5 Best Practices for Setting Up a Barcode Tracking System
January 29, 2024
As a funeral director, you know it’s important to keep track of decedents, items, and personal effects for your chain of custody.
But you realize using pen and paper just isn’t giving you the real-time updates you need.
So, you decide to implement a digital tracking system.
Pretty quickly, you notice a few issues. Some of your staff don’t use the new tracking system every time they move a decedent to a new location or room. Others use it but don’t add notes or photos of items. And so on.
The truth is, having a digital tracking system is one thing. But you also need a plan to implement it correctly from day one.
In this article, learn 5 best practices to successfully set up your barcode tracking system.
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#1. Determine your why
First, think about why barcode tracking is important to you. When it comes time to bring your staff on board, they will want to know what led you to make this huge decision.
Do you want to avoid having to explain that you accidentally cremated the wrong body?
Do you want to avoid facing the embarrassment of a family realizing their loved one is wearing someone else’s clothes at the viewing?
Do you feel like your systems in place right now are chaotic and unreliable?
Do you want to be able to offer a higher level of service to families than your competitors?
Do you want more peace of mind?
These are all great reasons to implement barcode tracking. Whatever your reasons, be sure to have a solid understanding of your why before moving forward.
#2. Commit to going all in
Commitment is key, and you help set the tone of what you expect from your staff. Be prepared to remain steady and solution-focused, even when hiccups occur (because they will!).
Oftentimes, on top of committing, you need to create checks and balances for added accountability.
Why is this necessary?
Because even if you have the best barcode tracking system in place, the data in your system will only be as helpful as your staff’s willingness to use the system. For example, if a body is moved without scanning the move and another body is put in its place, then the chances of someone else mistaking the new body for the original increases. That is why going all in is key!
#3. Set up your locations
Next, you must set up your scannable locations with a barcode or QR code. Think about all the touch points or locations where bodies, personal items, cremated remains, or merchandise might be moved or stored.
Any location that comes to mind, add it! We recommend reviewing a list of areas with some of your staff to ensure every place is accounted for. It is better to have too many scannable locations than not enough.
Some examples to get you thinking are rooms, coolers, trays, shelves, and even your attic if you have cremated remains stored there.
The greater your caseload is, the more detailed you want to be with locations - down to embalming trays and refrigeration units.
#4. Take pictures
Many of our clients have found it helpful to take pictures of personal effects, merchandise (such as an urn), and even authorization forms and tie them to the case.
You can even leave notes for other staff members so they can see the updates in real-time. You can keep track of where the item is, when it was moved, if someone picked it up, and other important details you want to remember.
By doing this, every staff member in your funeral home will have real-time status of all items at all times. That means that if a family ever calls to check on where an item is, any member of your staff is equipped to answer, leaving the family feeling reassured.
#5. Plan for regular training and check-ins with staff
Understand that any change in your processes will be hard. It’s okay to admit this to yourself and your staff.
Especially in light of the huge change, you will want to plan regular training and check-ins with your staff to keep a read on how everything is going.
Weekly team meetings are the perfect time to address concerns, do a quick training session or refresher, and discuss any issues from the previous week regarding the new process.
As issues arise, it’s best to keep your staff accountable and remind the entire team that everyone relies on one another to provide accurate and up-to-date information. The system only works as well as the people using it.
Leave the chaos behind
Implementing a new system in your funeral home is no small task. But it’s worth it, especially when you can receive real-time updates, give families peace of mind, and add some order to your chain of custody process.
Or better yet – let us help you and your staff set up barcode tracking in your funeral home. Book a demo with an account executive today!