The present case discusses the company Automaten Technik Baumann (ATB), which is a medium-sized manufacturer and distributor of parking meters for on-street parking. Due to the popularization of mobile parking and ticketing solutions, the company’s CEO Peter Bauer is worried that the demand for ATB’s products will drop significantly. Therefore, the main goal for ATB is to secure its place on the market by adjusting its business model.
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Before the recent changes to the market, ATB’s position in it was relatively stable. The company supplied parking meters to the municipalities of Europe and the United Arab Emirates, where ATB’s market share was especially high at 90%. ATB had several models of parking meters and was constantly modernizing its products to improve their efficiency with regards to energy consumption, for instance, by integrating solar panels and batteries into the original meter’s structure. Another focus of the improvement process was to enhance the user-friendliness of the parking meters; this was achieved by developing a variety of payment options, including card payments, bills, and local cash cards, as well as by fitting in a color touch display. Another product of the company is a software that helps to gather and monitor information from the parking meters; this product was in high demand by municipalities that were looking to get more information on the use of public parking spaces and on the revenues generated by the paid parking. The company did not have an extensive marketing strategy, as the sales were made directly to municipalities that chose the company based on product specifications and price.
Therefore, the main limitation to the success of ATB is not the quality of its products, but the high and constantly increasing competition in the market. ATB’s revenues are relatively low comparing to that of the market leaders. For example, in 2014, the company’s revenues were at 5.1 million euros, whereas its four major competitors, Parkeon, Cale Group, Hectronic, and Metric, gained revenues of 185, 60, 30, and 19 million euros respectively. Moreover, there is also a great probability that the number of competitors will increase dramatically due to the entrance of mobile parking providers into the market. The case study explains that mobile solutions are likely to be more popular as they are easier for most people to access via their phones.
They also offer features such as charging the parking bills to the driver’s mobile phone, which usually requires less effort from the user than payment via cash or credit cards. Despite the fact that the mobile parking market remains relatively small and unexplored in most target countries, it has the potential to expand quickly, which is why it is vital for ATB to address this risk. The case informs that the presence of mobile parking solutions in some cities has already impaired the company’s sales. Further expansion of mobile parking providers is very likely, especially if they decide to integrate other features into their apps, such as payment for public transport and services.
Overall, one of the key ways to stabilize its market position is for ATB to reduce the maintenance costs of its parking meters, which is a growing concern for municipalities. However, in order to achieve success, it would also be necessary for the company to explore the ways in which it could sustain the competition from mobile parking providers.