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“People are just dying to get in here,” the old joke about cemeteries goes. While death is inevitable, the options for dealing with post-death are not. Sales in the casket industry have been declining for nearly a decade. Industry leaders Hillenbrand, Inc. and Matthews International Corp. are faced with the grim reality that their business is not likely to grow even when the economy rebounds. Both companies are revamping their business strategies in order to remain viable.


  1. Conduct a SWOT analysis for Hillenbrand, Inc.
  2. What master strategy is Hillenbrand, Inc. employing in response to declining sales in the casket making industry? How is this master strategy being implemented (i.e., what form does it take)?
  3. In what ways is Matthews International’s strategy similar to and different from Hillenbrand’s strategy?

SOURCE: D. Mattioli, “Casket Makers Dig in as Sales Take Hit,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at

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