Revenue Control The Most Important Thing to Consider ...Editor's note: In late November 2003, PT sent an e-mail to its e-mail list asking the industry to tell us "the most important thing to consider when purchasing a revenue control system." Except for removing repetitive words, here are the unedited responses, in no particular order:
"Experience is what you get when you don't get what you expected."
-- Jeff Fitzwilliam, Standard Parking Systems
"The most important thing about purchasing a new revenue control system is the support after the sale."
-- Rich Rogers, Revcon
"You need to understand your operational requirements before you can decide which system is best for you. Unless you know what you need the system to do for you, you do not know which system to buy."
-- David Vander Wal, Walker Parking
"Revenue control system planners need to consider the improvement in cash cycles that can be gained through the combination of wireless payment and wireless parking enforcement solutions."
-- Jim Korchinski, Epic Data
"Who will service the equipment and what their
reputation is. The best equipment in the world will not work for long if it is not properly serviced."
-- Lisa Harrison, Carl Walker
"To be able to provide accountability for every vehicle exiting the facility."
-- Tim Phillips, Wilbur Smith
-- Mike Bigbee
"The most important thing is the vendor who is going install and service the equipment!"
-- Bill Francis, Walker Parking
"Ease of operation; the inability to properly administer the system results in lost revenues."
-- Doug Cram, AWID
"The real answer appears to be in the area of labor utilization; i.e., what is the labor schedule (number of employees; pay rate of employees & other associated costs) relative to garage operations over the next 60 months."
-- Dale Denda, Parking Market Research Co.
"Does the company have local service for the
-- Wendell Bunting, Denison Parking
"Proven similar working systems prior to the sale and reliable service after the sale."
-- Tom Feagins, Walter P. Moore
"Does the revenue control system have the software
features needed for the location in question?"
-- David White, Central Parking
"1. Are the local techs software-knowledgeable and can they help support me? 2. How easy is it to get service in non-peak hours? 3. How much does it cost to service my system once the warranty has expired?"
-- Dennis Cunning, DLC Consulting
"The RCS should be easy to operate and give me control."
-- Oliver Haas, Secom
"The most important element of a revenue and access control [system] has never changed: the reliability of affordable & competent ongoing service!!"
-- John Hammerschlag, Chicago
"The development of system specifications (what you want the system to do for you); the reflection of the specifications in the Request For Proposals; and the ability to enforce the delivery of a system that meets the specifications through a tight contract and installation testing."
-- Barbara Chance, Chance Management Advisors
"How will the system allow you to measure accountability and also expand for future requirements."
-- Rod Hoover, Federal APD
"A revenue control system must be reliable with a proven track record."
-- Paul Moyer, IPD
"The most important thing for us was: We wanted a monthly card accounts receivable system that
automatically shut off cards that have not been paid for."
-- Jim Eversman, Wilmington (DE) Parking Authority
"One that's easy to keep track of the meter inventory, because if it is not accurate, it will cause you nightmares in trying to get the system to work properly."
-- Larry Berman, Metered Concepts
"The simplicity of the system as it relates to our employees and more so, the users, our customers."
-- Maurice Anderson, Toronto Parking Authority
"Always thoroughly investigate the technical expertise, support capabilities and customer references for the local distributor who will install and service the system you select."
-- Charlie Munn, Parking Network
"Reliability, flexibility, and the competency of the local service provider."
-- Gary Jaros, Interparking
"Will the system I buy today be flexible enough to
provide me with the features required to market and manage my parking facility in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years?"
-- Keith Lynch, Skidata
"Security, and how difficult it is to be compromised."
-- Terrance Kawles, PCPhoneHome.com
"The ability to detect swapped tickets in conjunction with technologies like LPR and LPI. It should also be able to track individual parking attendant performance on a variety of levels e.g., percentage and/or number of
exception tickets processed)."
-- Scott Hagen, John Wayne Airport
-- Bob Hindle, Parking Concepts
"To ensure [that] the equipment and the software are
flexible enough to meet your requirements. Buying
something that has no flexibility is usually something that operators find out about only after they purchase when they are already committed."
-- Steve Campbell, Campbell PR, Vancouver
-- Ian Betts, Ian Betts Consultancy (UK)
"Service! It's all about the ongoing local service."
-- Mickey Meyers, Ampco System Parking
"The system must be reliable and easy to use."
-- Bob Harkins, University of Texas, Austin
"A system that offers the most appropriate technology available in relation to the income generated by the
-- Jeff O'Kyle, Standard Parking
"Know what you want the revenue control system to do before you purchase."
-- Robert Milner, University of Maryland, Baltimore
"Reliability, service response time/quality, software upgrades, and price."
-- Jim Milioti, PMI
"Reliability is our most important consideration when purchasing revenue control equipment."
-- Kevin Shrier, The Parking Spot
"That you receive the product that you thought you
-- Marv Prater, The Don Harstad Co.
"Simplicity of usage by the customer."
-- Richard Turkiewicz, University of Central Florida, Orlando
"It's all about software and service."
-- Chuck Cullen, Consulting Engineers Group
"Needs to work reliably for years in the parking
environment with minimal maintenance; be easy for cashiers to operate; and provide reports that are easy to create and understand."
-- Mcshell Chase, Magnetic Automation
"Entering and exiting demand as they relate to level of service for the intended use."
-- Greg Parker, International Parking Design
"To have a very clear idea what it is you want to
accomplish with a revenue control system, so it can be custom-made (set up) for your specific functional layout and operations."
-- Phil Cipolla, Walker Parking
"The reputation of the manufacturers."
-- Dick Beebe, Consulting Engineers Group
"The most important thing is purchasing it from
someone who will stand behind and service their product completely, even when things go wrong."
-- Biff Nelson, DGM Controls
"Doesn't break down all the time!"
-- Karl Kelman, USAirport Parking
"To ensure [that] the equipment and associated software can give you complete control over cash and transaction information. Honest people can be made dishonest if there are holes in cash control systems."
-- Mike Rodger, Digital Pioneer
"Does the decrease in lost revenue justify the cost of the new system, or does the better data enhance the management of the parking spaces?"
-- Don Monahan, Walker Parking
"Does the dealer and/or manufacturer have a trustworthy history of delivering what they promised?"
-- Karen Pradhan, Skidata
"The quality and parts inventory of the local service provider for the ongoing maintenance of the
-- Henry Schlessinger, System Parking Chicago
"Reliability and local service of the equipment."
-- Jeff Sparrow, city of Baltimore
"Accuracy, detail and ease of use."
-- Chuck Genung, EDC
"Reliability. There is nothing is more frustrating for a parking customer than parking control equipment that is not functioning properly."
-- Paul King, Arden Realty
"The reputation and longevity of the company (system integrator) that is doing the installation and supporting the installation thereafter."
-- Frank Dittoe, Transcore
"Demonstration that the system performs as advertised, that it works and meets your needs."
-- Keith Ehrensing, city of Portland, OR
"The system's ability to easily support and adapt to the diverse and changing requirements of the owner's
parking system and customer base."
-- Joseph Sculli, Chance Management Advisors
"The most important thing to consider when purchasing a revenue control system is its adaptability to existing systems."
-- Sandy Rogers, University of Maryland
"Accountability: The most important feature ... is a
tracking system that provides at least the time, date, transaction details, machine and individual operator for each completed transaction, enabling shortages, overages and sales anomalies to be traced to individual
-- Diana Perey, University of Washington
"Any revenue control system should close at least 95% of the revenue loopholes in your operation and should be a product that has been proven to be extremely reliable."
-- Barbara L. Evans,
Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale
"Local dealer support from a nationally recognized
manufacturer of parking equipment."
-- Allan Davis, Tighe Bond
"Seek the opinion of an expert!"
-- Alasdair MacMillian, Allpark Associates (UK)
"The right technology and equipment for the current application and whether the supplier can deliver what you need in the way of product, installation, training, support and service."
-- Gary Cudney, Carl Walker
"[That] it meets the specific needs of the parking
facility/facilities in the most cost-effective and customer-friendly manner."
Alan Cruickshank, Alan Cruickshank and Associates
Side Bar 1
PT asked not only for the "most" important thing to consider when purchasing a revenue control system, but also for the "least" important. Only two responded with the least: Matt Feagins of Walter P. Moore and Rod Hoover of Federal APD. They agreed that the least important thing to consider was "Price."