I’m Ryan, a funeral director working under the Chichester and Littlehampton care centres in Sussex.
After starting as a funeral arranger in 2014, four years later I’m one of our youngest funeral directors. I came through the Co-op Apprenticeship scheme and think it’s fantastic how Co-op has helped me progress.
When I first found out about Co-op Guardian – a digital service that will transform the way we do funerals, giving us time back to spend with families – I knew it would be a game changer for the funeral industry.
I’m all for innovation. I think if you’re not moving forwards, you’re doing something wrong.
Saving money in our Support Centre has allowed Co-op to invest in making things better in funeral homes. The investment is money well spent by Co-op in my opinion.
Currently there’s no funeral provider that has anything on the scale of what we’re doing. It’s certainly a step towards Funeralcare leading the market – which is a part of our Stronger Co-op, Stronger Communities ambition.
Working with Co-op Digital
Recently I was given the opportunity to work in the Support Centre for 12 weeks as part of the team who’ve worked on designing and building Guardian.
The brilliant thing about this service is Co-op Digital have built it with Funeralcare colleagues who’ve given their feedback every step of the way.
A lot of the team aren’t from funeral backgrounds so me and a few others are here as subject matter experts. I’m loving the experience of working in such a dynamic team – it’s a great example of working as one Co-op.
The system will never be finished – we’ll always be making improvements – which keeps it relevant and up to date. Colleagues are giving lots of feed back on improvements constantly and updates are made at least twice a week.
How it’s made our jobs easier
It’s connected more funeral homes in our region. If you go on Guardian you can see what’s happening across a much wider area than your own.
If you’re a mobile arranger moving from branch to branch it’s fantastic because you’ve got access to everywhere. Gone are the days when you’re covering one branch and have left the paperwork on a deceased person in another branch.
All that info is in the system, in one place, for all colleagues to see – it’s just seamless.
Also when we’re on call, rather than having this big wad of paper we have to trawl through, we can find stuff at the touch of a button.
It’s revolutionary. Using tablets has changed the way we arrange funerals. It helps us paint this picture of a deceased person – what we’re going to do for them, how we can best look after them, how we can personalise the experience and their journey through our care.
There was always going to be some resistance to it at first because it’s a different way of doing things, but it’s already starting to feel normal.
The roll-out of Guardian is happening right now and we’re hoping to have all regions live by the end of 2018 – that’s our target.
The longer people use Guardian, the more comfortable they’ll become, and we’ll achieve our ultimate aim of having more time with families.
Funeral Director, Sussex