7, 10, 15 Decades in Business: How these 10 Companies Made It


7, 10, 15 Decades in Business: How these 10 Companies Made It

Ninety Percent of all startups fail within 15 years. But some succeed for decades. PT reached out to ten companies in the parking industry that have been around for a staggering 70 years, with one making it to 150.

What was their secret? Here goes:

Bill Keep, Senior VP at Ace Parking attributes their 72 years in business to “the development of partnership relationships with each client by listening to their unique needs and embracing innovative solutions to achieve their goals.“ He recommends that younger companies “rush into exciting but unproven operational strategies and not trying to grow too fast.“ New companies should focus first on developing solutions that best meet the operational needs of their clients rather than pushing standardized platforms and then plan for strategic growth supported by an expanding team of professionals.

Toledo Ticket Technology’s CEO Tom Carter sees their more than 100 years in business differently: “Superior customer service has been the cornerstone of who we are. We have always had an engaged team who’s forward thinking, relationship building, and leadership have driven our success.” He recommends that so called younger companies “Listen to your customers and invest in your customers’ success. Support and give back to those who have given so generously to you; both the customers and the industries you serve. Research the industry and its direction and needs and stay ahead of the curve. Know your customers and know your competition. And most important, choose your team wisely. Choose a team with loyalty and integrity, who listen, are forward thinking and leaders, have a positive attitude, can be trusted, are intelligent and receptive to ideas and constructive criticism, and have the drive to work hard and succeed. You can teach the products you sell and the industry you serve. You cannot teach these other attributes that are needed for success.”

TransCore has been providing Traffic and Parking solutions for more than 80 years. Associate VP Susan McDermott says that the company has “built upon a relentless focus on serving our customers. The drive to deliver innovative, creative, and unique solutions that address our customer’s unique business needs is engrained in TransCore’s culture. Over time, this has allowed us to develop long-lasting relationships built on confidence in our ability to deliver. Our customers know we are going to be a responsive partner to them. Our success is predicated on their success, and we don’t ever forget that. So called “newbies” should “focus on quality and service,” act with integrity, and treat each customer like you are in a long-term partnership with them. Most importantly, learn from your successes and failures so you can leverage those insights to continually improve. Collectively, that is a recipe for longevity in any business.”

Amano McGann has been in business 90 years. “We celebrated our 90th anniversary in November of 2021 and we look forward to another 90 years of innovation, collaboration, and creating value for our clients,” said Ryan Nester, Vice President of Sales at Amano McGann. “Amano is part of the fabric of the parking industry. From our first-time recorder in 1931, to our cloud-based, contemporary parking solution, Amano ONE, we continue to be committed to quality products and simplified solutions for owners, operators, and end-users.”

Global DESIGNA CEO Oliver Suter says that their longevity stems from a strong company culture and a continued focus on the future. “We are proud of our strong history as a global market leader, but even prouder of our focus on building a better future for our customers. Success and innovation come from always looking forward.” John Curtiss, CEO of DESIGNA USA, says it is critical to become a true partner for your customers. “In the U.S., we have a great team that works well together to provide the optimal solution customized for each individual parking operation. Our passion is to be a value-added consultative partner to our customers.” Younger companies, he says should “Build a strong company culture of teamwork and collaboration. Be able to demonstrate your success, overservice your customers and exceed their expectations.” 

The winner of the longevity award is Scheidt and Bachmann with 150 years of service. We reached Dr. Norbert Miller, CEO of Scheidt & Bachmann.  He is also a fifth-generation family shareholder of S&B. “Our business success is based on a stable and long-term strategy combined with the values of a family business that respects the needs of its employees, customers, and the environment. These are the key elements that have never changed throughout the history of Scheidt & Bachmann. Together with a consistent drive for innovation, this has ensured that we continue to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations. To ‘younger’ companies I would recommend; Always be prepared to review and adapt your products and business models. Never be afraid to disrupt yourself – true to the famous proverb, ‘The better is the enemy of what is good. Stay close to your customers. Stay lean.”

Bobra Schultes, POM’s Technical Sales Manager, talks about the company’s nearly 90 years in business. “POM goes back to the first installation of Park-O-Meters in 1935. The parking meter has undergone a lot of changes since then, as it will continue do so. I attribute our longevity to a dedication to customer service – making a product that meets their needs rather than trying to convince them to accept what we want to make. We try to treat our customers as partners so we can ensure continued success of their meter systems. Another way we maintain longevity is by diversifying our field of operation. When the parking meter market is slow, we capitalize on our ability to contract manufacture parts for other type of products. This capability helped keep us in operation while other factories were shutting down in 2020. POM is a great place to work; our key personnel have been with the company many years and work together almost like a family. We care about each other, our jobs, and the continued success of POM and our client installations. What would I recommend to a young company? Customer service – a live voice on the phone. Answer the phone, and return phone calls and emails promptly. It shows you value the customers’ time and their business. Also, cross-train your employees so that you can weather staffing shortages when they occur.”

“I think it’s essential to exceed the expectations of partners and customers,” says Brian Veshecco, director of sales at Signal-Tech. “Signal-Tech has prospered nearly 100 years by designing, engineering, and manufacturing the highest-quality directional LED signs and systems. We continually evolve and improve our manufacturing processes while utilizing the latest, cutting-edge manufacturing technologies, and our products are built with the highest-quality components” says Veshecco. “By doing these things since Signal-Tech’s inception, we have built long-lasting, meaningful relationships with all of our partners and customers, which has been the cornerstone of our longevity and success. It may sound like repeating buzz words, but it’s crucial to show your employees that they are valued by establishing a long-lasting, positive culture as early as possible,” says Veshecco. Young companies should listen closely to what their partners and customers say. The feedback these resources provide is a gift and is the roadmap of current trends and future opportunities. Finally, as the saying goes, ‘change is inevitable, growth is optional.’ Since it’s inevitable, it may as well be embraced and used to your advantage. Don’t be afraid to embrace changes and innovate your products according to them.”

“We really listen to our clients when they talk about their long-term goals and strategies. While it is important to provide immediate solutions, it is equally important to help them imagine how we fit into their future as an integral part of achieving their goals. The technologies and services we provide today derive from what we have learned from our clients and our ability to anticipate their needs,” said Marc Baumann, Chairman and CEO of SP+ Corporation. SP + has been serving its customers for over 90 years. “Surround yourself with smart, curious people who are always looking to innovate and improve,” said Baumann.

Wooster Products is celebrating its 101st year in business. Ms. Poonam Harvey, President, notes that “We focus on what we do best. We manufacture the highest quality anti-slip stair treads and walkway products available.” Younger companies, she says, “should take good care of your employees. They are an important part of any success.”

Article contributed by:
John Van Horn
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