Magazine

The procedure book: Technology Aside, You Still Have People

Robert Harkins

Others said it best, "If we don't know where we are going, any road will get us there." This old adage greatly applies to the revenue control aspect of the parking business. Revenue control is the key to our success. Revenue control is our security and our protection. Given its importance, steps should be taken to ensure "best" practices are implemented to safeguard revenue.
How do we train our staff to follow best practices in revenue control?
One of the first steps to safeguarding revenue is to clearly define and document all practices, policies, or procedures. This may sound like a simple step, but it is frequently overlooked. Procedures are often written and then placed in a file and never used unless a supervisor or auditor asks to see them. A book of procedures is essential to operations in the parking industry, and it should be reviewed, changed, modified, and above all followed by those in the revenue control chain of supervision.
What does a procedure book look like?
A procedure book defines business practices and outlines the steps employees should take when conducting business transactions. A procedure book should include: The organization's mission, goals, and objectives. These statements remind the employee of the basis or purpose of the organization and what it values. (See "The Contents of a Procedure Book" for an outline.)
Employees should have their own personal procedure book, and they should feel free to use it as a reference and mark it up with notes and questions. A well-worn book indicates frequent use and the notes made can help supervisors improve and/or streamline procedures.
A well-organized book with a solid set of procedures that are followed, understood and updated is a vital step toward good revenue control. This is a first step in revenue control. This book also forms the basis for good customer relations, highly professional operation, and it also forms the basis for employee training
Spend the time organizing and documenting and it will pay great dividends.
Robert Harkins Ed.D is Director, Parking and Transportation Services, the University of Texas at Austin. He can be reached at bharkins@mail.utexas.edu.

Article Abstract from January, 2003




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