Tuesday, December 20, 2016

How Secure Is Your Campus Housing During Winter Break?

Snowy college campus
Winter break is a time for university facility managers to kick back and relax, right? Many universities try to alleviate winter break security concerns and costs by closing dormitories and apartments during the break. There is just one problem with that: Students' belongings won't be as secure as expected if a master key falls into the wrong hands.

Property crime is the most common type of on-campus crime, and a reduction in students and staff during the winter break can give a thief the opportunity they've been waiting for. It's a little bit easier to make a clean getaway with easy-to-grab, valuable laptops, TVs and gaming devices if nobody is around. Plus, a misplaced or unsecured key gives them easy access.

Here are the steps your university needs to take to make sure your keys don't fall into sticky fingers during winter break.

Secure Master Keys


Your university likely has a few sets of master keys that grant access to campus buildings. If these keys go missing, you face a major headache. Schools have had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars rekeying entire buildings after master keys went missing.

When student or university property is at risk (even during regular semesters), you can't have master keys floating around in unknown hands. Be sure your master keys remain secure when not in use, and don't keep multiple master keys on a single key ring.

Hold Employees Accountable


While having fewer students and staff around would make university housing an attractive target to outside thieves, employees who are willing to abuse their key-access privileges can be just as much of a risk. If you can't track who has keys to a certain building and when they had them, how can you possibly know where to start if a theft is reported after the winter break ends?

Once keys are secure and access is restricted, be sure you also have a way for employees to log what keys they took and when they took them. If a theft occurs during the break and it's believed that the dorm or apartment was accessed with a key, you need a way to figure out who had access to that key at the time. An electronic method of key access that automatically logs key activity would curb problems stemming from employees who aren't properly logging their access.

React Quickly


The trickiest part about reducing winter break theft is the same reason empty dorms are such an alluring target to would-be thieves: the fact that nobody's around means it's harder to catch somebody in the act. That's why it's important to set time limits on key access and to be able to track key activity remotely.

If you're using an electronic key control system, but sure it's capable of sending email or text alerts to notify you if a key isn't returned to the system within a specified time frame. This will allow you to react quickly to a possible security breach and either reduce the chances of a breach or possibly catch somebody in the act.

Has your university experienced problems with burglaries during your winter break? What steps have you taken to reduce theft and make sure key usage privileges aren't abused or don't fall into the wrong hands? Let us know in the comments.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Teens Don't Get Far With Stolen Sports Cars

Key left in car door
How well does your dealership protect its keys after hours, especially keys for rare or high-end models? Do you go out of your way to make sure your keys aren't easily accessible regardless of the other levels of security a thief has to go through to reach them? A Missouri dealership recently found out the hard way what happens when keys aren't kept secure.

A group of five teens broke into the dealership to steal keys to four new sports cars — a pair of 2016 Dodge Challenger Hellcats and two 2016 Dodge Chargers in powerful Scat Pack trim. While attempting to escape in the vehicles, the teens crashed the two 700-horsepower Challengers and one of the Chargers within a mile of the dealership. Three of the teens were apprehended by police while trying to escape on foot. The second Charger is still missing.

Though three of the cars were recovered — albeit very damaged — the dealership's general manager told a local TV station that it could take several months for Chrysler to replace the four specialty cars. Those cars represent potential sales that the dealership won't be able to make until it has replacements, while employees must also commit time and effort to the police investigation and theft reports.

The dealership was lucky that the powerful sports cars were not involved in fatal collisions with innocent bystanders. A California dealership recently settled a lawsuit for almost $1 million after a vehicle stolen from its lot was involved in a fatal accident.

As thieves get bolder and the stakes become higher, take the time to re-evaluate your existing security measures to ensure they're enough to keep crafty thieves from stealing and damaging your dealership's assets. Padlocked gates can be cut, offices can be breached, and keys can be accessed when they're not secured in a tamper-proof cabinet. What are you doing to limit your liability and keep your cars secure?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Does Your Dealership Need to Improve Its Sales Process?

One of the top frustrations among car buyers is how long the sales process takes. In fact, overall satisfaction with the length of the car-buying process is only 56 percent.

Clock on top of calendarIn today’s automotive industry, customers want to get in and out of the dealership in two hours or less. And even though 85 percent of dealers want to get their car sales process down to that time frame, the majority of dealerships’ transactions still take 3-5 hours. Why is that? Because dealers can’t pinpoint the inefficiencies in their sales processes.

If you have trouble identifying areas of improvement in your dealership, consider these questions:

  • Do your sales reps walk the lot pressing the panic button to find a specific vehicle? 
  • Are your test drives held up due to empty fuel tanks or dead batteries?
  • If a customer suddenly wants to test drive another vehicle, would your sales rep have to scour the lot to find it?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you’ve just pinpointed some inefficiencies in your sales process. Once you know where the process can improve, you can work on making the sales process a quicker and better experience for your customers. After all, 55 percent of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience.

Improving your sales process enhances the customer experience and in turn brings you more sales. What are you doing to serve your customers well? Let us know in the comments!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Fresno Dealership Settles Lawsuit After Stolen Vehicle Results in Fatal Crash

When a vehicle is stolen from a dealership, the dealer is left to deal with police reports, profit losses and insurance claims. Not only are these consequences a hassle, they’re also a blow to the bottom line.

But what happens if crimes are committed in the stolen vehicle? The dealership risks a lawsuit and a potential costly settlement or judgment — not to mention the reverberating effect on the dealership’s public image. That’s what happened to Fresno My Auto Maxx, which was sued for negligence after the dealership’s lax key security measures allowed a lone thief to repeatedly steal vehicles.

Wrecked carsWhile driving a stolen Infiniti, the thief ran a stop sign and slammed into a 55-year-old man’s vehicle, killing him. After the incident, the dealership paid a $950,000 settlement to the victim’s widow.

My Auto Maxx’s situation is a perfect example of why your dealership can’t neglect the following key and asset control best practices to limit liability.

Enforce Key Security


If your dealership doesn’t enforce key security, you’re vulnerable to key theft. In the case against My Auto Maxx, the widow’s lawyer pointed out that the dealership’s lack of theft prevention was the reason a single thief was able to steal a total of three cars on different occasions. Two of the vehicles were stolen using the vehicles’ keys — one left in the ignition, and the other left unsecure in the sales office — which the thief stole when he pretended to apply for credit approval.

Your dealership can reduce the threat of theft and therefore limit liability by implementing strict key control processes. Whether you choose to implement a pegboard, key cabinet or electronic key control system, install your key storage solution in a secure location and keep keys well organized. If you do experience a theft, having your keys well organized in a central location will allow you to notice more quickly when a key goes missing. 

Hold Employees Accountable


Your employees are entrusted with vehicle keys on a daily basis, so holding them accountable is crucial for reducing your risk of key loss and theft. The first car stolen by the Fresno thief still had the keys in the ignition, presumably left there after a test drive. This disregard for key security provided an easy opportunity for theft.To prevent mistakes like this from happening, strictly enforce employee accountability within your dealership.

You can promote accountability by having employees update a key log so there is a written record of all key transactions. Require employees to check out keys by writing down their name, the time, the date and the key they checked out. If you choose to implement an electronic key control process, these credentials will be recorded automatically. Having a written record of all key activity helps expedite investigations of lost keys by allowing managers to quickly identify and speak to the employee who last checked out the key to get more information.

 Keep Track of Your Inventory


Another factor contributing to the Fresno dealership’s alleged negligence was the fact that despite knowing the Infiniti had been stolen, the dealership took four days to report the missing vehicle. Since the thief was driving the stolen car at the time of the fatal accident, the dealership found itself involved in a litigation nightmare.

This case demonstrates why it’s important for your dealership to not only account for its keys but also have a daily process for tracking inventory. This process could entail walking the lot scanning barcodes on each vehicle or simply updating a spreadsheet when each vehicle’s location is verified. There is also GPS-based lot management technology that displays the location of cars on the lot and triggers an email or text alert if a vehicle is off the lot after business hours.

The moment a vehicle goes missing, you should be able to rely on your key logs to identify the employee who last had the keys, request information about the vehicle’s location and, if necessary, promptly report a theft.

When you don’t implement security measures that help prevent theft, you're putting your inventory, business and community at risk.

To learn more about how to reduce your dealership’s liability, read our post “Five Benefits of Implementing Electronic Key Control.”

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Maximize Your Dealership’s Efficiency This Fourth of July Weekend

American flags on dealership carsFourth of July weekend is one of the busiest times of the year for both car dealers and car buyers. Hefty discounts on current-model vehicles attract customers across the nation during the holiday weekend, increasing dealership traffic significantly.

“Manufacturers heavily promote new car deals before holidays in part because consumers have more time to dedicate to shopping,” said Mike Stanton, vice president and COO of NADA Used Car Guide, in a post regarding the abundance of Fourth of July savings.

With the influx of customers looking to take advantage of the significant price reductions, dealerships must operate with maximum efficiency when conducting test drives and throughout the whole sales process.

Industry-specific electronic key control systems provide the resources dealerships need to streamline the car-buying process for customers, increasing the probability of a sale.

When customers decide to test drive a vehicle, your staff can’t afford to waste valuable time searching for the vehicle’s keys. With key control systems, you can access keys from a computerized locking steel drawer that lights up each key as it’s requested so you can locate it quickly. As each key is removed, a log is automatically generated, so other employees know which keys have been checked out of the system.

To make the sales and test-drive process even more efficient, you can use a lot management system to search the lot for vehicles based on specific characteristics like make, model, year, color, mileage and VIN. You'll also be able to see the GPS location of each vehicle on the lot so you spend less time searching for cars and more time completing test drives (and therefore making sales).

To learn more benefits of electronic key control, check out this post.

Best Practices for Discouraging Internal Theft

Handing keys to employee.
Last month, a 38 year-old California man strolled into a San Bernardino-area dealership, pocketed a pair of keys and drove off in another person’s vehicle — all during business hours. It turned out the man had previously been employed at the dealership, so he knew exactly where keys were kept. 

This incident is one of many that happen across the nation every year. In fact, research indicates that the number one source of shrinkage for retailers in 2015 was employee theft. 

Although not every theft is preventable, you can follow a few best practices to reduce the likelihood of internal theft. 

Promote Accountability


It's unclear how the San Bernardino man gained access to customer keys without turning heads. However, if you’re concerned about a similar security breach, updating manual key control processes to electronic key control could help deter theft. 

By requiring users to log in via password, key fob and/or fingerprint scan, the system creates an audit trail so you can review exactly who’s accessing which keys and when. Additionally, with an electronic key control system in place, dishonest associates won’t be able to argue against the validity of key control logs. This reality will resonate with your employees, discouraging potential theft. 

Separate Employee Responsibilities


In some businesses, it’s not uncommon for the employee handling alarm codes to also be the keeper of the keys. In the event an alarm goes off, however, this arrangement can easily become a conflict of interest. If you designate a single employee to handle both responsibilities, that employee could 1) commit theft nearly unnoticed, or 2) leave keys unmanned long enough for another employee to commit theft.

To limit this liability, consider designating multiple system administrators, so that no employee has unchecked access to security measures. Designating several system administrators distributes accountability, which is beneficial for several reasons: 
  1. If one administrator isn’t present you’ll still have access to the system.
  2. You eliminate the risk of a conflict of interest.
  3. Each administrator can still complete daily tasks without compromising key security.

Disable User Accounts


When an employee leaves, it's important to ensure they don't still have access to company systems and assets. The same electronic key control system that allows you to set up multiple users also allows you to remove terminated employees from the system. In doing so, you can protect your company against potential credential abuse. Whether it’s an employee trying to clock in for a coworker, or an ex-employee looking to steal from their former boss, password security is not to be taken lightly. 

For more information on how to maintain asset security, read our post “Vehicles Stolen From Milwaukee County Dealerships.” 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Brazen Car Thief Takes Ohio Dealership by Surprise

Car thief at nightIt took only nine minutes for a car thief in Columbus, OH, to walk into a dealership, take a set keys that was left unattended and drive off the lot in one of the dealership's cars — all while employees and buyers were still on the showroom floor.

The Toyota West dealership was just closing when the thief came to perform his quick heist. Despite security cameras recording his every move and the activity of employees on the sales floor, the perpetrator was able to steal keys to a $12,000 SUV, which he drove off in. The security cameras showed a distraught salesman looking for the keys seconds before the thief drove the vehicle off the lot. The keys had been left unattended, possibly after a test drive.

Employee accountability is vital at dealerships, where keys need to be easily accessible for test drives or maintenance work. When keys are misplaced or stolen, dealerships face liability risks as well as the extra expense of replacing keys. To limit liability and avoid these potential expenses, some dealerships use an electronic key control system

By requiring employees to check out keys from the key control system, dealership managers can know who has accessed a specific key and when, while ensuring keys are returned on time.

If you’ve implemented an electronic key control system, take advantage of its ability to create an audit trail in real time when enforcing policies like requiring all keys to be kept in the system and setting up user profiles to allow only authorized employees to gain key access. To prevent theft, keep employees accountable for returning keys to the system right after test drives, minimizing the possibility of a quick heist like the one mentioned above.

To learn more about the importance of employee accountability, check out this post.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

$16,000 Thefts From Toronto Police Stations Show No Signs of Forced Entry

In the last five years, Toronto Police stations have seen more than $16,000 worth of items go missing and have received 46 reported thefts.
Key in Lock

The biggest loss the stations faced was the theft of a manila envelope with more than $2,500 in cash for police gym memberships. The envelope was taken from a shared locker.

The stolen items also included equipment used for station operations and community events. Thieves swiped a bulletproof vest, a gas mask, building materials for a new police station and $1,500 in camera equipment the Toronto Police Intelligence Services had purchased.

With the stations’ history of thefts, one station locked up two Xbox game consoles, which the station had purchased for a local event where neighborhood youth could play video games with officers. Somehow, however, a thief allegedly got hold of a key to the basement where the equipment was kept and stole a console and video game worth nearly $260.

Thieves have also targeted miscellaneous personal items left on police properties.

There were no signs of forced entry in any of these thefts, but without an adequate audit trail, there is no way to know if the theft was an inside job.

Toronto Police stations would have benefited from having a process for securing keys and creating an audit trail of all employees who used those keys. For example, if the stations implemented a high-security electronic key control system, they could control access to keys by keeping them physically locked down in a secure panel or electronic drawer.

The system would require authorized users to log in via biometric fingerprint authentication or password, and a report of all system activity would be automatically recorded. In addition, some electronic key control systems include a built-in, motion-activated security camera, which would provide an additional level of insight into system activity.

To ensure managers were always informed of who was accessing the organization’s valuable keys and assets, system reports and alerts could be sent directly to the system administrator(s) via text or email.

For more information on how electronic key control helps with asset management, check out this post.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Key Theft Puts Des Moines Properties at Risk

All it took was an unlocked truck parked in a fast-food lot for a thief to gain access to city properties across the entire city of Des Moines, IA.

Up-close photo of set of keys. Late last year, a city employee stopped at a fast-food restaurant for lunch, leaving a set of city keys in his unlocked truck. Someone then opened the vehicle doors and stole the employee’s lunchbox with the set of keys inside, giving the thief access to several locks around the city. Just a few days later, the city’s softball park was broken into, though it wasn’t confirmed if the two incidents were related.

With the loss of these keys, the city faced the large cost of re-keying locks and replacing keys. The city can help prevent future incidents and unwanted spending by using an electronic key management system.

In the system, keys are securely locked away in electronic steel drawers that can only be accessed using a fingerprint, password or key fob. The system provides a complete overview of key activity, which allows managers to determine which employee has been using a particular key. If an incident occurs in which a key is lost or stolen, management can immediately determine who the responsible employee was and take action.

In addition, the system activity can be viewed on the web in case managers are not on-site and are unable to physically log in to the system.

Click here for another example of how implementing access levels could have helped keep employees accountable and reduce theft. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Vehicles Stolen From Milwaukee County Dealerships

Car thief driving stolen carMilwaukee County is no stranger to auto theft, with yet another dealership hit by thieves. In the past nine months, thieves have broken into nearly 20 businesses to steal keys and, in some cases, have driven cars right out of the dealerships' front doors.

According to the John Amato Hyundai dealer, if these thefts continue, then insurance rates for auto dealers in Milwaukee will increase, adding to the vehicles' sticker prices.

Dealers around the area have taken precautions by verifying all cars are locked, alarms and cameras are on, and keys are stored in a lock box or taken home at the end of the day.

In order to protect your vehicles from being stolen, it is vital to maintain control of your keys. Consider using an electronic key control system equipped with tamper-proof cabinets or drawers that can only be accessed by authorized users via password and/or fingerprint. By automating the key control process rather than storing keys in a lock box, you are able to maintain accountability over your inventory.

For additional security, alerts can be sent immediately to a cell phone or email address if an unauthorized user attempts to access the keys. There are also reporting capabilities that allow users to see when keys were checked out and who checked them out.

For more information, read how the Russell & Smith Automotive Group has benefited from implementing an electronic key control system.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Cost of Losing Your Keys

Surprised businessman.
On a normal business day at your dealership, keys pass through hundreds of hands. They're passed back and forth between salespeople, sales managers, porters, servicemen and F&I employees, which can quickly cause disorganization.

Disorganization due to unidentified or lost keys results in impatient customers waiting for a test drive. Many dealerships are still using peg boards or like systems to account for vehicle keys.  With manual systems like this, there are no accurate ways to determine how long someone has checked out a key or even who checked it out. Sometimes employees check out keys and forget to return them, and other times keys go missing without documentation of the last person to check them out.

Mismanaging dozens or hundreds of vehicle keys can lead to unnecessary expenses. Smart keys — key fobs that lock, unlock and start vehicles based on proximity alone — are increasing in popularity and are generally more expensive than traditional keys, costing about $400 to $800 to replace. These costs quickly escalate when incurred in a large dealership. For example, if your dealership loses 10 keys a month, replacement keys can cost you up to $96,000 a year.

Eliminate these avoidable expenses with an electronic key management system. These systems provide full inventory control with extensive reporting capabilities that allow you to better organize and manage your keys. The systems automatically record the employee’s name, along with the date and time the key was requested. If a key goes missing, you can quickly identify who checked out the key and resolve the issue promptly.

Losing a key is not only costly; it disrupts the workplace and can ultimately lead to a lost vehicle sale. Contact us for more information.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Key Control Lessons We Can Learn From Higher Education Institutions

University campusSecurity breaches due to improperly secured keys have been a recent trend among universities and colleges. Here are a few incidents that could have been prevented with electronic key control, as well as the lessons we can learn from them.

Know When Keys Go Missing


The University of Southern Maine is increasing its security measures after a security breach that could have placed millions of dollars of personal property as well as confidential records at risk. According to university officials, someone broke into a parked university van and stole a set of keys that gave the burglar access to between 40 and 50 campus buildings.

Set up email and text alerts to notify you when a key has been checked out longer than the allotted time. In addition to limiting the time an employee can have a key checked out, email and text alerts can notify you of missing or overdue keys. The alert will specify which key is missing and which employee last checked it out. Electronic key control will not only keep your keys safe, but it will keep authorized users accountable for returning keys, which reduces the chance of lost keys.

Enforce Employee Accountability


When a University of Central Arkansas (UCA) professor let a student borrow the grand master key to the campus, the student took advantage of it and used the key to steal various office keys that led him to pharmaceuticals and exam answers. After further investigation, it was found that the key belonged to UCA’s chief of staff. The replacement cost of the grand master key alone is a whopping $100,000, not to mention the added cost of the lower-level keys ($45) and a general building master key ($5,000).

It’s vital to hold your employees accountable for the amount of time they possess a key. Without certain key control procedures, it’s difficult to track key activity, including who had keys last. To avoid high replacement costs, strengthen security with an automated key control system by setting up access levels for your employees. This way, administrators are able to set specific permissions for their employees. By limiting your employee’s access to certain keys, you greatly reduce the chance of key theft and enforce employee accountability.

Prevent Repeated Security Breaches


Eastern Michigan University (EMU) is re-keying every room in one of its residence halls after the master key was stolen. This is not the first time EMU has had an issue with key security. A similar issue arose after a set of master keys to the entire campus was taken from a cart left unattended by a subcontractor working for the university. The university re-keyed interior and exterior locks in dorms and exterior locks to other buildings. Faculty members filed a grievance, reporting that the university was slow to respond.

In order to prevent repeated breaches, it’s important to have an electronic key control system in place. To access a key, a user must log in with a password and/or fingerprint. The name of the user who checked out the key is electronically stored along with the date and time the key was taken. You can also set up email or text alerts to notify you if a key is overdue. This way, you can address a security breach promptly.

Want to learn more about electronic key control for universities? Check out our blog “The Art of Asset Management for Higher Education.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Former NBA Player’s Used Vehicle Stolen off Dealership Lot

Having cars stolen off the lot is one of the worst things that can happen to a dealership, but New Deal Used Car lot in Spokane Valley experienced something even worse — two cars, a safe full of keys and the titles to all the cars were stolen, leaving the employees unable to make any sales.

Car robber at night
When employee Scott Fitzgerald arrived at work one morning, he noticed the dealership had been
ransacked by thieves. One of the two vehicles stolen happened to be a Cadillac SUV previously owned by former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal. As if that wasn’t enough, the safe stolen by the thieves contained keys and titles to all 109 vehicles on the lot.

Without titles to the vehicles, the dealership was unable to make any car sales, and employees couldn’t bring in any revenue until the titles were replaced, which was expected to take at least three weeks.

An electronic key control system can reduce the likelihood of nightmares like this one and give managers peace of mind. With these systems, keys are stored in tamper-proof steel cabinets or drawers that can only be accessed with a password, fingerprint scan or key fob. When a key isn’t returned to a drawer within a specified amount of time, management is alerted via text, email or audible alarm.

How do you keep your keys accounted for? Let us know in the comments.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Eight Cars Stolen From Tampa Dealership

A used car dealership in Tampa is now eight cars short after a group of burglars drove them off the lot before the dealership opened one morning.

Car thief in mask and glasses
Ten burglars ignored signs at the dealership warning them of multiple rolling surveillance cameras and broke through the front windows of the Prespa Auto Sales lot. The men were seen on tape searching through drawers and finding the keys to eight cars. They then used a stolen minivan to break through the dealership’s gates, allowing them to drive away with all eight vehicles.

Securing vehicle keys with an electronic key control system could have prevented the keys from being easily accessed by thieves. The system allows you to store keys in a steel cabinet or drawer that permits only authorized users to retrieve the keys using a password, biometric fingerprint scan and/or key fob. By automating the key tracking process, you can set up alerts that will notify you via email or text message when keys are taken by unauthorized users or aren’t returned in a timely manner.

For more information about how to keep your keys accounted for, read our post "Five Benefits of Implementing Electronic Key Control."

Monday, April 11, 2016

Thief Steals Vehicle and 60 Keys From Florida Dealership

Not only did a thief get away with driving a $60,000 BMW off a Florida dealership lot, but he also managed to get away with the keys to 60 other cars.

Keys displayed on pegboard
When Nicholas Jackson tried to purchase the BMW with a credit card and his Electronic Benefit Transfer card, dealership managers declined his business. The next day, the BMW and 60 keys were missing from the dealership.

Fortunately for the dealership, Jackson ran out of gas at an intersection, enabling the police to locate both Jackson and the stolen property. However, an electronic key control system could have helped prevent the keys from ending up in Jackson’s hands in the first place.

An electronic key control system secures keys in tamper-proof drawers or cabinets that can only be accessed by entering a password, scanning a fingerprint or swiping a key fob. The system also enables you to set up alerts that will notify you — via text message, email or audible alarm — when keys aren’t returned within a certain amount of time.

To learn more about how electronic key control can help dealerships protect their inventory, check out this post.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Keys Swiped From Local Correctional Facility

A thief with access to a local jail's keys is probably one of the worst scenarios imaginable. The Humboldt County Correctional Facility (HCCF) experienced that nightmare on March 16.

Jail cell with keysDuring a routine probation search of a residence, Humboldt County Deputy Sheriffs found keys that appeared to belong to the HCCF. Three suspects were questioned at the residence, and the Sheriffs' department confirmed the keys were stolen from the HCCF.

Although there were no reports of the keys being used to gain illegal access to the HCCF, the fact that someone was able to swipe them from the correctional facility is one of the many reasons why securing inventory is so important.

An electronic key control system reduces the likelihood of key theft by controlling access to keys. These systems secure keys in tamper-proof cabinets or drawers that can only be accessed when approved users input a computer password and/or scan a fingerprint. If a key isn’t returned to a drawer within a certain amount of time, the system alerts management via text message, email or an audible alarm.

To learn more about electronic key control, check out this post.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Thief Steals BMW off Car Lot After Keys Left in Door

Gloved hand reaching for vehicle key in door
It didn’t take much for a car thief to drive away with a $10,000 car at Galaxy Auto Sales. Taking advantage of the keys left in the car’s door, the thief was able to drive the stolen 2003 BMW X5 off the dealer’s lot. By the time the police arrived at the dealership, the BMW was long gone.

An electronic key control system could have kept the keys accounted for and prevented them from ending up in the wrong hands. By automating the key tracking process, you can set up alerts that will notify you — via email or text message — if keys have been taken by an unauthorized user or haven’t been returned over a specific length of time. The keys are stored in a steel cabinet or drawer and can only be retrieved via password, biometric fingerprint scanner and/or key fob.

By knowing where your company’s keys are at all times, you can maintain accountability of your inventory and reduce liabilities.

For more information on how to keep your keys secure, read our post "Tighten Your Dealership’s Key Control to Help Secure Your Vehicles."


Monday, March 21, 2016

Five Benefits of Implementing Electronic Key Control

Businesses today are realizing the importance of automating the key control process over using a manual key tracking method. An electronic key control system provides benefits that peg boards and lock boxes do not, including increased security and efficiency. If you still have reservations about converting your key control process, here are five more benefits that may change your mind.

Reduced Liability


Electronic key control systemLiability is greatly reduced with real-time reporting of key activity. Every time a user accesses a key, it is logged and recorded in the system, providing you greater security and peace of mind. This feature is invaluable during investigations of theft, or even for simply tracking employees' key transactions.

Comprehensive Reports


Extensive reporting capabilities allow you to easily track all activities related to the key machine. You can request predefined reports (e.g. transaction report, checkout report, overdue key report, access level report) or generate custom reports.

User Customization


Access levels minimize your exposure to risk by never granting more access than is required for each user. Access levels are customizable to each user, so managers can determine which keys employees are authorized to use.


Accountability


Unfortunately internal thefts exist due to lack of proper key control. With an electronic key control machine, accountability is enforced from the moment you check out a key. There are also alerts to let you know when a key has been checked out for too long, or if an unauthorized user attempts to access a key.

Remote Access


Remote access allows you and other authorized users to access the software from any PC, which allows you greater flexibility when monitoring the system. You are able to add information to key tags, run and view system reports and add users.

For more information on electronic key control, check out some of our resources.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Dealership Incurs $100,000 in Losses After Vehicle Thefts

Vehicle theftCar dealership owner Trevor McManus woke up to his worst nightmare one morning. Thieves had stolen 11 vehicles from his dealership, along with keys to more than 50 other vehicles, costing him over $100,000 overall.

To make matters worse, McManus said even though insurance will cover most of the loss, he cannot sell the vehicles whose keys were stolen.

Limit liability and keep your keys safe by implementing an electronic key control system at your dealership. With an automated key tracking system, keys are stored in a tamper-proof cabinet or drawer that only permits authorized users to remove them via a password, biometric fingerprint scanner and/or key fob. If an unauthorized user attempts to access keys, an alert can be immediately sent to your cell phone or email address.

By implementing these security precautions, you can reduce liabilities and keep your business safe.

Should you update your key control methods? Check out this post.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

How Long Do Your Test Drives Take?

Dealerships today are experiencing a notable change in consumers. After spending 1-3 months researching and online shopping, consumers already know what vehicle they want when they arrive at your dealership. Due to their advanced preparation, the top frustration of this new generation is spending too much time on the car buying process.
Car lot.
According to Auto Remarketing, 85 percent of dealers think it would be ideal to bring the car buying process down to two hours or less. Overall, dealers have not shown a change in speed of the sales process, with the average sale lasting three to five hours.

Work toward streamlining the sales process with an application that allows you to monitor vehicle inventory and track vehicle activity. Sales representatives can search for vehicles based upon specific criteria (e.g. make, year, model, color) to quickly locate them on the lot via GPS for test drives.

In addition to quickly locating the vehicles, your salespeople would be able to see fuel levels, battery voltage, mileage and more. This keeps your dealership running at peak efficiency with no snags when it comes to test drives.

To learn more about our vehicle tracking system, visit our website.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Apartment Keys Stolen By Resident

Thief entering apartment.The purpose of securing things behind lock and key is to ensure that only authorized users can access them. But what happens when those keys are stolen?

Over the course of a year, an apartment complex resident managed to obtain and duplicate 150 keys and then return the originals where he found them. Using the duplicates, the man entered tenants’ apartments when he knew they weren't there to steal and then sell their valuable items. Though the thief was eventually caught, the apartment complex is now liable to replace 150 locks, which can be extremely costly.

Keep your keys secure with an electronic key control system that protects your complex’s keys in a steel cabinet or drawer. By automating the key tracking process, you can enforce authorization methods such as scanning a fingerprint and/or entering a password. When a key is checked out, a transaction is logged and recorded in reports so you can track exactly who checks out keys and when.

By securing all keys in an electronic key control system, you can prevent them from getting into the wrong hands, and also increase your tenants’ safety and peace of mind.

For more information read “The Everyday Advantages of Apartment Key Control.”

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Why Reports Are Important to Key Security

KeyTrak reports
Managers can’t always stay in their offices to monitor key transactions. Electronic key control systems offer features that allow administrators to set up remote web access to view specialized system reports and perform administrative functions. To aid the report process, administrators can also be set up to receive email and text alerts while they are away from their systems.

With web access, system administrators can view detailed reporting. Some of these include work order status and key transaction history. The email and text alert option notifies administrators of system misuse, when an unauthorized key is taken, if a key is returned by a user other than the one who checked it out, or if keys are not returned within their assigned time frame.

With remote access to automated reports, you can regularly keep up with your key activity. It is important to take advantage of the reports that are generated from the key control systems because they provide a 100 percent automatic verifiable audit trail. Knowing what your employees are doing will give you the opportunity to prevent a security breach as well as provide peace of mind.

Once you have a key control system, it is crucial to take the steps to audit these reports to make sure your employees are accountable. If you would like to read more about what types of reports to look into, read “The Top Four Key Control Reports You Should Be Running.”

Friday, January 15, 2016

Thieves Smash Lockboxes While Stealing Four Cars From Dealership

Thief smashes car window
When Marvin Motors' existing key control practice didn't stop the theft of four cars from its lot, it sent the Kissimmee, FL, dealership scrambling for a new way to keep their keys out of thieves' hands.

The dealership had its window-mounted lockboxes targeted twice in the span of a few months. The first time it happened, the thief was caught in the act and local authorities recommended that the dealership stop using the lockboxes. However the lockboxes remained, and the second time they were targeted, thieves made off with two BMWs, a Lexus and a Cadillac after breaking the lockboxes free of their mounts and smashing them to gain access to the keys.

With the thefts, Marvin Motors joined a growing list of dealerships that have learned that their existing key control practices weren't enough to stop aggressive thieves. Keys should be stored away from the cars, preferably in an electronic key control system that secures the keys in tamper-proof cabinets or drawers.

An electronic key control system should only be accessed by approved users by inputting a computer password and/or scanning a fingerprint. If a key isn't returned to a drawer in a timely manner, an electronic key control system should be able to alert management via text message, email notification or an audible alarm so that you can react quickly to a potential theft. Remote access capability is an added layer of security, as it allows you to see your system's activity even when you're not at the dealership.

When it comes to keeping your assets secure, are you doing enough to keep control of your keys?