Success Story: Colgate-Palmolive Technology Campus
Campus mergers and navigation: Colgate-Palmolive’s parking challenge
Parking was no easy feat for the 1,400 employees at Colgate-Palmolive’s campus in Piscataway, N.J.
The consumer products giant ran into some significant parking challenges during a recent round of renovations. Hearing endless complaints that the parking lots were quickly filling up — and hitting full capacity when they held a special event, a frequent occurrence — Colgate-Palmolive constructed a three-tier, open, 589-space parking garage.
What followed wasn’t a simplified process, but accidents: cars parked in the driving lane created hazardous navigation inside the new parking garage. The reason drivers gave for parking outside a marked spot? They claimed that none could be found — even though they were there in abundance. Add in the consolidation of a second campus into the Piscataway location, and coming and going from the parking garage became a point of contention instead of an easy feat.
So when a Colgate-Palmolive vice president saw a level guidance system at a northern New Jersey shopping mall, it was clear that the answer wasn’t in assigned spots, or building more parking lots during their renovations — visitors and employees alike simply needed to be pointed in the right direction. Structure Tone, the contractor managing the Colgate-Palmolive expansion project, contacted Rupesh Patel of Kyosis, a N.J.-based parking management system provider. The leadership team knew Kyosis’ reputation for good work, attentive service and affordable product and knew instantly that the company’s parking management system was a perfect fit.
The rest, as they say, is history.
A hybrid parking guidance system to the rescue
Kyosis’ process began with a parking needs assessment, which reviewed how the garage is used and how a parking guidance solution would best meet future needs. Every inch of the garage was taken into account: dimension, the entrance size, garage layout and driving direction all influenced which solution would best help Colgate-Palmolive.
“We checked what Colgate-Palmolive’s needs were throughout the whole design process,” Patel said. “There’s a back-and-forth throughout the whole process, where we share our suggestions with Colgate-Palmolive and they provide feedback. During this process, we also figure out how all the elements will work and how it will achieve their goals — we do this before everything is ordered as well to minimize any major roadblocks.”
The result was a hybrid solution composed of a level guidance system and space guidance system. Level guidance signs were installed at the entrance to the garage ramp and inside the garage itself. Indicator lights triggered by sensors and run on a magnetic induction loop to reduce the cuts into concrete were installed on the first and second floors. Lights are located every four spaces so each open spot is clearly identified. An electrical room on the ground floor contains all the controls and operating software to keep the parking guidance system running smoothly.
“The lights are LED, so they can be seen from a mile away, and that’s exactly what we need,” said Ron Meyer, Project Design Manager for Facilities and Construction, Colgate-Palmolive. “Especially as drivers are adjusting to the garage, the red light [identification for occupied spots] and green light [identification for open spots] really works to help drivers find a spot.”
To boot, the level guidance system sign at the entrance was customized with the Colgate-Palmolive logo, adding a special, sophisticated touch to greet visitors and employees alike as they arrive.
A business-friendly installation process
All in all, installation took approximately a year-and-a-half from first meeting to total completion, including the permitting process from local government authorities and troubleshooting. Installation was rolled out in parts so the garage remained open and functional, with Kyosis even supplying someone to direct traffic when necessary.
“Logistically, about 20 spots per day were coned off during installation, so Kyosis never stopped the flow of traffic,” Meyer said. “More invasive parts were completed on the weekend so the traffic flow, entrances and exits were never compromised.”
The results: a smoother parking experience
Kyosis’ parking management system eliminated one of Colgate-Palmolive’s biggest issues: the crowding close to the entrance that caused drivers to believe that no spots were left. With a level guidance system, the temptation to crowd the entrance is eliminated: now, drivers definitively know where to find the open spots. The parking guidance system takes that a step further, guiding drivers directly into open spaces.
Feedback from employees and visitors alike has been overwhelmingly positive and has quickly become a natural, expected part of the morning commute for Colgate-Palmolive employees.
“When the parking management solution wasn’t in, we heard an earful about it all the time,” Meyer said. “Now that Kyosis installed this solution for us, all our employees love it. When new people come to visit, it’s the first thing they see, and they always say something to us about how helpful it is.”
“You can clearly see people slowing down to read the signs,” Patel added. “It’s especially helpful during peak hours — most people are typically at work by 8:30 a.m.”
A “bonus” benefit — security
For Colgate-Palmolive, knowing when people are on campus is a high priority, and the parking guidance system has helped campus security quickly grasp the number of people in the building at any time. While there aren’t security cameras throughout the whole deck, cameras placed at the entrance and exit, coupled with the counts provided by the level guidance system, show security who is there when.
“Security wants to know who is in the parking garage after hours, which can now be monitored through Kyosis’ system — that’s a big benefit that we don’t have in our regular parking lots,” Meyer said. “Security can now see who’s there after hours and who’s there on the weekend, when company policy does not allow parking in the garage on the weekend.”
Kyosis’ software was tied into Colgate-Palmolive’s security system so the team could have access to it at all times. Kyosis then provided thorough training for the security team to be able to operate the easy-to-use, intuitive software system.
“Since we expanded the security control room, it was a logical place to install the computers needed to operate the parking guidance system,” Meyer said.
Additionally, the parking guidance system has helped confirm attendance numbers at Colgate-Palmolive’s special events — according to Patel, the increased number of cars help event planners help to confirm the success of an event.
Takeaways from Colgate-Palmolive parking guidance system
Kyosis’ solution for Colgate-Palmolive’s parking woes was a combined effort. Kyosis planned a solution with the consumer products giant’s input at every step, customizing and accommodating each part to fit Colgate-Palmolive’s needs.
Some important takeaways from Colgate-Palmolive’s experience include:
- The best parking solutions are customized for each company’s culture. Colgate-Palmolive’s hybrid solution addressed the company’s biggest need: improved navigation in the parking lot, with detail-tweaking down to the logo on the level guidance system signage.
- Look for a parking solutions partner which works around the company’s schedule. Kyosis did not get in the way of regular operations. By installing 20 spots at a time and completing the major interruptive work on weekends, Colgate-Palmolive employees did not experience any significant interruptions to their normal commute or schedule.
- Parking solutions have a positive impact company-wide. While some companies prefer Kyosis to manage the solution or to come in on an as-needed basis for maintenance, at Colgate-Palmolive, the parking system served as a natural extension of the campus’ security detail. Of course, Kyosis is only a phone call away.
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