Leonard Bier was quoted at World Parking Symposium: “We’re not in the parking business, we are in the information and technology business.”
Ok, this was a ‘tweet’ and most likely out of context, but that never stopped me before. I thought that Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, and yes Federal, Amano McGann, Skidata, Duncan, Parkeon, POM, IPS, T2, Scheidt and Bachmann, WPS, Zeag and the rest, were in the information and technology business. I thought those who ran garages and the parking operations in cities USED the information garnered by those companies to make the lives of our customers, that is “people parking cars” a little better and easier.
I had a CEO of a major parking operator (no longer in existence, perhaps for this reason) tell me once that he wasn’t in the parking business, he was in the banking business. – Lots of cash. The goal was to ensure it was put to proper use. Another told me once he was in the insurance business. — Charge the owners for insurance and then keep the claims at a minimum. A well respected parking consultant told me once that “there is more to parking than parking cars.” Really?
Lenny was talking to some of the best and brightest that parking has to offer at the World Parking Symposium. Most of the speakers were academics and consultants, with a minority actually involved in the day to day drudgery of parking cars. In looking at the list of presentations, I wonder if that group may find his statement right on the money.
I guess the question is whether or not we have lost our focus. Just what do we do? Do we run computers, gather information, fill in spread sheets, discuss real estate values, deal with investment bankers and public/private partnerships, place our data ‘in the clouds’, or do we actually park cars.
Of course its a little of both. We use the info and tech to help us do the best job we can. We just can’t lose sight of our two customers, the person who entrusts their second most expensive possession to us and the person or institution they are going to visit.