Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Stop Wasting Time: Simplify Property Management With Key Control Technology

Collection of clocksAccording to the National Apartment Association, property management executives reported that one of their goals for 2019 was to use technology to increase efficiency, allowing employees to spend more time with customers. The year is winding down, but if your properties are still struggling with being bogged down with administrative tasks, it’s not too late to kick off the new decade with a fresh start.

Here are our top tips for using key control technology to put more time back in your on-site personnel’s days.

Manage Keys Electronically

The most obvious application of an electronic key control system is to manage keys. If you’re using an outdated method of managing keys, such as pegboards and manual logbooks, implementing electronic key control systems will save employees as much as two or three minutes to retrieve a key and document the transaction. It might not seem like much, but that time adds up from day to day. That’s not to mention the time they’ll save looking for lost or poorly labeled keys as well.

Collect Prospect Data by Scanning Driver’s Licenses

How much time do leasing agents spend entering prospect data when someone wants to tour a property? Cut down on that time by enabling employees to scan the prospect’s driver’s license to automatically capture a record with their contact information. Agents can then add notes about the floorplans prospects were interested in, which lead sources brought them to your property, and more. When it comes time to follow up, agents can automatically import prospect information into a follow-up message.

Automatically Notify Residents to Pick up Their Packages

Dealing with the sheer volume of packages that land in your leasing offices is a herculean challenge. There are plenty of solutions hitting the market, such as lockers and off-site storage facilities. However, if you’re looking for a time-saving solution that doesn’t involve sacrificing valuable office space, or if you don’t want to force residents to add one more stop in their already busy lives to pick up their packages, there are other options for handling deliveries more efficiently.

For example, a package logging application that uses a handheld barcode scanner and digital signature capture pad allows on-site personnel to scan packages when they’re received and automatically notify recipients by text or email when their packages are ready to be picked up.

Consolidate Applications

Using a single system to combine tasks such as updating employee time clocks, checking out keys, and managing work orders reduces the total number of applications employees have to interact with on a daily basis. This helps with the onboarding process as well. For example, a new employee needing to learn how to check out keys, clock in, and check on a work order would only have to learn their way around one software program rather than three separate ones to complete those tasks.

In addition, you’ll save time by being able to get a high-level view of each property by running reports on key activity, employee work schedules, and work order statuses.

Don’t waste any more time — learn what to look for in an electronic key control system.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Client Spotlight: Hendrick Automotive Group

Robert Taylor, vice president of IT, Hendrick Automotive
Robert Taylor, vice president of IT, Hendrick Automotive Group
When thieves broke into one of Hendrick Automotive Group’s dealerships, they stuffed 200 keys into a pillowcase, then ventured out to the lot and drove off with six or seven cars.

The theft shook up the dealership’s operations. As Robert Taylor, Hendrick’s vice president of IT, explained, “The worst part about it really wasn’t that they took six or seven cars. It was that they took 200 keys.”

As a result, 200 vehicles had to go on stop sale because the OEM didn’t have enough key fobs to replace the stolen ones — nor did it have enough vehicles to replace the unsellable inventory.

To prevent similar scenarios from occurring, Hendrick’s executive team wanted a key control solution that its dealerships could use in sales and service to protect each dealership’s inventory as well as customer vehicles being serviced.

The problem was, the group’s dealerships stored keys in a variety of places, including in boxes, vehicle-mounted lockboxes, offices, and other locations throughout the dealership. That made it difficult to audit key control practices across multiple dealerships.

“We’d have to call a hundred dealerships and pull a hundred different reports,” said Taylor.

The Hendrick team didn’t have to look far for a solution. “We had multiple versions of KeyTrak,” said CEO Ed Brown. “Here we had a great solution that wasn’t being implemented consistently across the company.”

To learn more about how Hendrick Automotive Group worked with KeyTrak to create an enterprise solution to solve its key management and reporting challenges, read the full case study.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

How Secure Are Your Patrol Cars With Shared Keys?

Patrol cars
Without asking your department fleet manager (or checking your records, if you are the fleet manager), do you know how many vehicles in your patrol fleet share the same key? Can officers access and drive multiple vehicles with a single key?

Maybe your cars came with matching keys from the manufacturer or the upfitter. Maybe your department likes having shared keys because it makes it easier for officers to take a car and go when they need one. But is that convenience worth the security risk represented by shared keys?

Maintaining a patrol fleet with keys that match multiple vehicles (or even all of your vehicles) can turn into a far bigger nightmare than your officers being delayed by a few seconds to check out a key. Let’s take a look at some risks you should be aware of when it comes to shared keys.

Ease of Access

The ease of switching from car to car might be one of the biggest benefits of sharing patrol car keys across models. If officers are going out on patrol or need to change cars quickly — especially if they just dealt with a detainee’s mess at 3 a.m. — shared keys make it easy to get going quickly without dealing with a key management officer or a key/vehicle check-out procedure.

However, that ease of access for your officers is also ease of access for anybody who finds a key. If one of those keys lands in the wrong hands, the holder would have access to any number of your cars or even patrol cars in other jurisdictions. The vehicles could be taken and misused, or items inside the cars such as radios, weapons, or computers could also be stolen.

If multiple officers have matching keys with minimal oversight, your department also lacks accountability to manage how the officers are using those keys or if they’re ever returned when they’re no longer needed. Consider the question we started with: Do you know how many shared keys are floating around your department? Do you know where they are?

Rekeying Cars and Replacing Keys

Recall that even one missing key that gives access to multiple vehicles could be a major security risk for your fleet and other department assets. Once you’re aware that a key is missing, what’s going to be your response? Will you simply hope that the key turns up or that it will never be misused by whoever finds it?

You’re more likely to spend a lot of time and money on rekeying portions of your fleet to protect it from theft and misuse. One police department spent $140,000 on rekeying its entire fleet because it thought two sets of keys were unaccounted for — even though the keys were ultimately found. Also consider that you’ll have to replace the keys themselves, and modern key fobs carry a hefty price tag.

So what can be done to protect your department’s fleet?

Use Unique Keys and Fobs for Individual Vehicles

Sure, rekeying your entire fleet to unique keys for each vehicle is going to be a big expense, but it’s the best method for avoiding escalating costs as shared keys go missing over time. For some departments, replacing a single vehicle could represent a large portion of the total budget, and leaving vehicles at risk with shared keys shouldn’t even be an option.

In addition, would you rather scramble to get your fleet rekeyed after a missing key incident, or be able to plan it and work it into your budget over time? Protect your fleet with unique and properly managed keys.

Take Advantage of Key Management Systems

So you've rekeyed your fleet and now you have several unique patrol vehicle keys that need to be managed. It might seem like a headache on the surface, particularly for your key management officer. Somebody has to make sure keys are where they’re supposed to be and that logs are being properly maintained. However, key management doesn’t have to be a nightmare — even for a large fleet.

Consider using an electronic key control system that secures keys in a central location and gives officers a quick and easy way to check out keys without a management officer present. Such a system should track exactly who took keys and when, give administrative staff a verifiable audit trail, and hold officers accountable.

Your patrol vehicles play a critical role in your department operations. Whether you share keys across vehicles or not, it’s important for you to take steps to protect against the loss, theft, or misuse of keys. What have you done to make sure misplaced fleet keys don’t crash your department budget?

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Customer Tip: Don’t Forget About Spare Keys

Keys on ringAre there any keys around your facility that you’re not accounting for? You can have all your primary keys securely stored inside your KeyTrak system, but if you have copies of keys floating around your business, you haven’t fully mitigated your key control risk.

Some examples of keys you might not have in your KeyTrak system include:

  • Building keys used for temporary access or in case the primary key is lost
  • Duplicate keys for dealership inventory 
  • Valet keys for fleet vehicles
  • Extra desk drawer or filing cabinet keys

To protect all your keys, follow the steps below:

  • Run a report of all the keys your key control system currently manages.
  • Make a list of which keys have spares and how many. If you’re not sure if spares exist, add those keys to the list anyway and look into whether copies exist.
  • Determine the location of all duplicate keys and add them to your KeyTrak system. Attach each spare key to a separate tag from the primary key.

If your system doesn’t have enough space to accommodate the additional keys, contact our corporate sales team to add additional drawers or key panels.