As funeral directors we all provided a similar end product to our clients. So why is it that some companies, particularly the well established independent firms, do it so much better than others? In the case of my firm it’s not the what but the how that sets us apart.
I have to admit that this hasn’t always been the case. By the turn of the millennium
Uden & Sons had already been in business for 120 years and had established a solid reputation as a reliable firm who offered a competitive service to residents throughout South London. Under the careful stewardship of my father, Nicholas Uden, we had established seven branches and a fleet of three Daimler DS40 hearses and six limousines together with two removal vehicles, garaged between two bases in Peckham and Sidcup. More importantly as a business, we were debt free and in a position to expand, subject to opportunity and circumstances. This was the company I joined upon leaving school at 16, full of youthful enthusiasm and a passion to make my mark upon the industry.
The one single thing that started my crusade to change and improve our service was a pair of shoes! Black Oxford style lace up shoes with round toe caps. One of our staff who had joined the company at the same time as me had recently retired after 30 years as a senior policeman and he taught me how to polish my shoes to a mirror shine. Within weeks we all had the shiniest shoes in the industry and it was this that instilled me with the concept that we should be the best in everything.
Of course change doesn’t happen overnight and it has taken over 20 years to achieve our current status as the premier company within this industry. During this time we have disposed of two premises and established two new ones, completely replaced our fleet (twice!) and acquired a separate garage facility to store and prepare our ever expanding funeral vehicles which now included a brand new Bentley hearse and two matching limousines.
Over the coming months I will seek to expand upon how I have brought about these changes and explain to you my aims and ambitions for the future.
Director, W. Uden & Sons Ltd