Recently we had the pleasure of interviewing Christopher Archer, President and CEO of Associated Time. As one of the most well-established players in the parking industry located in Dallas, Texas, we were keen to learn more about what the company has been doing since its inception, what trends have come about over the years and in which direction the company will be headed in the future.
Tell Us a Little About Associated Time and What You Bring to the Parking Industry
We started out originally back in the 60s doing parking gates with time stamps and as technology evolved it was our goal to bring the most advanced and best technology to our customers to be able to monitor, to track and keep care of the revenue. Therefore, we migrated into automated systems for parking and have been doing that since that time. We’re a full-service company in regard to (the fact) we sell, install and service the systems that we help our customers design and implement.
One of the things we’ve strived to do is along with that customer experience and support, as you know we do parking, we do access and we do time and attendance and in many of our solutions and many of our situations that we go to we try to provide that one go to source to meet the needs of the customer. So, in many cases we have a customer that will use the same credential to get into the facility for parking, use the same credential to get into the building for access and then actually use the same credential for punching in on their time attendance system. So, the more that we can provide to the customers from a customer support and customer experience standpoint, we’ve found has been what our customers are looking for and expecting in this day and age.
You Work as a Distributor for Various Respective Parking Solution Providers, Can You Tell Us a Little About This Process?
From our perspective, we’ve never been completely locked into one organisation, however, we are constantly out there and trying to seek what is the best solution for our customers and provide the most technology and the most sophistication and really help them achieve what they want to achieve. Whether that be revenue control, access control, monthly parkers, transient parkers and what systems best fit their needs. About two years ago now, we did an extensive search out there of what we wanted to see ourselves doing going forward and that’s how we became the TIBA representative for Texas and our area here. We believe that they were the best technology company for us to partner with, not just now but also into the future with the vision they have for the parking industry and to be able to provide solutions for us and our customers.
In addition to that, we also are constantly out there seeking other means of technology and solutions for our customers; whether that be parking guidance, even from a higher security standpoint, the SecuScan product based in Germany that we are now representing here in the US as well as many of the access control and other solutions that we provide.
Most of Your Installations Have Been US-Based, Is This Where You Plan to Stay or Do You Think You’ll Branch out in the Future?
We’ve really focused on our core area, which is Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. We do have a little bit of business in Mexico because of the close proximity for us here in Texas to Mexico. That’s really where we plan to focus and keep focused. We try to be the best that we can be in our area and provide the best service support and that’s really what’s kept us in business as long as it has, being about to provide the customers with the right solutions and the right support after the sale as well.
What’s Been Your Biggest Project to Date?
We’ve done several major projects. We were involved with Houston Airport, which was probably our single largest project that we did years ago. More recently, our larger projects have been the Austin Airport parking guidance and we partnered there with Park Assist. We also partnered with TIBA at the George R Brown Convention Center in Houston as well as the garage that services the Houston Rockets, the Toyota Tundra Garage and we’re in the process also of providing that same solution for the theatre district which is all part of Houston First which will end up being close to 100 lanes when it’s all done of TIBA revenue and access equipment. It also handles the event parking and several other types of parker validations and so it’s quite a complex system.
What Specific Trends Have You Seen over Your Years in the Industry?
So, I started in 1989 in parking out in California and I would say the biggest trends have really been from a customer service standpoint. I think in the past it was always trying to secure your facility and trying to maximise your revenue whereas nowadays there’s a lot more concern and a lot more of the systems are “how can I make the parking experience more enjoyable for my patrons and how can I drive more customers to my facility because they know they can park with ease at my facility?” I think there’s a lot more than the straight we want to collect revenue and we want to keep our monthlies in and out. That’s where it becomes tricky when you have to provide a lot more of the solutions for all the different types of parkers that you may need to take care of as well as provide the best customer experience and I think that’s really where it’s changed.
What Do You Have Planned in the Future?
Our plans for the future are to continue to expand our presence in our local markets as well as continue to seek out and provide whatever solutions we feel from a technology standpoint, whether that be Bluetooth solutions, whether that be parking guidance solutions, the security SecuScan type solutions and really continue to give our customers what they’ve come to expect from Associated Time that we are the one-stop-shop that can provide the best products, the best service and the best on-going support.
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Associated Time Instruments is a leading supplier of Workforce Management Systems, Parking and Revenue Control Equipment, and Access Control Systems. Our company is a leader in all of our markets, we distinguish ourselves by providing superior products, expert consulting and engineering, quality installations, comprehensive support, and professional services. Associated Time Instruments provides both standard software products and custom software solutions, we have consistently provided modern and effective solutions to our customers during the past 60 years.