Tag Archives: operations

Reassessing Mobility Technology

Technology business professional developmentBy John Nolan, CAPP, MSM

Why do we spend so much money on business technology? We do so to help leverage our operations and improve business outcomes. These outcomes include our ability to deliver timely and accurate information—information that improves service outcomes but at the same time increases customer expectations.

Technology, like any product, is subject to the lifecycle effect. The product lifecycle is broken into four stages: development, growth, maturity, and decline. The process of strategizing ways to continuously support and maintain a product that avoids decline is called product lifecycle management. Within this management cycle exits the ability for competent management to extend and improve technology’s impact on their operation. When technology companies fail to understand or recognize where they are in that lifecycle realm, it often results in competitors or outside influencers jumping into the market and leaving them behind.

As a managing director of 12 various service departments, the ongoing assessing of various technologies is critical to delivering system performance that is essential to high-quality outcomes.

Within our parking organizations, parking leadership must constantly keep in mind the process of total quality management (TQM) and continuous quality improvement (CQI). Research within the marketplace to improve our condition, impose project discipline, and promote better communication through data and metrics is critical to performance excellence.

Amazon’s recent quarterly report significantly beat analysts’ expectations. The No. 1 factor the market cited was their switch to one-day service. The investment they made last year in managing their service lifecycle is now beginning to pay big dividends and once again challenging the marketplace for service dominance.

It’s very important that as parking professionals, we continuously engage with ourselves and our teams to understand what technologies in the market will improve our operation, especially when vendors are unresponsive. And, it’s important to not be afraid to make changes that improve our operation and our customers’ experience, even when it’s easier to continue with the status quo.

John Nolan, CAPP, MSM, is managing director of transportation services at Harvard University. He will present on this topic during the 2020 IPMI Virtual Parking & Mobility Conference & Expo, June 1-2, wherever you are. Click here for details and to register.

 

Free Online Shoptalk: Municipalities, Finance, & Recovery: Current Challenges and Next Steps

Wednesday May 13, 2020- 2:00 PM EST

Free Online Shoptalk: Municipalities, Finance, & Recovery: Current Challenges and Next Steps

Free to all Industry Professionals

Access the Recording here

 

Join IPMI for our next online Shoptalk diving into cars, cash, and financial impacts to operations. Open to all, moderator Tiffany Smith will lead the group in discussions centering on three key questions. First, discuss of the impact to the short-term financial picture, including revenue, plans to streamline operations to cover losses, and anticipated changes to programs and policies for recovery. Second, address changes to consumer and patron behavior, your expectations of demand in the immediate and longer term, and potential medium-term changes in curbside (and off-street parking) management. Finally, explore adaptions to policies, programs, staffing, customers, and tech to prepare for future operations.

We understand this is an extremely busy time and will record the online shoptalk and distribute to all members and colleagues.  If you have a question or would like to share something that has worked for your organization in advance, please email Fernandez@parking-mobility.org.

 MODERATOR:

 

Tiffany Smith bio pixTiffany Smith, Director of Parking Authority of River City, Louisville Metro Government

I graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1993 and obtained my MBA in 2001. I have been with Metro, Parking Authority for 23 years. I started in Accounting and moved to Administration and now I am the Director. Team building, customer service and improving our operations through technology, innovation and creative thinking are my initiatives in operating the agency. I’m still very much invigorated and excited about how we can make Louisville a better city to live, work and park. My staff is my greatest professional asset.

I am a lifelong learner and am always excited to know more. I serve on the YMCA downtown board, participate in Toastmasters weekly, serve on the International Parking Institutes membership committee and serve on the Bates Community Development Corporation board. I enjoy spending time with family, exercising and traveling. I teach Sunday school youth and serve as a mentor at Newburg middle school through Metro Mentors.

I am hopeful to return to my studies at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and finish my Masters in Family and Biblical counseling. This is a dream deferred. I have 3 kids that make me smile and give me purpose; they are my greatest life accomplishment.

Free Online Shoptalk: Frontline Staff – Challenges & Successes in the Time of COVID-19

Free Online Shoptalk: Frontline Staff – Challenges & Successes in the Time of COVID-19

Friday May 29, 2020,  2:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET

Pre-registration required to attend.

Free to all industry professionals

Register button

In response to the current pandemic, our frontline staff are tasked to carry out their work assignments in disruptive, creative and ever-changing ways. Interactions with customers, on-going process modifications, public expectations, as well as recognizing the need for self-care are all on the table for discussion.

Come prepared to network, ask questions, share your current experiences and learn from your peers during this interactive session.

Moderator: Cindy Campbell

 

Cindy Campbell, Senior Training & Development Specialist, International Parking & Mobility Institute. With over 35 years of experience in law enforcement, parking, and transportation services, she brings comprehensive industry knowledge and professional experience to the IPMI training program. Cindy is a Past Chairman of the Board for the IPMI and is credited as one of the founders of the Parking Matters® initiative.  Prior to joining the staff at IPMI, Campbell served as Associate Director of University Police for California Polytechnic State University. She is now dedicated to providing staff training, motivation, and skill enhancement through IPMI onsite training programs.

Free Online Shoptalk: Planning for Future Municipal On-Street Operations

Wednesday April 29, 2020- 2:00 PM EST

Free Online Shoptalk: Planning for Future Municipal On-Street Operations

Access Recording here

IPMI invites all industry professionals in parking, transportation, and mobility to discuss how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted your various mobility programs and options, including how we plan for municipal on street operations post COVID-19.

This online Shoptalk will address the critical questions on how we begin to plan for re-opening our cities and parking and mobility operations, with a focus first on on-street operations, staff and patron safety, and planning ahead ready for staggered and phased operations that incorporate both innovations and best practices.   Bring your questions or share them in advance with us.

We understand this is an extremely busy time and will record the online shoptalk and distribute to all members and colleagues.  If you have a question or would like to share something that has worked for your organization in advance, please email Fernandez@parking-mobility.org.

Free to all Industry Professionals

 

Moderator:

Scott Petri headshotScott Petri, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Parking Authority, is devoted to public service and committed to providing strong leadership and direction to the PPA. In 2018, he guided the authority through accreditation, resulting in the PPA being Accredited with Distinction by the International Parking & Mobility Institute (IPMI), the highest rating available by this trade association.

An accomplished and talented leader with years of experience in fast-paced legal and legislative environments, he has been a practicing attorney for more than 30 years, and served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he represented the 178th Legislative District from 2003 through 2017.

Scott has worked to reform the legislature by instituting new rules to make government more transparent and open. He helped re-write Pennsylvania’s House Rules incorporating new standards of conduct for members, as well as laws to protect children from abuse. The National Federation of Independent Business awarded him its Guardian of Small Business award in 2014; and in 2012 and 2016 he was named State Public Official of the Year by Pennsylvania Bio, the statewide trade association representing the life science industry, and Legislator of the Year by BIO, a national association

Free Online Shoptalk: Planning for Future Municipal On-Street Operations

Wednesday April 29, 2020 @ 2:00-3:30 PM EST

Free Online Shoptalk: Planning for Future Municipal On-Street Operations

Free to all Industry Professionals

Access recording here

IPMI invites all industry professionals in parking, transportation, and mobility to discuss how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted your various mobility programs and options, including how we plan for municipal on street operations post COVID-19.

This online Shoptalk will address the critical questions on how we begin to plan for re-opening our cities and parking and mobility operations, with a focus first on on-street operations, staff and patron safety, and planning ahead ready for staggered and phased operations that incorporate both innovations and best practices.   Bring your questions or share them in advance with us.

We understand this is an extremely busy time and will record the online shoptalk and distribute to all members and colleagues.  If you have a question or would like to share something that has worked for your organization in advance, please email Fernandez@parking-mobility.org.

Moderator:

Scott Petri headshotScott Petri, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Parking Authority, is devoted to public service and committed to providing strong leadership and direction to the PPA. In 2018, he guided the authority through accreditation, resulting in the PPA being Accredited with Distinction by the International Parking & Mobility Institute (IPMI), the highest rating available by this trade association.

An accomplished and talented leader with years of experience in fast-paced legal and legislative environments, he has been a practicing attorney for more than 30 years, and served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he represented the 178th Legislative District from 2003 through 2017.

Scott has worked to reform the legislature by instituting new rules to make government more transparent and open. He helped re-write Pennsylvania’s House Rules incorporating new standards of conduct for members, as well as laws to protect children from abuse. The National Federation of Independent Business awarded him its Guardian of Small Business award in 2014; and in 2012 and 2016 he was named State Public Official of the Year by Pennsylvania Bio, the statewide trade association representing the life science industry, and Legislator of the Year by BIO, a national association

May 1 IPMI Webinar: Watch Your Assets! How to Monetize Most Effectively

Live Online Webcast: $35.00 for IPMI Members, $85.00 for Non-Members

Register Button

Description: In the next decade, a growing number of state and local governments, colleges and universities, airports, transit systems, and water and sewer authorities are likely to explore asset monetization. State and local governments own infrastructure properties of significant value and, despite a 10-year economic expansion, some remain fiscally pressured and unable to properly maintain their properties. The scale of today’s infrastructure decay, the declining fiscal health of the U.S. public sector, and a growing appetite from large institutional investors (private sector) for infrastructure properties make asset sales or leases more likely than in the past.

Parking assets (garages, decks, on-street operations) are often eyed by political administrations as a possible cash cow for their pet projects. Now, we see these assets used to fund much-needed infrastructure and technology upgrades.

Learning Objectives:

In this webinar, we will highlight the pros and cons of:

  • Buy outright; part of a system.
  • Sell or lease the entire system.
  • Lease-Leaseback.

Presenters: 

Mark Vergenes is the president of MIRUS Consultants.

Having entered the parking industry in late 1999, Mark has built a clientele that consists of real estate development firms, individuals, and cities. His practice focuses on consulting with those who need an experienced advisor for their project(s).

He is the co-author of A Guide To Parking; Chapter 9, “Economics and Finance” published by IPMI. You can also find him in IPMI’s magazine, The Parking Professional, where he is a financial columnist.

 

 

 

 

Tim Horstmann is a public finance and tax attorney at McNees Wallace & Nurick in Harrisburg, PA. Tim advises governmental entities on the structuring of taxable and tax-exempt revenue bond and general obligation bond financings for a variety of capital projects, including parking facilities, schools, and higher education institutions and water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure. He also represents clients in the monetization of publicly-owned assets through various arrangements such as sales, leases, sale/leasebacks, and lease/leasebacks.

Careful Considerations

TPP-2016-01-Careful ConsiderationBy Pierre Koudelka

I wrote an article last year about parking equipment and new applications in which I said, “Our system of specifying, purchasing, and managing, for whatever reason, is far too accepting of the status quo” (See the January 2015 issue of The Parking Professional). Since then, lots of parking folks have asked me what I meant. So I felt this might be a good topic for a new article on what to be aware of and how best to purchase parking equipment (PARCS).

Outdated Specifications
For those of you who feel PARCS specifications within an RFP guarantees you get what you requested, please think again. The simple fact is that most specifications written today are general in nature in order to encompass the offerings of just about every manufacturer, in my opinion. Bidders have a great deal of leeway in what they provide. Specifications do a fair job at outlining the number of gates and dispensers/verifiers at entrances or exits, cashier booths, or pay-on-foot machines in foyers. That is easy. But these specifications do little to explain the true operating functionally of the internal system, the central computer parameters, the networks, and the quality guidelines of the installation—in fact, those details are seldom specified. Why?

Have you ever seen an RFP outline quality standards for the equipment, life expectancy requirements, or estimated maintenance cost over the system life? Not really. How can anyone truly make an informed buying decision without these facts?

Specification writers are in a catch-22: If they are too specific, they may exclude someone and risk legal actions. Past suits have caused many to generalize, and more than that, specifications simply have not kept up with technology. Many are canned, often disjointed, or worse, copied and pasted in a mélange of several opposing manufacturers’ offerings that, when combined, make little sense and ask for things that are impossible to produce as written. So to be fair and avoid those issues, many RFPs generalize on what the system is to do.

Sometimes, they are too specific. The problem is that the equipment available from a large number of manufacturers varies tremendously in capability and quality and very few writers are able to capture that aspect in writing RFPs. The result is that ­feature-filled manufacturers have to pare down, and products that lack features become accepted. All this boils down to a judgment call at the end of the day. It may be a well-thought-out call, but it still often comes down to price, location of the nearest service outlet, and delivery time, and presumably, the one that complies with most of those wishes wins the contract. So here’s my first piece of advice: Always get an experienced consulting firm to sort it out—that goes for the individual the manufacturer assigns to your account as well.

Effects
I have experienced too many badly written RFPs that come from people with no parking experience, and everybody suffers: the owner, the installer, the manufacturer, and the writer. It results in countless questions back and forth, substantial delays, re-bids, having inappropriate systems installed, and sometimes, regrettably, legal action, although these are seldom publicized. Most bidders try to do the best they can interpreting specs, but interpretation can vary greatly. Without a good set of metrics to compare to and follow, buying decisions can be arbitrary. It’s that simple.

Truth be told, even the projects that seem to go well are sometimes over-specified as well and the facility winds up using only a small portion of the resulting system despite the best efforts of the spec writer. This is because, as human beings, we tend to only use features that are fast, familiar, and easy to master. All the rest of the techno-babble that’s specified and paid for seldom gets used. I would say, with a few exceptions, only 30 percent of any system is actually used. Surprised? It’s analogous to the thousands of features within Microsoft—how many do you really use, assuming you’re not an IT expert?

Lesson two: Don’t pay for over spec’d items if they aren’t going to be used. Also, take the time to ensure all those features will be used as they were intended.

Solutions

There are several steps to follow to ensure your RFP process goes smoothly and that you end up with the system you were shopping for in the first place. Here are 11 points to think about when you start:

Do your own due diligence. Don’t leave it all up to someone else. Check the supplier’s financials. Check and visit references. Most importantly, visit the manufacturer’s facility whenever possible. Obviously not everyone can do that, but you should if your project is large enough. A thousand-dollar airfare is a small price to pay to ensure satisfaction. The minute I walk into a manufacturer’s facility, I can tell if the resulting product will be good or bad, and so can you. Check the quality stations. Is the facility automated or not? Is it clean or dirty? Is there a lot of product on the floor?

Think big picture. Don’t just look for features your project needs today when selecting a vendor. Look to the future. Investigate the supplier’s entire software library, as your requirements will change down the road. You must make sure the supplier has the required software/hardware to accommodate your needs in the future, even if all those functions aren’t needed today. Too many clients find themselves in a pickle three or four years down the road with a system that can’t easily be added to or improved. Above all, make sure that the feature or device you are being sold has been proven to work. This is especially important with startups.

Try it. Don’t be afraid to ask the manufacturer for free software demo samples you can take home to play with for a week or so to let your people experience the inner workings of the system before you buy anything. Why would a reliable supplier say no? Plus, this will help involve staff in the decision process, which is always a smart move.
I would be very suspicious of any supplier who’s reluctant to provide free demo software for a time period. After all you’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. You test-drive a new car—why not test-drive new software as well? Remember when trying out software that an important feature is its ease of use. The only software that will be used is the software that is easy to use.

Ditch source code. The antiquated notion that you must request source code to protect your company in case the firm you are dealing with goes under is a total waste of time and money and should be stricken from all specifications. In my 40+ years in the industry, I have seldom seen anyone use such codes after the fact. Third parties trying to work on these codes find it too hard and expensive.

Distrust the yes man. Understand up front that bidders are likely to say their companies and products can meet the demands outlined in an RFP. And depending on their individual perspective, they probably can somehow. But most specs, due to their general nature, are open to individual interpretations. The trick is to not accept a mere “yes” answer but to take time to assess the user-friendliness of the feature the supplier intends to provide. For someone to simply say, “Yes, I can give you this or that report specified” is no longer acceptable. The “yes” has to be explained in detail. As the purchaser, you need to know if that report can be generated by either a single keystroke or will take dozens of keystrokes and the manual merging of other reports and so on before you get your required report. Understand that if the system isn’t user-friendly, that function you paid for will likely never be used. That’s simple human nature. Specifications today do not measure or define user-friendliness.

Consider staff. Owners often underestimate the complexity and sophistication of the parking systems they are purchasing. Existing staff may not be qualified to run the new operation. Examine and quantify staff competence before buying. It’s becoming an IT world, and you need savvy people to run all these computers and networks. Minimum wage knowledge and a little training doesn’t do it anymore. System problems are often people problems. It’s easy to blame the system for staff misunderstandings.

Remember that you get what you pay for. All systems are definitely not equal, and to think they are does your operation a great disservice. Don’t buy a parking system off a cut sheet, say-so, or brochure. Go look at the equipment. Lift the hood and look inside. Try and appreciate the quality differences that affect price. There are many differences specifications never begin to cover. You’re guaranteed to see differences if you actually look for them. Does the manufacturer use brass/nylon bushing or ball bearings? Are parts sheet metal or machined? What is the quality of their service support? Will the equipment rust prematurely? Even the way it’s wired together can tell you a lot. Is it neat? Look at the PC boards. Are the chips surface mounted or not? All this tells you where the manufacturer is in the evolutionary scale of assembly. I used to count the number of direct DRIVE rollers in a ticket transport unit to get a feel for its quality. The more, the better if you don’t want jams. And if there is a ticket jam, can it be removed easily?

Ask about installation. What of the quality of installation of the parking equipment? I have never seen a specification define installations very well. It’s assumed that the contractor will do the work under the prevailing codes, I guess. Let me tell you, I have seen many a poor installation after the fact in which the contractor made up for an initial low bid on the equipment by cutting back in the installation. Very cheap switches, underrated wires, bad loops, cheap or improper connectors (especially when it comes to fiber), no expansion provision on conduit, equipment installed but not level, inadequate power, and the list goes on. These inconsistencies cause system problems that are sometimes hard to find after the fact and result in downtime and a shorter equipment lifespan.

Ask about lifetime costs. The industry has been remiss in its ability to either understand or analyze quality and longevity of equipment or systems. I have never seen a specification that documented service or maintenance costs over the life of that particular equipment. What is the life expectancy of the equipment? You would think that would be a key factor in the buying decision process, but it seldom comes up. That’s in part because it requires far more effort and no one wants their comparative analysis of suppliers to be potentially wrong, or those recommending often have a short-term outlook because of contractual obligations. The industry must do better. When spending millions, you need facts, not fiction.

Remember, price can be deceiving when specifications are general. The simple fact is that those systems that seemed inexpensive up front will more than likely cost you far more than the highest priced bidder in the long run, sometimes by a considerable amount. Owners should be made aware of this fact. Recommendations for inexpensive solutions are often driven by ulterior motives or length of contracts, so you always need to understand where and why the recommendation is being made. You always get what you pay for.

Never stop looking for ways to improve your operation. Consider adding more conveniences for your patrons and simplifying the managerial process with new technology. There are countless ways to increase profits that are not called out in original RFPs. Dozens of innovations come out every few months. I simply don’t see these experts doing a great job of follow-up with their clients every two or three years to make recommendations on improvements that would benefit the client.

Keeping Up
We seem to be very slow at accepting new innovations in North America. It may be our conservative nature, possibly complacency; maybe it’s our purchasing process itself or a sense of needlessly upsetting the apple cart when an owner seems content, or maybe the fees for suggestions simply aren’t there after the fact. However perfect you may think your operation is, you can always increase revenues and customer satisfaction by 10 or 15 percent—that’s been my experience. Stay informed by attending trade shows and continually asking your facility manager for new suggestions. No car park should remain stagnant. Improvements should happen regularly or you’re really falling behind.

This may seem a harsh criticism of the way things are done, but the RFP process has regrettably not changed in quite some time, but technology has. Any newcomer to the industry should be aware of these 11 points to save themselves a ton of heartache. Granted, some installations go along perfectly to everyone’s satisfaction, but many more projects have had issues that could have been resolved up front had some of these suggestions been followed. There are many other safeguards one can take, but we will leave those for another time.

Good luck in your buying decisions going forward, but never leave it entirely to luck or to others.

Pierre Koudelka has 45 years of parking experience globally as a leading manufacturer, parking consultant, and author. He can be reached at jean.pierre.koudelka@gmail.com.

TPP-2016-01-Careful Consideration

Member News: Heidi Moran Named Propark Mobility’s Vice President of Operations

Hartford, Connecticut – Propark Mobility announced today that it has appointed Heidi Moran as the company’s Vice President of Operations.

“As one of Propark’s longest-tenured professionals, Heidi Moran has been an instrumental contributor to the company’s growth over the last several decades,” explained Rick DiPietro, Propark Mobility’s President. “Her leadership and focus on impressive results have been major driving factors for our organization as we have grown to become one of the country’s largest privately-owned parking company.”

Heidi’s career with Propark began in October of 1992, where she started as an Office Generalist. Her role evolved, as she held positions of Accounts Receivable Manager, Office Manager, Client Reporting Manager and Real Estate Director. Heidi was appointed to Vice President of Sales and Customer Services prior to her most recent role as Regional Vice President of Operations for the company.

“Heidi is one of my most trusted colleagues and friends, and has been for nearly thirty years,” said John Schmid, Propark Mobility’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner. “She has earned her reputation in the parking industry as a leading management executive with decades of leadership and proven results in service delivery, sales, marketing and operations. She has been highly influential in guiding Propark toward a tremendous amount of growth and success, and for that I am very grateful.”

In Heidi’s current role, she is responsible for new site openings across the country in the hospitality vertical as part of our national transition team, along with her direct responsibility for Z Airport Parking, the leading near-airport parking facility servicing Bradley International Airport, which was recently voted as “Best of Hartford” under her guidance. Heidi works with all senior leaders across the country to implement service initiatives that improve guest satisfaction scores and add value for Propark’s clients.
About Propark Mobility Propark Mobility is one of the country’s largest privately-owned parking companies, providing full-service parking and mobility services for over 500 hospitality, healthcare, commercial and off-airport locations, in over 75 cities across the United States.

For more information, please visit www.propark.com

Member News: Propark Mobility Announces Appointment of Tamer Shaban to Senior Vice President of Operations

Hartford, Connecticut – Today, Propark Mobility announced that it has named Tamer Shaban Senior Vice President of Operations.

Propark Mobility News Release“For over twenty years, Tamer has embodied Propark’s commitment to impressive service and delivering exceptional results for our clients,” explained John Schmid, Propark Mobility’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner. “He has grown with our company, starting out as a valet driver and working his way up through the management ranks of the company. As we celebrate Tamer’s twenty years with the company, I want to express my gratitude for everything he has done.”

Tamer began his career in February 2000 as a valet driver and quickly ascended to Account Manager for the University of Connecticut parking system. Through his dedication and hard work, Shaban became Area Manager for the Western Massachusetts Region, prior to his position as Regional Manager for the Boston, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Region. Most recently, Tamer served as Regional Vice President for Propark Mobility.

“Tamer Shaban personifies the Propark organic success story in every way imaginable,” said John Reimers, Chief Operating Officer of Propark Mobility. “He has shown that if you work hard enough, if you deliver results, if you show up every day with the goal of providing clients and guests with the Perfect Parking Moment, that career advancement is likely. We’ve seen this with many other team members, but Tamer exemplifies the internal growth opportunities at Propark like nobody else.”

In Tamer’s current role, he is responsible for new business development and facility management oversight within the New Haven and Hartford, Connecticut markets, as well as the Western Massachusetts Region. His specialties include valet services and shuttle operations that serve hospitality and residential properties, as well as hospital and healthcare facilities, with a focus on premium service delivery for guests and asset appreciation enhancement for clients.

About Propark Mobility Propark Mobility is one of the country’s largest privately-owned parking companies, providing full-service parking and mobility services for over 500 hospitality, healthcare, commercial and off-airport locations, in over 75 cities across the United States. For more information, please visit www.propark.com.

McKinsey & Company: COVID-19 – Implications for Business

March 30, 2020

By Matt Craven, Linda Liu, Mihir Mysore, Shubham Singhal, Sven Smit, and Matt Wilson

The coronavirus outbreak is first and foremost a human tragedy, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. It is also having a growing impact on the global economy. This article is intended to provide business leaders with a perspective on the evolving situation and implications for their companies. The outbreak is moving quickly, and some of the perspectives in this article may fall rapidly out of date. This article reflects our perspective as of March 30, 2020. We will update it regularly as the outbreak evolves.

The pandemic continues to expand. More than 175 countries and territories have reported cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Case growth has accelerated to more than 735,000 cases and 35,000 deaths as of March 30. Some geographies have a handful of cases, others with early community transmission have a few hundred, and those with uncontrolled, widespread transmission have tens of thousands. Governments have launched unprecedented publichealth and economic responses. The situation evolves by the day.

In this note, we offer some of our latest insights, starting with five likely epidemiologic swing factors that will largely determine the contours of the pandemic in the next year. We then summarize two new articles designed to help senior executives lead through the crisis. In “Beyond coronavirus: The path to the next normal,” we outline five time frames to help leaders organize their thinking and responses. And in “Safeguarding our lives and our livelihoods: The imperative of our time,” we explain how business and society can and must take on both spheres of action, right away. These and many more are available in our collection of coronavirus thinking. We conclude with a short list of the areas in which executives should be concentrating their thought and attention.

The outbreak is moving quickly, and some perspectives in this article may soon fall out of date. This article reflects our perspective as of March 30, 2020. We will update it regularly as the crisis evolves.

Epidemiological swing factors for COVID-19 Every country is looking to join the few that have controlled the epidemic for now and are focusing on preventing a resurgence. The next stages in every country are unknowable (Exhibit 1). But in our view, the spread or control of the virus in the next year comes down to five factors:

— Growth of new transmission complexes and evidence of seasonality. While most countries in the world have at least one case, most counts
are relatively low. The extent to which these countries follow the path of countries such as Singapore that have achieved rapid control, versus that of western Europe and the United States, will be a major driver of outcomes. Moreover, these geographies also skew to more tropical climates and will provide some evidence on how much of a mitigating effect heat and humidity will have on the coronavirus. If the virus proves to be seasonal, this has the potential to shape both emerging and existing transmission complexes.

— Impact of physical-distancing measures. We know that rigorous, at-scale physical-distancing measures can drive a significant reduction in the number of new COVID-19 cases. However, given the range of approaches in use—and the varying stringency with which they are being applied— there’s much still to learn about what exactly works and how long it takes. In the next one to two weeks, we will learn much more, as we begin to see evidence of the impact of physical distancing in Europe and the United States.

— Efficacy of health-system surge. As the world has awakened to the potential risks of COVID-19, there has been a massive effort to add capacity to the healthcare system rapidly. This has rightly focused on adding acute-care capacity, providing ventilators, and building stocks of other critical medical supplies, such as personal protective equipment. If this surge (combined with efforts to reduce the demand on the health system) can prevent health systems from being overwhelmed, mortality from COVID-19 will be significantly lower. The development of clinically validated treatments could be a similar boon, but the emerging evidence on that front is mixed, thus far.

— Readiness of the health system to navigate recurrence. As authorities begin to think about what’s needed to navigate a postpeak environment, the public-health tools deployed will have a different emphasis from today’s focus in Europe and the United States. They will include at-scale testing, sophisticated real-time surveillance, rigorous contact tracing, and rapid, targeted quarantine to isolate cases and contacts. This mix of tools is how Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan have rapidly contained COVID-19. An antibody test would be a powerful tool in this arsenal, since it would show which people are at risk and which aren’t. Even as public-health authorities negotiate an unprecedented period of demand on the
health system, they will need to design and build systems to prevent resurgence of the disease as we pass the peak.

— Emergence of herd immunity. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient portion of the population isn’t susceptible to an infectious disease; at that point, transmission doesn’t propagate, for lack of available hosts. It typically occurs through either widespread exposure or immunization. With a disease as infectious as COVID-19, experts believe that more than two-thirds of the population would need to be immune to create herd immunity.1 But there’s much that we don’t know about the possibility of multiple strains of the virus—and about the duration of human immunity. Answering those questions will have important implications for the course of the pandemic.

Two new insights We have recently published several new articles on the pandemic. Two have captured the attention of leaders worldwide. We summarize them here and invite you to take in the full case in our collection on McKinsey.com.

‘Beyond coronavirus: The path to the next normal’ By Kevin Sneader and Shubham Singhal What will it take to navigate this crisis, now that our traditional metrics and assumptions have been rendered irrelevant? More simply put, it’s our turn to answer a question that many of us once asked of our grandparents: What did you do during the war?
Our answer is a call to act across five stages, leading from the crisis of today to the next normal that will emerge after the battle against coronavirus has been won: Resolve, Resilience, Return, Reimagination, and Reform (Exhibit 2).

Collectively, these five stages represent the imperative of our time: the battle against COVID-19 is one that leaders today must win if we are to find an economically and socially viable path to the next normal.

‘Safeguarding our lives and our livelihoods: The imperative of our time’ By Sven Smit, Martin Hirt, Kevin Buehler, Susan Lund, Ezra Greenberg, and Arvind Govindarajan We see enormous energy invested in suppressing the coronavirus, while many urge even faster and more rigorous measures. We also see enormous energy expended on stabilizing the economy through public-policy responses. However, to avoid permanent damage to our livelihoods, we need to find ways to “timebox” this event: we must think about how to suppress the virus and shorten the duration of the economic shock.

To aid decision makers, we have developed scenarios, based on three likely paths for the spread of the virus and the public health response, and three potential levels of effectiveness for governmental economic response (Exhibit 3). Many leaders currently expect one of the scenarios shaded in Exhibit 3 (A1–A4) to materialize. In each of these, the COVID-19 spread is eventually controlled, and catastrophic structural economic damage is
avoided. These scenarios describe a global average, while situations will inevitably vary by country and region. But all four of these scenarios lead to V- or U-shaped recoveries. Other, more extreme scenarios can also be conceived, and some of them are already being discussed (B1–B5 in Exhibit 3). One can’t exclude the possibility of a “black swan of black swans”: structural damage to the economy, caused by a yearlong spread of the virus until a vaccine is widely available, combined with the lack of policy response to prevent widescale bankruptcies, unemployment, and a financial crisis.

Steps to take now Amid the chaos and all the incoming advice, it’s hard to know exactly what leaders should do today. We suggest they focus their time on four areas:

— Support and protect employees in this brave new world. Many institutions have put basic protections in place for their employees and customers. Companies have activated no-travel and work-from-home policies for some workers and physical-distancing-at-work measures for others. The challenge is evolving. For remote workers, interruptions are more frequent than in the office. Making a mental separation from a sometimes-chaotic home life is tough. Workers are finding that they don’t have the skills to be successful in an extended remote environment, from networking to creating routines that drive productivity. They worry that staying remote could make them less valuable, especially in a recessionary environment.

As our colleagues recently explained, three goals are essential. Companies need to increase communication, balancing the needs of the business with expectation setting and morale building, so employees know that their well being is top of mind. They also need to change working norms, making remote work practical and simple whenever possible. And of course, they must protect people’s health, with whatever measures are appropriate to the workplace: positive hygiene habits, personal protective equipment, amended sick-leave policies— whatever it takes to ensure health and safety.

— Monitor leading indicators of how and where the pandemic is evolving and conduct scenario planning using both epidemiological and economic inputs. Earlier, we sketched out the swing factors to watch to understand how the coronavirus pandemic might develop. As companies develop scenarios, they might want to consider the article “Safeguarding our lives and our livelihoods: The imperative of our time,” available on McKinsey.com, which details McKinsey’s nine epidemiologic and economic scenarios.

— Think about the next horizons of COVID-19. In the urgency of the moment, it’s easy to lose sight of the actions that might be needed tomorrow—and the day after that. The article “Beyond coronavirus: The path to the next normal,” available on McKinsey.com, explains the five horizons that every executive should use to ensure an organization’s rapid response, adaptation to change, and reemergence in a position of strength.
Companies

— Evolve the nerve center to plan for the next phase. Every assumption underpinning a business is open to question. To take one example, we might be in the midst of the largest drawdown in demand since the Second World War. The pendulum might not swing back fully once the outbreak has relented. Having experienced a new way of living, consumers are recalibrating their spending, increasing the likelihood that spending may permanently shift between categories and that online services could get adopted far faster. Decoding this new normal—and ensuring that the company has a strategy to navigate it—is an important part of the work of a nerve center. Approaches such as using a portfolio of initiatives and planning for decision making under uncertainty can go a long way toward creating a compass for business leaders to follow.

The next normal will look unlike any in the years preceding the coronavirus, the pandemic that changed everything. In these briefing notes, we aim to provide leaders with an integrated perspective on the unfolding crisis and insight into the coming weeks and months.

Download here the McKinsey COVID-19 Briefing notes

Download here the McKinsey COVID-19 Facts and Insight

Matt Craven is a partner in McKinsey’s Silicon Valley office, Mihir Mysore is a partner in the Houston office, Shubham Singhal is a senior partner in the Detroit office, Sven Smit is a senior partner in the Amsterdam office, and Matt Wilson is a senior partner in the New York office.