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.”