Last week I traveled to Indianapolis along with my colleagues Rick Schouten and Greg Elliott for the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) Convention & Expo, billed as the world’s largest event for funeral related products and services. The convention featured more than 350 exhibitors, and over 3500 attendees from as far away as Nigeria, presenting the latest in technology and innovative solutions for the funeral services industry.
Link has attended the NFDA Convention & Expo for more than 20 years, showcasing our mortuary and funeral services equipment while providing us the opportunity to speak face-to-face with our customers and gain insights into how to improve existing products and develop new innovations to meet the changing dynamics of the industry.
Important Trends at 2015 NFDA Convention & Expo
A few key trends impacting the mortuary and funeral services industry were evident from speaking to attendees. Perhaps the biggest is an increasing demand for cremation services, particularly in Canada, where it currently accounts for approximately 65% of funeral services and continues to grow in popularity. To account for this shift, funeral directors are modifying their operations to offer a wider variety of alternative services such as memorial services and celebration of life ceremonies.
Another prominent trend is the increasing size of containers and air trays to accommodate larger decedents. As the need for larger funeral equipment continues to grow, our challenge is to help customers modify existing equipment and increase the size of our current product line to account for varying vehicle applications.
Funeral directors are also seeing more multiple removals, transfers and pickups for funeral services.
With these trends in mind, it offered us a chance to focus on how our latest line of products can help overcome many of these challenges. These include:
SS150XL Single Deck System
The SS150XL Single Deck System features four casket rollers, a sealed fiberglass deck surface, and a custom aluminum extrusion design. What sets our single deck system apart from others is that it is easy to take in and out (installs in less than 15 minutes) and easily converts for multi-purpose vehicles without needing to be modified as it anchors to existing seat pockets.
DD2000 Double Deck System
The DD2000 Double Deck System offers the same features and durable construction as our Single Deck System, while doubling the capacity for use in full-size cargo vans. The powered upper deck raises and lowers in seconds and provides up to 600lb capacity. The distinctive design can carry four stretchers; four cremation containers or two caskets.
What Our Customers Were Saying
It’s always rewarding to get positive feedback, and we had many great conversations with existing customers. In many cases, our current customers are our best sales people, as they are often able to explain certain nuances of how they use our products in ways only those other funeral directors and staff can fully relate to. They also appreciate how our products aren’t designed for obsolescence, and in many situations our deck systems can be transferred to newer vehicles they have purchased or leased. And while other manufacturers offer entire vehicle packages and expensive vehicle conversions, Link is able to provide budget friendly and economy-size solutions.
What’s Next for Link
The 2015 NFDA Convention & Expo was a great experience and we came away with many ideas for new product designs or modifications to our existing equipment. For example, we expect to have a new deck available in the near future for the Mercedes Metris.
If you would like to learn more about our solutions for the funeral industry, you can visit linkcmp.com or email me with any question you may have. Otherwise, we hope to see you at next year’s event in Philadelphia.