By: James Pascascio, Manager, Consulting Services
Originally published in Parking Today, August 2019.
Parking systems are a big investment, whether you are a small operation with a couple garages or a large university or municipality with PARCS, pay stations, permits, and an enforcement team. Have you ever wondered whether you are getting the most out of your parking system? Maybe you inherited your system and are not quite sure where to begin to take advantage of all the features. Or perhaps you experience a lot of staff turnover and spend more time getting people up to speed than looking to improve and move forward.
If this sounds like you, then you are likely frustrated. However, the solution can be simple: consultative services with your vendor. While the term “consulting” in the parking industry often refers to costly six- or seven-figure deals to analyze a city, university, or organization’s parking operation, consultative services are different. Consultative services consist of your vendor coming alongside you to analyze your solutions and make data-based, best practice recommendations tailored to your operation, helping you maximize the value of your investment.
Why Consult with Your Parking Vendor?
It is likely that you have made a substantial investment in your parking operation. If you are not holistically digging in to your systems and learning about the different nuances, then you are not getting the most out of them (and therefore throwing money down the drain). Your parking vendor is the foremost expert on their products and systems, so they will be able to teach you the ins and outs and ensure that your solutions are optimized. Additionally, your vendor wants to ensure that you are happy with their product and build a strong relationship. That relationship will prove beneficial down the road if you have questions or need further consultation.
Consultative services with your parking vendor will typically consist of three steps:
1. Discovery and Investigation
As mentioned previously, your parking vendor is an expert on their products, and experienced vendors have an understanding of how their products impact their customers’ day-to-day operations on many levels. Your vendor should be able to look at your operation, discover where your gaps are, and clearly explain how you can be using their product better. Or, on the flip side, they can affirm if you are in a good place and doing the best that you can.
After reviewing your current operation, your vendor can offer data-based, best practice recommendations for ways to improve. Your consultant should first and foremost make recommendations based on your data, as every organization is different – there is no “one size fits all” approach to parking management. They should also help you better understand your own data, so that you can make smarter decisions moving forward. Additionally, be wary of consultants who simply want to sell you more products or features. You should seek somebody who wants to make your operation better and optimize the products and features you already have.
There is also a level of accountability that should be present when engaging in consultative services with your vendor. In addition to your vendor helping you discover ways to improve, you should offer feedback to them on things that they can be doing better or features you would like to see implemented. This will help your organization and others down the road, as your vendor will be able to offer a better and more useful product. A consulting engagement is also a great opportunity to ensure that third-party vendors are being held accountable to making changes.
After your engagement with your vendor is finished, it is helpful to have ongoing conversations about your operation. Setting up regular cadences regarding the issues discussed during your consultation and any maintenance factors will help ensure that your operation is running smoothly. You should also offer feedback on any roadblocks you come across, as your vendor can work with you to make sure that your solutions will be effective long-term.
Does consulting with your parking vendor sound right for you? T2 Systems offers several options for consultative services, from time and material engagements, where we spend a few hours with you in investigation and discovery, to custom engagements for in-depth, large-scale projects. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash