Tips For Car Park Operators To Improve Their Day-to-day Operations
Car park operators have a difficult and diverse job, to manage all day-to-day operations in their car parks and ensure that everything keeps running smoothly. This is no easy task. Without effective management and control, car park problems can arise for employees, customers, and even impact on businesses as a whole. But with an efficient approach, car park operators can, not only make sure that everything works as it should, but also ease their own workload. Check out our handy guide for hints and tips to help your car park operators improve their day-to-day operations.
How to improve day to day operations?
Consider the layout of your car park
A good place to start making improvements is to simply take a look at the layout of your car park. Is it possible that the physical layout of the car park is actually causing issues with its overall efficiency? Have a think about who is using your car park, when they are using it, and which spaces are the most popular. Gathering this information will enable you to consider which spaces are most useful and whether you actually need all the current available spaces or could refine the layout to be most streamlined. It can also help you to identify if there are certain users who either require or prefer certain spaces.
If you have regular visitors or customers to your car park who require a dedicated parking space, it is important to make sure that your car park can accommodate these. Positioning their spaces close to the building helps with ease of access and makes visitors feel welcomed into the business.
Make sure parking is a pleasant experience
You may want to consider whether there is any opportunity to reduce the number of spaces in your car park. If there are spaces that are infrequently used, then removing these spaces could mean that there is more room for drivers to navigate the car park. This makes parking a more pleasant experience and could mean increased opportunity for repeat business, when drivers choose your car park over others in the same area. This is of particular importance for retail businesses where there is a frequent turnover of customers in the car park. It is also a key consideration if you have deliveries occurring on a regular basis as you need to make sure that there is suitable access without impacting on customers and employees.
Introduce a barrier-free system that uses ANPR technology
Avoiding any bottlenecks occurring in your car park is an excellent way to reduce stress for both car park operators and drivers. One quick and easy way you can do this is by introducing a barrier-free system that uses Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to authorise car park visitors. This immediately reduces any opportunity for queues to form in the entrances and exits of the car park. An ANPR system will also automatically identify visitors and keep you alert to any drivers who should not be in the car park.
With the introduction of ANPR, you may want to consider implementing a virtual permit system so that only authorised vehicles can access your car park. You can even use this system to restrict parking times, so that only certain vehicles have permission to park in your car park at set times. If you charge parking fees, you can use ANPR and a virtual permit system to offer different parking tariffs for different groups of drivers. For example, you may wish to allow employees to park for free and for regular customers to access a reduced car park charge. This could be implemented by offering a validation scheme that customers could take advantage of when they bring business to your company. For example, when making a purchase, they could be offered a code to use to exit the car park at a reduced rate.
Think about your parking policy
Implementing a clear and robust parking policy for all drivers, including employees, visitors and customers, is another way to improve day-to-day operations in your car park. Ensuring that your policy is extensive enough to cover most, if not all, situations is essential. Consider if there are any specific factors that relate to your business. For example, if your car park is for an ethical company, how could the company’s ethos be reflected in the parking policy? You may also want to think about any security risks that need to be taken into account.
The safety of a car park can be improved by ensuring that the layout is optimised. Improving the throughput and cutting down on congestion can help to minimise the risk of any accidents or injuries. Separating car parking bays for visitors, employees and customers from areas for deliveries and goods vehicles is a good step towards achieving this.
Maintenance of the car park and any access roads should always be up-to-date and carried out with the safety of pedestrians at the forefront. Risk assessments should be regularly completed to identify any areas where improvements may need to be made. Speed limits should be clearly signposted, and the use of speed bumps or chicanes can reduce opportunities for unsafe or reckless driving to take place in your car park.
Employees and customers want to be reassured that their car will be safe parked in your car park. This means that security features are essential. You could consider the use of CCTV cameras and manned kiosks to help improve the security of your car park.
Of course, there are always going to be some factors that are outside of the control of your car park operators. If your business is situated in a busy location with a lot of regular commuter traffic, this could impact on access to your car park. There is a need to think creatively to pre-empt this and ensure that access for employees and customers is not inhibited. Try and identify where an entrance to your car park would be best situated for your employees, taking into account the wider flow of traffic. Simply moving an entrance around a corner could shave vital minutes off your employees’ journey into work during rush hour and avoid them being stuck in traffic for 10 minutes when they are just outside the car park. So near, yet so far!
You may also want to consider whether this factor needs to become part of the working hours for your business. Changing the time that employees start and end their day could help them to avoid the rush hour traffic and make for a more relaxing journey to and from work. Improving the commute for your employees could in turn improve their alertness and performance.
Alternative ways to travel to work could be explored. If your business has an ethical or environmentally friendly ethos, these options would fit in well with your company’s culture. You could consider promoting options such as carpools, bike schemes, walking, cycling, or using public transport. This would have the added advantage of freeing up valuable parking space for those employees, such as those who live in rural areas or have childcare requirement, who have no other choice than to drive into work.
If you find that your car park can become congested, then you may also want to think about implementing a designated area for employees to be dropped off or picked up. This helps to keep traffic moving through the car park, reducing bottleneck and ensuring that everything keeps moving smoothly.
More about ANPR technology
Resources for car park management are often stretched and car park operators increasingly find themselves having to do more with less. Modern innovations, such as ANPR technology, can help with this. ANPR can resolve bottleneck situations, mean less repair and maintenance needs, and ensure that car park misuse can be dealt with in an appropriate and timely manner.
Consider a paperless permit system
In combination with this, a paperless permit system can remove many of the issues that are present with using physical ticketing systems. Working with a car parking provider may be an option to ensure that you can be pro-active and react quickly to both issues and opportunities, leaving car park operators to focus on other key areas.
Parking zones can be a good idea
Creating different parking zones is another idea that can help to improve the day-to-day operations of your car park. This can help to make sure that drivers with different levels of access are able to park in the most appropriate place. A system such as this also helps you to differentiate between everyday users and new visitors. This makes it much easier for you to keep track of and monitor usage levels of different areas of the car park. Implementing capacity signage can also be useful for visitors and help to streamline their parking experience by enabling them to know when your car park is full and when there are spaces available.
This helpful guide provides many tips to assist car park operators in making improvements to their day-to-day operations. Making changes to the car park layout, reducing opportunities for bottlenecks and delays, and implementing creative ideas and innovative technology can all help to ensure that your car park continues to run as smoothly as possible.