The subject of "death" is still a taboo subject in modern society. But every person comes into contact with a bereavement at some point in life. It is often a sad occasion, whether as an invited guest at a funeral or in the event of a death among close relatives. We - HEISO - produce urns for the funeral industry. To ensure a dignified farewell to the deceased, the urns are developed and manufactured with the greatest care in terms of design and quality. As a result of the changes in the funeral industry, some new forms of funeral have developed over the years, and this has led to a change in demand. In addition, there is the increased aspect of sustainability, which is becoming more and more important in production.
We are celebrating an anniversary this year. Our family business from the Oldenburger Münsterland (municipality of Lastrup) has been successfully active in the manufacture and sale of urns for the funeral industry for 40 years. Individuality and quality are the most important cornerstones for the daily "lived" family business.
Like father, like son
The company was founded in 1980 by Heinz and Josefa Sommer. Heinz Sommer, as a trained master carpenter, was previously active in the coffin industry. The economic development of the German coffin industry 40 years ago showed no positive development. The business with the coffins was no longer going so well and they looked for ways out. A wholesaler friend of mine saw things pragmatically and inspired the Sommers: “Make urns. There is only one manufacturer in Germany, there is still room for more ”.
HEISO Metallwaren GmbH started production in 1980 with three employees. Initially, the entrepreneur limited himself to a small basic range of copper urns, which were surface-processed as externally prefabricated blanks in a small production hall in the Sauerland. Two years later and with a wealth of experience, he further expanded his company by setting up and implementing the first important stages of prefabrication at the current location. After ten years of continuous growth, it was time to take further steps.
New administration building
Meeting room with a small exhibition
In 1990, Henry Sommer, the next generation, joined the company. There was a continuous expansion of sales at home and abroad and the expansion and expansion of the production facilities.
We experienced an enormous boost with the turnaround, because cremations were traditionally more pronounced in the new federal states. An open-minded view of the market and the interest in modern technology and new materials allowed the company to grow. Today we employ around 40 people.
Classic metal urns as well as the new biological urns come from our in-house production. Many urns are finished with banners, metal foils and sacred motifs. Most people associate urns with dark motifs. The younger models show that this topic can also be made more colorful in terms of design.
The change in the funeral industry is also evident in the diverse forms of funeral. Years ago, burial was the most common form of burial. Due to the growing interest in burials at sea or tree burials, for example in the cemetery or RuheForst, the product range of ecological urns also increased. There are water-soluble models for burial at sea as well as natural material urns or individually designed models with photo motifs or airbrush paintwork. It is important to us to develop the value chain as completely as possible in our own company. Only wood and ceramic components as well as artistic works such as hand-painted urns are purchased.
The increasing changes in funeral culture and needs today require a wide range of different materials, shapes and colors. Today, over 2,000 models are listed in the catalogs and kept in stock. On request, smaller orders can be sent within 24 hours.
Today it is sold through a broad distribution network to wholesalers and retailers in Germany and more than 20 European countries. But customers who are further away, such as in Brazil, are also among those customers who are a little bit proud. We manufacture exclusively at the Lastrup location in Lower Saxony. The physical proximity to suppliers is important to the company on the one hand in terms of regional funding and the use of environmentally friendly, short transport routes. On the other hand, this opens up the opportunity to always be in close personal exchange with the suppliers. The dialogue culture of the HEISO company also forms the basis of a "lived" customer orientation with the aim of maintaining a long-term partnership.
Sustainable product variety
Nowadays the subject of "sustainability" and "environmental protection" is a very important topic. With this in mind, the funeral industry has changed over the years.
Henry Sommer recognized this early on and began manufacturing biodegradable urns in 2008. This set the trend for a sustainable and ecological burial. Since metal urns, like copper, do not perish in the ground, many cemeteries in Germany have forbidden the embedding of copper urns, for example.
We invested in new production techniques for the biodegradable urns. After a few experiments and a lot of work, the know-how for production had been acquired. The certified biodegradable urns are produced using biodegradable granules. 100% is made of renewable raw materials and is CO² neutral.
But the topic of "sustainability" is also always taken into account in other areas of production. There is a separate circulatory system for the company's wastewater. Rejects and returns are granulated again in the plant and fed into the cycle. Only paper tapes are used for shipping and the boxes are not padded with bubble wrap or foam. Here too, only recycled paper is used for padding.
Looking to the future
40 employees are now working for us. We are always looking for skilled workers in order to exploit the possibilities of the market. The own family also makes a contribution, because the next generation is already in the business with son Pascal. As an industrial engineer, he enriches management with a lot of specialist knowledge. We - the Sommer family and our employees - are relaxed and well prepared for the demands of the market and the future. We know our own strengths and weaknesses. Highest quality, customer-oriented solutions and reliable delivery behavior are our top company philosophy and classic values of the region. And the fact that this can lead to success is underlined by a planned new building that will soon be built in the neighborhood.
Natural material urn coated by hand with birch wood