I was at a client site analyzing system reports with members of the Operations and Audit teams and asked a few questions regarding the data on a pay on foot location’s daily summary report. I couldn’t get the numbers to tie out completely, and this raised questions. I learned that the team was only focused on a few numbers to report the revenue and transaction activity and that the rest were largely ignored. I followed up with the equipment supplier, and they were unable to explain the numbers either.
This was one of those situations where old school meets new world. A team of us visited the location and processed transactions through several different scenarios to see how these activities were reported and what we learned among other things was that manual gate vends from the facility office and by intercom at the remote monitoring center were not being reported at all. It turns out this is a customizable reporting feature that hadn’t been turned on.
Parking equipment has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years from the standpoint of how transactions are processed and data that is available to analyze and audit this activity. In some cases though, progress has led to a heavy reliance on these systems and sometimes a belief that the system knows all and should be relied upon to independently provide revenue control and security. The truth is though that these systems are still a business tool to be leveraged by the people who manage them.
I can distill the takeaways from this experience down to 4 simple recommendations:
- Ask questions. The equipment supplier should be knowledgeable about the product they support, so use them as a resource and hold them accountable to provide the answers you need.
- Test the system yourself. Remote access to system information has made it easier for managers and audit teams to extract information remotely. Sometimes the only way to find the answer you are looking for is to visit the site and run test scenarios like we did in the above example.
- Standardize system reporting. Determine which data points are important to your company and set up system reporting to provide this information.
- Provide employee training. Whether you develop training materials in house, bring in the equipment supplier to provide it or some combination of the two, make sure your team knows everything they need in order to leverage the system and successfully manage each location.
To learn more about how you can implement operations and audit controls, contact The Marlyn Group at email@example.com. uDrive subscribers have access to several training tools, forms and policy templates that can help in the Training & Ops Support library.