InvoCare has boosted its spending on digital and information technology, investing in its upgrade program for PCs, tablets and phones, and advanced the construction of a new innovation center.
Investment costs in the funeral and crematory provider’s platform rose to $5.7 million in shared service center projects and ERP implementation, with another $4.7 million spent on SaaS-related expenses, now considered expenses incurred according to accounting changes.
In its 2022 half results, the funeral provider responsible for more than 290 funeral homes and 17 cemeteries and crematoriums, said its strategic drive continued over the period, with a focus on investing in foundation optimization.
InvoCare CEO Olivier Chretien told investors the company achieved “major milestones,” including the implementation of a new payroll system, investment in three new shared service centers, “as well as the continued standardization and simplification of the processes”.
Chretien added that InvoCare has prepared for the implementation of new enterprise resource planning (ERP) software in cemeteries and crematoriums, following the completion of its main program last year.
“The steps we have taken to address our foundations over the last 18 months have positioned us and we are moving into the next phase of the strategy with an increased focus on profitable organic and acquisitive goals,” Chretien said.
InvoCare will invest to make use of your CRM data and enhance its “employee value proposition to help us win and retain more talent than our fair share.”
The company will “increasingly focus on growth” to maximize “the return on investment of our network clusters, become more sophisticated in how we schedule our workforce, and continue our journey in upgrading our ERP.”
“We are seeing the rapid digitization of our offering and ecosystem and continue to invest in new digital offerings.”
“We have recently expanded the resources in our national customer service contact center to enable them to take more calls from staff and we are supporting them with dedicated CRM systems that link the phone field and on-site experience.
“We also progressively rebuild key websites on a modern technology stack and [will add] increased digital self-service and e-commerce capabilities and we have some exciting launches including live chat.”
Chretien added advancements in its new innovation center “connecting InvoCare with an ecosystem of innovators and partners, enabling mutually beneficial collaboration and unlocking the potential of people.”
InvoCare employees have now begun using smart glasses technology, enabling remote training and support to regional mortuary employees from central locations.
His investment in the digital memorialization business, Memory, now offers digital memorial chronologies across most Australian full-service funerals.
Chretien added that the company will look to develop its partnership channel and portfolio through merger and acquisition opportunities.
InvoCare’s $5 million growth and network costs included digital project initiatives comprising website, e-commerce and CRM projects and other network property projects.
While its total capex was cut from $22.9 million to $18.4 million in half, the company intends to continue its investment in the platform in ERP solutions for broader businesses and investment in digital solutions and electronic commerce.
More than half of statutory revenue rose 9 percent to $285.4 million, and reported a loss that shrunk 139 percent to $16.8 million.
Their operating earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) during the half increased 10 percent to $44.0 million and they reported $16.8 million in losses.