American Headstones Company and many others today are experiencing some major challenges in conducting business and headstone manufacturing during Covid pandemic. Business is not as usual and is filled with opportunity for those willing to change or they fall into disastrous pits for those who choose not to employ different ways of conducting their business.
The supply chain is in a complete disarray due to Covid infections throughout the world, India is a leading supplier of granite. The highest quality of Black Granite comes from India. Product cannot leave factories overseas and if and when it arrives here in port it is sitting to be unloaded. We are affected by this along with every Headstone fabricator across the country. Prices are escalating due to this and the customer will end up paying for this turmoil. Import containers arriving now have costs sky rocketing.
What can be done to make it easier to deal with all of this? We have opened up our communication with other headstone manufacturers and lend a helping hand in sharing certain shortages such as granite inventory, sand blast stencil material and sand blast media when possible. Sharing the burdens of woe make it bearable at times and strengthens the relationships.
Another advantage for companies that have stock in their yards that can be cut down on site using cut off saws and reconfiguring to standard cemetery sizes such as 12×24 or 16×28 which represent over 50% of sales. This will keep orders satisfied for some time.
Standard lead times to customers have moved from 6-8 weeks to 10-12 weeks on standard items and 10-12 months on special order granite bases and tablets. The uncertainty of product coming in on a timely schedule has been eliminated for now.
Families will have to trust their supplier that their Headstone or Monument will be completed once this supply chain gets moving again.
Cemeteries across Southern California such as Pacific View, Orange County cemetery district, Santa Ana and Fairhaven continue to hold burials daily and families are not able to get markers installed to honor their loved ones due to the delays in headstone manufacturing during Covid. All suppliers in California are now impacted by shortages and longer lead times from their suppliers. In one case the supplier of stencil material gave notice and stopped manufacturing material effective immediately.
We at American Headstones Company see hope in 2022 once the pandemic is in control and business is back to normal. We have never not delivered on a headstone, monument or Bronze marker and will not let this pandemic win over us.