Observed on the last Monday of May, Memorial Day is undoubtedly one of the busiest days of the year for cemeteries right across the United States, as visitors gather in large numbers to pay their respects. What do those challenges look like for you?
We asked cemetery professionals what their biggest challenge was when preparing for the day. 67% said that their biggest challenge was map availability, while 33% believe that special maintenance projects are their biggest challenge.
Adequate planning is key, underpinned by your ability to provide teams with quick and easy access to the right information in the right place at the right time.
Do your current systems and processes allow for that?
Linking plot and mapping information via integrated cemetery management software will help to increase efficiencies, provide smarter workflows, give teams greater visibility - and most importantly - provide a seamless experience for your families.
With that in mind, let’s examine some of the main challenges, and how PlotBox can help you to overcome them.
Veteran flag placement
Whether carried out by cemetery staff, or in partnership with local groups such as the Boy Scouts or VFW, flag placement can take a lot of time and effort.
It can mean staff or volunteers walking the grounds - often over long distances - trying to identify plaques, military headstones, or other markers of veteran plots.
Ensuring that this information is both accurate and communicated in a timely way can be challenging. You may, for example, already be sharing information captured on your site walks to those carrying out the task - but what if there was a more efficient way?
PlotBox’s records management system brings all deceased electronic records together into a single, quickly searchable database. With one click you can see who is buried in the plot, along with other related records, including images of headstones, paper records and linked locations. By using advanced filters, you can easily run a report that quickly identifies all veteran plot locations. And because these records are linked to a digital map of your cemetery, the report will drop blue pins, clearly showing you exactly where they are.
You can then share this information with your teams with the confidence that you have identified every location you need to, and without having to walk.
Learn more on PlotBox’s integrated cemetery management software and mapping.
Meeting the needs of visitors
Providing visitors with everything they need to locate their loved ones is undoubtedly a top priority for Memorial day. As we’ve seen, cemeteries have told us that map availability is one of their biggest challenges for Memorial Day
What does that look like in practice?
For many, that means ensuring that you have pre-printed an adequate amount of blank maps to give out; ordered pads of blank maps, and/or drawing maps, having first looked up locations in plot books, lot cards or by navigating paper maps.
PlotBox links plot and mapping information, meaning you can print off personalized maps for graves or records as you go - look up a plot number and print out a map with directions.
On the day itself, helping visitors to find the correct plot on their map will often involve going back and forth between the office looking for records - at a time when being present, visible and available is paramount.
Another challenge is ensuring that you’re properly staffed to cope with the additional demands of high visitation - providing your teams with everything they need to provide the highest quality customer service.
That means having counselors available to meet with ‘at-need’ families that walk in, staff to be at the event - whether a Mass or another function for Memorial Day, and ensuring that plot information is widely available to all visitors.
How does that work in practice for you?
Do you have a public facing location to provide that? Do visitors need to come into the office, or can staff provide that easily out on the grounds?
Inglewood Park Cemetery, California is just one of the many cemeteries who are using the PlotBox iPad app to help families quickly and easily locate the locations of their loved ones.
Previously, they had to note down the details, go to the office to look through large books or paper records, then rejoin the family. The app now allows them to do this in the moment, while they’re with the family. It also allows them to view any other property that’s available in the surrounding area - and even write up a preneed burial purchase contract, right from the app!
Watch how PlotBox has helped Inglewood Park Cemetery with Memorial Day.
Just over a third of cemeteries have told us that special maintenance projects are one of the main challenges in preparing for Memorial Day.
What does that mean for you?
Whether that’s carrying out a special family request, laying new sod in certain areas, removing any dead or dying trees or the risk of branches falling, or making sure your private estates are clean and swept out, work orders are essential to helping you keep track of what needs to be done and communicate with your grounds teams.
PlotBox allows you to generate work orders from customized drop down lists, assign them to staff and receive email updates as they’re picked up and completed. Linking tasks to our online mapping tool shows you exactly where the work needs to be carried out and track and update job status in real time.
Ensuring the safety of your visitors will be high on the agenda for every cemetery, and it’s even more important to ensure that your risk assessments are up to date by Memorial Day.
With the PlotBox Risk Assessment iPad app, you can walk the grounds to carry out assessments on monuments, memorials, benches and trees, and track the progress of any work that needs done as a result - safe in the knowledge that your site is ready for the increased numbers of visitors on the day.
Placement of monuments
How do you currently manage the setting of all of the monuments that have been delivered for Memorial Day? With increased demands and competing priorities, it’s imperative that your teams are organised in the most efficient way possible.
When it comes to managing the placement of monuments, your grounds team should have everything they need to carry out the work, along with clearly defined accountabilities and timelines for completion.
PlotBox’s electronic work orders will help you to manage your workflow from start to finish, allowing you to assign users within the system, link to plots, memorials and contracts, set deadlines and even upload an image placed at the correct grave.
Like to learn more? Download our eBook on Memorial Day planning: