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Parking management from the perspective of a Works Council
/ Interview with Stefan Hirsch, Works Council Scheidt & Bachmann

"We have significantly increased the utilization of our parking areas".

Quite a few professionals smile when it is said about their company "The cobbler has the worst shoes". At Scheidt & Bachmann, however, the often-quoted saying runs into the void: At the world market leader for innovative parking systems, employees have been benefiting from the parkoneer access solution, which was developed in-house, since the fall of 2022. In an interview, Works Council member Stefan Hirsch describes how the solution is being used.

Mr. Hirsch, let's take stock: 1,500 employees currently work at Scheidt & Bachmann's headquarters in Mönchengladbach, 600 to 800 of whom come to work by car every day. How have the colleagues divided up the scarce parking space so far?
Stefan Hirsch: First of all, Scheidt & Bachmann has reacted as many companies would do if they wanted to do something for their employees: A few years ago, a new parking lot was built and thus considerably more colleagues were given the opportunity to park their cars on the company premises. We now have three company-owned parking areas, but initially they were not systematically managed. 

What did that mean for the parking situation?
We could see how many cars were entering and leaving our main parking lot, but there was no precise overview of who was using which parking spaces and when. Those who had a permit were allowed to use it - those who didn't were literally left out, even if spaces were empty. As a result, numerous colleagues remained dependent on the limited on-street spaces in the industrial park. 

And how were these permits distributed in the past?
We issue the parking permits from the works council. According to a company agreement, the longer someone has been employed by the company, the more likely they are to be entitled to a company parking space. 

How does it look now?
The Parking Solutions division has equipped the parking spaces with barriers, license plate recognition and a lane device and linked them to the parkoneer software. Works council colleague Markus Baum and I are admins in the parkoneer system. We first transferred the old authorizations and very quickly realized that our parking lot was not fully utilized at all. Because we now have a precise overview of all parking processes via the parkoneer dashboard, we use the available space much more efficiently. 

What increase in parking are we talking about? 
The clearest example: Our largest parking lot on Breite Straße with 425 spaces was usually only half full. Since we started working with the parkoneer solution, we have already issued 900 permits for these 425 spaces. And for the 70 spaces in the courtyard of our headquarters, there are already around 200 authorizations - so we are increasing utilization significantly.

How can this be achieved?
When we talk to our colleagues, we find out which days they are at work or in their home offices, which shifts they work, and so on. We can then easily work out together when another colleague can use the parking space. In the future, employees will be able to book their parking times themselves - the system can do this easily.

What does that mean for the entire workforce?
We launched the system in the fall of '22 and see a lot of potential for adding more people and their vehicles. We are issuing more permits every month; our goal is to offer all colleagues a parking space on the company premises for their respective workdays or shifts by the end of the year. In addition, entry and exit are much more convenient because the barriers open automatically when the cameras have detected an authorized license plate. 

What is particularly important to us is that we have already provided all female employees in our company with a space in the managed areas, including the female trainees. So they don't have to cross any more scared areas in the evening or in winter. And thanks to better utilization, we have even been able to squeeze off more space for bicycles and motorcycles. Another pleasant side effect is that parking on the street has also become more relaxed. 

How did the works council come to rely on the parkoneer system in the first place?
We got the scoop that there was something new in our company. Of course, it pays off that even as a global company, we still feel like a family business and treat each other that way. Before, management was really just a matter of "open the gate, close the gate”. Now it's like we have all the data in our hands. I firmly believe that we can provide parking for everyone in the company. By the way, there is a company agreement that says: If you don't use your parking space at least 75 percent of the time, you lose it. We haven't applied that before, but the necessary transparency is there now. 

Have you already received feedback from colleagues on the parkoneer system?
The feedback has been positive across the board. The new solution is running very, very well. The technology works anyway, we just had to enter the data correctly.

An important keyword: Were there any concerns about data protection among the workforce or on the part of the works council?
Yes, of course, but we were able to resolve all of them. Our data protection officer is involved, we have agreed on the locations of the cameras, we only record license plates and user names, no personnel numbers or other personal data. All we need to know is: Is this person employed by us? If so, the associated vehicle is given free access at certain times. 

Would you recommend other Scheidt & Bachmann sites to introduce such a solution?
Absolutely! We are currently building a new project in Kiel, increasing the area, so it would certainly make sense to control the parking lot with our system. It is also very user-friendly for us, everything runs online, there are no Excel lists and no more paperwork. 

Scheidt & Bachmann Parking Solutions has been an industry leader in Smart Parking for decades and is a provider of forward-looking complete solutions for parking management - worldwide. Self-testing and use of our solutions is an essential part of this for increased customer understanding. This naturally includes parkoneer, and we operate the solution virtually in continuous testing. As a result, our own parking areas are used much more efficiently and we have already been able to issue considerably more parking permits than was the case in the past.

Stefan Hirsch
Works Council Scheidt & Bachmann


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