Budget constraints are a major concern for cities all over the country and around the world. Additionally, I‘ve never had a discussion with cities or councils where they complain about having too many people on staff…. Rather, it’s the opposite. Becoming more efficient with people resources is a never-ending pursuit. Despite these trends, I rarely come across customers that tell me that they intend to simply buy the cheapest products on the market. Most people fully understand that you get what you pay for, and something that is simply cheaper may have unintended consequences that drive up the total lifetime cost of ownership. However, it does happen where cheaper products are purchased based on today’s price without fully considering the financial impacts that the decision can have further down the road.
What’s in a product’s price? For parking meters, this may include the following: upfront costs, ongoing fees, materials, spare parts like batteries, labor to operate and maintain, credit card fees (both vendor as well as interchange fees).. However, what is not included in the cost calculation is the expense to replace the product pre-maturely if its capabilities underwhelm or longevity expectations fall short. Another common pitfall in the parking industry is when consumers expect features that are not available, such as virtual (cloud-based) parking permitting solutions. The point is that products that are not built for the future will cost more in the long run.
Generally this “future proofing” value is not typically considered. All of these considerations contribute to a factor that is much more important than price….. the real comparison should be made on a product’s value.
Any industry where price is the most important factor will typically drive innovation out of the market. In the end, it’s the customers of those industries who are directly and negatively affected.
Innovation is not free… In parking technology, it costs IPS millions of dollars each year. As the pace of innovation is constantly changing, customers want to be assured that their products are both upgradable to future technologies, and be confident that the companies they buy from today, are going to continue to innovate and be there in the future to support them. This is why IPS devotes so much time and energy to investing in its people and its products. Our goal is not to make the cheapest products on the market, but innovate in ways that will create the best possible value for our customers, and the best experience for their citizens
As a global Smart Cities software and hardware supplier, IPS Group produces the highest quality products on the market. While the initial investment to install IPS Smart Parking Meters at times may be higher, the value created over time saves a municipality money in the long run.
A city in Alaska has experienced just this. The city invested nearly one million dollars for less expensive single-space parking meters that were supposed to last many years into the future. However, unplanned maintenance and lack of connectivity forced the City to make an unplanned change. IPS was called to install replacements for every single parking meter.
While there are many other stories just like this, partnering with a parking meter solutions company like IPS Group that is focused on implementing technology for both today and the future is critical to a Smart City’s long term success. At IPS, our goal is to deliver the most technologically advanced and practical Smart Parking solutions and exceptional customer support. This is how we create value for our clients.
We encourage all customers to look for partners that truly understand the importance of innovation and builds its business on a foundation of creating long term value.