Cookie Cutter Solutions (A Change in Philosophy)


By Christopher Polk, CAPP

‘Times they are a changin.’

The ‘future is now.’

If only some vendors could read the writing on the wall. So many are still trying to put all parking operations into one box. Parking is extremely dynamic, and with the steadily emerging technology, it is even more so. The problem I have encountered is that vendors want to put you in their cookie cutter, not realizing that what works for one operation does not work for another.

They need to understand that they are not the total solution; they are only one part and, in some cases, a very small part of that solution. Their customers are looking for a partner who wants to understand their needs and help work together to find a solution. The customer knows their location better than you; to sell them otherwise is almost impossible.

What sense does it make to tell the customer that you know their business better? Your “solution” may need to evolve based on certain criteria that are out of the hands of your customer. Your experience in other operations may help provide insight into developing a working solution, but it is the partnership, the working together, that sells the customer. They want to know that you are listening to what they have to say and you are willing to modify your product to fit their needs, not the other way around.

Christopher Polk, CAPP,  General Manager for Parking Concepts Inc. He can be reached at