Businesses with a parking component to their operation today have a number of choices when choosing a partner to implement a Smart Parking System. When evaluating your choices, you probably wonder whether you should work with an independent firm or with one of the manufacturers that markets their products directly or through a subsidiary. Considering the long-term nature of an investment in such a system, here are several reasons why you may want to consider working with an Independent Parking Systems Integrator like NextGen Parking as opposed to one of the manufacturers:
1. Ability to deploy Best-in-Class technology
While many of the core components of a Next Generation Parking Access & Revenue Control (PARC) system may be similar from one manufacturer to another, they are hardly a “one size fits all” solutions set. By and large, manufacturers do an excellent job of understanding their products and how to make them work in a parking operation. One area that is a tremendous challenge to them, however, is making on-the-fly adjustments when a client requires something that is specific to their unique operation. The manufacturers support group may have all the resources related to the products they manufacture, but they receive little exposure to complementary technologies that may expand the capabilities outside of what comes standard from the factory. Because independent firms are not beholden to a single manufacturer, they have the flexibility and empowerment to explore products and applications that may help a client solve problems that may otherwise go unsolved. It is this flexibility that also allows an Integrator’s clients to maximize the Return on Investment they realize from the implementation of our customized Smart Parking Systems.
2. Personalized service and support
If you’ve ever had a dispute with your cellular carrier or cable provider, you know how frustrating it can be to be transferred to person after person waiting to find someone that can help you with your issue. Once you finally reach someone who understands your issue and what needs to be done, you’re probably initially relieved until you find out that they have to talk to their manager’s manager’s manager to see if they can grant your request and will call you back in a few days with an answer. The odds are that a similar experience may be had if you call the 800 number of a manufacturer’s subsidiary or service office in a different time zone that ultimately reports to someone in Europe.
Fortunately, a different customer experience is available when working with an independent firm. Customers typically call a dispatch in the same time zone, explain their issue to a live person, and the ticket is quickly assigned to an engineer. To take things a step further, at one Integrator I know, over 80% of the service tickets are resolved remotely without an engineer having to visit the client’s site. This means less downtime for your parking operation which results in fewer frustrated parkers, increased customer loyalty, and greater revenues. Additionally, empowered employees and a short chain-of-command allow decisions that require escalation to be made quickly.
3. The priority is successful Project Management & Completion, not sales unit volume
What is the priority of any manufacturer, regardless of product? SELL AS MANY UNITS AS POSSIBLE! They simply have to in order to keep the factories running. How does this impact the installation of a parking system, you may ask? It’s really pretty simple. Because manufacturers (and their subsidiaries) have to move as much volume as possible, they bid every job possible with little thought regarding whether or not they have the organizational bandwidth and resources to manage a project from Statement of Work to on-time completion. For an independent integrator, on the other hand, our priority has to be taking on only the projects that we are certain we can successfully complete on-time. If we fail on or underbid a project, our very livelihoods are at risk. We have learned we have to live in the market we serve, and reputation matters. In order to ensure a successful project, we create a comprehensive Statement of Work and follow a meticulous Project Schedule that includes periodic status update meetings with all involved parties. We take great pride in collaborating internally and with our clients to make sure that each project goes as planned with minimal changes required throughout the process.
From PARC systems and Parking Guidance to Reservation apps and Business Intelligence, right now is an exciting time in the evolution and modernization of parking technology. The complex nature of integrating these components requires so much more than in years past, greatly increasing the value an expert integrator brings to the table.