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Consultants speak: how to select parking management solutions for malls

Consultants speak: how to select parking management solutions for malls
Although the market has seen the entry of several advanced parking management solutions in recent years, many shopping centers and malls stick to traditional systems. Speaking to a&s, Ian Goodwin, Owner of the Parking Consultancy, pointed out that this includes a traditional barrier with a ticket vending machine. The driver would pay for the ticket on exit.

However, as the technology evolves and malls look to improve their systems, solutions like license plate recognition (LPR) will become more common. This would be especially useful in places where the parking is free but is limited to a specific duration. An LPR system can assist in tracking how long a car has been parked in the parking lot.

Given the several different brands of parking solutions in the market, the customers should know what to prioritize when making a purchase. Here we list some of the major factors to consider when buying a parking management solution.

Reputation and cost

This would seem like an obvious point to some, as going with a reputed brand is necessary for reliability. However, those who are familiar with the industry will tell you that reputation and cost do not always go hand in hand. Quite often, customers compromise on the quality of a product for the sake of cost. In Goodwin’s opinion, zeroing in on a few brands that have a history of providing reliable products is a good way to start.

Goodwin also pointed out that especially in the U.K. market, several Asian manufacturers, especially those from China offer reliable solutions that are easy on the pocket as well.

Sticking to a single brand

There are companies that provide either hardware or software alone for parking management. In Goodwin’s opinion, it’s better to stick to solution providers who sell both hardware and software. These could be considered complete solution providers.

“Sometimes the hardware and software may be manufactured by separate companies,” Goodwin said. “But in my opinion, it's much better to stick to in-house built software."
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Installation and support

The company should provide support for the installation and setup of the solution from scratch. Make sure the solution requires minimal maintenance while ensuring that quick after-sales service is assured. Some experts suggest ensuring the company has a local presence as a priority. This would help them understand the local conditions and provide suitable support.

Any downtime of the product will lead to losses for the management. Hence while purchasing a solution, the customers should be clear on how quickly the company will provide maintenance support in case of a malfunction.

“There should be agreements in place with the solutions provider about the after-sales service,” Goodwin said.

Detailed report

The solution should be able to provide a structured and detailed report on the payments made by customers, the occupancy of cars, and if possible, analytics data to the management. This will help understand factors like the peak time and frequency of users and help in making informed decisions on tariffs and other rules.

Friendly but secure

Customers who visit a mall are not going to be happy if the parking solution is not easy to use. Hence being user-friendly should be a priority. This will also make the operations of the mall staff easier. However, user-friendliness should not come at the cost of security.

Third-party integration

Being able to integrate the parking management systems with other systems like security and safety solutions will help in ensuring better management. Integrated systems can work quickly in the event of any unwanted incidents. They are also easy to operate and control from a management perspective.


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