in popularity. But, with wood caskets from Sauder Funeral Products, the affordability factor is still there. Funeral directors are able to offer traditional burial options to families, as well as cremation options, because all Sauder Funeral Products caskets contain very little metal and can be easily cremated. The crossover option provides families with flexibility and enables funeral directors to reduce inventory with products that serve all types of consumers.
“We had a funeral home put one of our caskets on their display floor. There were ten caskets total on display, but our casket accounted for 60 percent of their sales. Once the family members see our casket they absolutely love it,” Dan said proudly.
Sauder Funeral Products are also environmentally friendly. For a growing number of people, recycling and environmental concerns are part of everyday life. Every casket from Sauder Funeral Products is made from nearly 100 percent recycled wood. Engineered, environmentally friendly wood caskets are the only caskets they make. Unlike a typical metal or natural hardwood casket, their recycled wood casket offers the opportunity to carry a legacy of good environmental stewardship full circle. And it does so with grace and beauty.
With such a versatile product line, it comes as no surprise that one of Sauder Funeral Products’ caskets, The Bridgewater, has been nominated for the NFDA Innovation Award this year.
The Bridgewater is unlike most wood caskets on the market because it is manufactured with engineered wood. It is also the first engineered wood casket to incorporate surface texture that mimics the grain of solid wood. A layer of paper printed with the image of weathered oak is fitted on the engineered wood base, creating the appearance and texture of reclaimed barn siding. With its bumps, depressions and seeming imperfections, the Bridgewater’s exterior finish truly feels like weathered oak. With this casket, the look and feel of solid wood is accessible for more families than ever before. Its dramatically lower cost, textured oak finish and black hardware accents make it truly distinctive.
The Stockton casket offered by Sauder Funeral Products is just as unique. It is the lowest-cost, dome-lid casket on the market. It’s a casket that cannot be found anywhere else.
“Today’s cremation options are limited. By offering a Sauder Funeral Products engineered wood casket, funeral directors have the opportunity to encourage their families to do memorial services, viewings, or visitations with the body. This, in turn, helps the funeral home’s profit line. Our products can be used to upsell and assure families looking at cremation that they can afford a memorial service or visitation. In addition, we appeal to families that are interested in environmentally friendly options. Our caskets are made with 97 percent recycled materials, so it’s a very green product,” explained Dan.
The Ohio-based Sauder company has an 80-year history that has made them a household name with consumers across the country and, for the past nine years, Sauder Funeral Products’ mission has been to give families what they want. This helps funeral homes provide their local families with quality caskets at affordable prices. While there is much competition, their excellent product line, customer service and reputation have resulted in Sauder Funeral Products becoming a leader in affordable, innovative caskets.
For more information or to find a distributor in your area, call 866-419-3010 or visit their website at www.sauderfuneralproducts.com. FBA