Picture credit: pexel/Jaymantri
Travails of A Parking Lot Manager
Team VersionX recently had a discussion with the security and facility head of a large-sized business park in Mumbai.
Here’s what they learnt about the humongous challenges that multi-tenant parking space owners and providers face.
Mr. Krishnan (name changed) is part of the larger administration team and is responsible for managing the multi level car parking lot of the mentioned business park. Despite having a large crew to support him, his job is no easy task.
The business park hosts about 40 medium to large companies, with parking space requirements for around 10,000 staff and another 3000 or so daily visitors.
You can now begin to imagine how daunting Mr. Krishnan’s task is.
Along with his large team of security guards and executives, he is responsible for the efficient management of the parking space ensuring optimum cost and space utilization. Not to mention, security of the area.
How does he and his team track thousands of entries and exits? Parking spaces and their usage? How can his team authenticate, verify, and monitor thousands of staff or visitors, vehicles, parking spots, and payments?
Even though the management of the business park had some basic hardware installed, they had no means of optimizing parking space. Managing space and cost was a big, messy affair.
They badly needed a a parking solution that solved their parking space, access, utilization, and cost issues.
Parking Lot Management - A Highly Complicated Affair
Managing a parking lot is a complex business. And most of the parking lot management operations are still conducted manually, especially in India.
The challenges multiply with multi-tenant parking lots where a high level of coordination and cooperation is required among the parking space providers or owners and their tenants.
A few immediate parking problems that need solution: tracking the vehicle and visitor details on entry and exit, monitoring the parked spaces, identifying empty slots and preventing their misuse, integrated access control, spotting authorized and unauthorized parking, payment issues, and many more.
The administration or the facility managers of parking spaces face these challenges on a daily basis.
Team VersionX realised that parking lot management was quite a chaotic business. And more importantly, no complete parking solution existed that could automate these processes.
Some standalone hardware and basic software exist for easing some of the multi level parking issues. But none that resolved all the parking problems by automating parking management end to end.
Top Challenges Faced By Parking Space Owners And Providers
Before we discuss the kind of parking solution that can solve parking management issues, let us first look at the problems.
It’s all still done manually.
Does the vehicle belong to an authorized staff? Is his or her pass still valid? What if a special guest who has no valid pass needs to park his or her vehicle? Is there enough empty spot? Has he or she been charged appropriately?
These are just a few of the checks that the parking personnel has to conduct manually every time a vehicle enters or exits the parking gates.
The whole process is cumbersome and error prone, leading to many a frustrated parking or facility managers and guests.
Inaccurate recording of data.
Because most of the data is captured manually, it is bound to be inaccurate. Handwritten paper parking tickets are issued. These are again prone to loss and manipulation.
Paper registers are filled with details of the vehicles making entry and exit from the parking gate day in and day out. How do you even begin to retrieve data from these registers when the need arises?
It’s nearly impossible.
Hassled security guards.
Most part of the parking space operations depend on the sincerity and alertness of the personnel stationed at the parking lot. But imagine a person tracking, monitoring, and recording vehicle and slot details on an hourly basis day in and day out. It would be unrealistic to expect the team to do an error-free and a smooth work no matter how efficient the person may be. A human mind can process only so much information given a limited time.
Besides, it is a well known fact that increasing the number of personnel increases the cost of laborer without a proportionate increase in efficiency.
Queues at parking lots, especially during rush hours, are a common sight. Because the parking personnel takes time in checking and authenticating the passes and vehicle details. The time of guests and customers are also wasted. This leads to a negative customer experience.
Business parks, for example, that provide a fabulous experience otherwise, should be worried about the experience of their guests in the parking lots.
Laborer cost and overheads.
Investing in the right solution, one that resolves the practical issues faced by car parking lot owners and personnel, is going to be way more cost-effective in the long run.
Error free payments affect the bottomline positively.
The increase in efficiency as a result of installing the right parking management system as against hiring more laborers is incomparable.
The Right Parking Management System
An ideal parking management solution is an integrated system that solves parking management issues from both hardware and software perspective.
It automates the entire system from entry to exit and eliminates all manual processes - a task that requires a high level of cooperation and coordination.
Automatic entry, no manual check.
A smart car parking system recognizes whether a vehicle is authorized for a parking slot. The RFID tag on the vehicle allows the vehicle entry at the parking gate through a boom barrier that automatically opens.
An automated parking system also recognizes all categories of visitors - staff, visitors, special guests, etc. - and allots a slot accordingly in seconds based on the “available slots” as recorded and shown by the system.
Instant pay-and-park tickets.
If the person in the vehicle is a visitor, he or she would receive an auto-generated limited pass that could be QR code based.
The smart parking system will automatically allot the visitor a parking space that is reserved for pay-and-park vehicles.
No errors, get complete reports.
A smart parking system eliminates all paper-based work - be it parking tickets or paper registers. Errors in payments become a thing of the past.
Parking space providers can rest assured that all data is automatically captured and stored in a centralized system. The system can also provide useful reports that is accessible to the management anytime, anywhere.
Optimum space utilization.
Because all slots are pre-allotted and pre-reserved for specific tenants - their staff, visitors, guests - or other unique purposes, space utilization is optimal.
The demand and supply of space is perfectly balanced because spaces and slots are pre-assigned in an automated parking system.
Alarms and alerts.
Any unauthorized use of a parking spot can set off alarms. The parking personnel can take the appropriate decision on time.
An automated car parking system can also issue instant tickets in case of any rule violations in the parking premises.
Satisfied customers and guests.
An important goal of any process improvement is customer satisfaction. A parking management system that efficiently manages the parking lot leads to happy customers.
A total eradication of the chaos at the parking lot would lead to happy visitors, tenants, and personnel. It’s a win-win situation for all.
An Intelligent Parking Management System by VersionX
There are hardware solutions, and then there are some basic visitor software that currently exist in the market.
But none that can resolve the issues faced by the management of the business park, and many such parking space providers.
Team VersionX proposed their smart parking management system to the management of the business park.
The solution is a unique one - a parking system that integrates access control hardware with our visitor software - an end-to-end automated parking system. For example, the access control system like boom barriers is integrated with the parking assist system. It recognizes the staff and therefore allots their vehicles the appropriate parking slot.
Since slots are also pre-reserved for different categories of visitors, top management, and staff, the access system allows no misappropriation of parking spaces. The parking personnel can identify empty slots and all other details on their phone.
The system has zero tolerance for errors, thereby, completely eliminating misuse of parking facility.
The effect the system has on costs and, therefore, the company’s bottomline is anybody's guess.
Because No Complete Solution Exists in the Market
VersionX’s smart parking management system is one of a kind. We won’t be too off the mark if we also said it was “a first in India.” At least, that’s what we were told by parking lot owners and providers.
Mr. Krishnan and his team is looking forward to installing VersionX's intelligent parking system in their multi level car parking lot and completely automate their processes.
Team VersionX is no less excited.