As you are on this site already, you probably know that parking management systems are a convenient way to control the flow of vehicles in and out of a car park.
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, car park systems help organisations strategically manage how visitors and employees use their parking facilities.
Over the past number of years, more and more businesses have realised the importance of an efficient car park system. For instance, if correctly used, it is a tool that can increase parking efficiency, increase revenue generation, and give data that can drive better results for your business.
Despite this, those choosing how to manage their parking facilities aren’t always focused on the right elements.
Throughout this article, we are going to look at the common pitfalls many decision makers make when choosing a car park system.
However, before we do, let us take a quick look at the different approaches you can take…
Keeping It Manual
Believe or not, there are still some venues that keep a small-scale “man in a hut” type operation. This involves an employee keeping track of incoming vehicles, issuing them with a ticket and monitoring their use of the car park.
Of course, this low-tech approach is problematic for a number of reasons, with scalability, human error and inefficiency being among the top issues at play.
It is also wide open to corruption, allowing for undesirable practices to go unnoticed and for those using your facilities to be taken advantage of.
Many companies prefer to use a ‘hardware first’ approach, with the likes of barriers, pay-stations and CCTV used to manage their parking facilities. In this case, there is usually someone on site to deal with difficulties, and the hardware generates reports on revenue generation and occupancy for the user.
There is usually an initial hefty outlay on capital and remote booking is rarely a feature. If this sounds familiar, that is because this is how most car parks are managed and it is how they have been managed for years.
Businesses who are using this type of system are missing out. It often results in allocated spaces not being used and a car park that is not reaching its potential.
This option offers real-time reporting and insights that aren’t otherwise available. Moving with the times and technologies of today can also see upfront capital cost drop dramatically.
A software first approach also offers a smoother experience to the user, with drivers able to use their smartphones to pay and link their entry and exit to their license plate or phone.
The migration from a hardware to a software focused approach is a slow one, with hybrid car park systems that balance both options a regular occurrence.
However, consistent improvements are causing organisations to look at the benefits of integrating better software. Improved utilities and visitors enjoying a better overall experience from the moment they book a space is a key reason.
Of course, there will always be those that opt for a more traditional system. However, it is likely that this will lessen as businesses change their focus and choose superior car park systems.
Whichever you opt for, we would recommend you read through the following potential pitfalls before you choose your car parking system…
1. Ignoring Future Needs
Most businesses choose a car park system that suits their needs today and not their requirements for the future.
Although, this approach may be appropriate for your business right now, you should also keep in mind whether or not the system you have chosen is scalable for when you need it to be.
As demand for spaces increases as your business grows, it will be essential that each one of your spaces is going to good use.
Allocation and remote booking features become increasingly important in this instance.
If you ignore your future needs, you may even end up contracting off-site parking and this will result in a huge, and potentially unnecessary, cost.
As the world of business practices becomes more flexible and remote work becomes commonplace, an ability to adapt is more important than ever.
Systems will need to use data to help manage occupancy, as employees won’t be using the car parks in the same way that they did previously. There will be a different number of vehicles in these facilities each day.
The days of allocating a huge percentage of spaces to specific employees on a year-round basis is a thing of the past.
Chris Clarke, who works in Business Operations in Neueda discussed their choice to use ParkOffice and how this was part of the decision-making process.
He said: “With our culture of flexible working, we needed a solution that would allow us to manage employee parking in a world where different people are coming to the office every day, ParkOffice fit the bill brilliantly.”
3. Not Fit for Purpose
Occupancy management needs are different from car park to car park.
Automating these needs efficiently has led to many a happier business environment and an overall cleaner process for employees.
For example, the law firm Leman’s previously had a “first come, first served” parking system in place. This was causing tension within the office.
Not to be too self-congratulatory, but ParkOffice‘s booking management and allocation features changed this. It ensured the car park was optimized for employees. Since the changes, there has been an increase of 50% in the amount of people accessing parking at the office.
When choosing a car park system, consider the needs of its users and choose a system that can help you meet those needs.
When choosing a car park system, this is one of the most important elements: it can’t be too complicated for the user!
Afterall, if you’re system isn’t user friendly, then there will be further cost to bring those users up-to-speed.
The likes of booking, payment, ticketing, and ease-of-use should be considered in this instance.
Ideally, those using the facility should know whether or not there are spaces available before they arrive at the facility. Otherwise, commuters may be apprehensive about using the car park.
This happened with New Zealand’s largest retailers, The Interiors Group, who had a parking system in place where it was almost impossible to predict the number of spaces that would be available on a day-to-day basis.
Many members of their staff refused to drive to work due to this.
However, a full optimization and automation solution was brought forward by ParkOffice and this led to a solution that now sees consistent 95%+ parking occupancy.
If choosing a more traditional type of car park system, you should consider the cost and time that will be associated with running it.
Julie Winter, the Office Manager at Alstom ANZ discussed the problems she had with one of the company’s previous systems.
She said: “I would spend hours everyday helping people find somewhere to park. I was pretty much becoming a parking attendant. It was incredibly time consuming and incredibly inefficient. The car park now manages itself most days. The car park is almost always full now and employee satisfaction has increased.”
If you choose a more modern and efficient system, then you should also choose one that has a prompt and willing support mechanism in place. This will give your staff more time to do their actual job and create a more productive workplace.
You should also consider what level of maintenance is required and whether you have the skills in-house to install and run the system you are considering.
It’s an age-old tale, where a business purchases a software that can’t link with the hardware already in place and vice versa. However, by choosing a car park system that can connect with your existing hardware and software systems, you will create a streamlined employee experience.
By linking everything from the gates and barriers to internal communications, you can create a situation where ease-of-use is a priority and car park users feel prioritised.
Climate change is the biggest challenge of our generation, and many companies are concerned about the possible affect their employees’ commute is having.
A common pitfall for companies that want to reduce staff’s carbon footprint is to ignore the opportunity that their car park system offers.
A company can reduce car commuting drastically in this instance. One company that did so is Neueda, who introduced a daily charge to use their office parking facilities.
They then donated all profits to local charities. They did this while ensuring that any employees with personal mobility or health issues were guaranteed parking whenever they needed it.
In today’s world, data is almost a currency.
It is used to make informed decisions about virtually every element of our lives. By ignoring it in this instance, your business is making a choice not to be as efficient as it possibly can be.
Every mistake is an opportunity to learn and if you have experienced any of these pitfalls in the past, then worry not, because we are here to help.
A robust parking management system is more important now than ever before- with the changing commuting landscape and high need for flexible workspace solutions as we go back to the workplace.
Join industry leaders from companies like Sanofi, Indeed.com & CBRE, schedule a demo with ParkOffice.io today and solve your parking problems in the click of a button.