With the progression of technology, businesses have begun automating processes for various reasons, including improving efficiency to increase profits. Automated key control provides certain benefits that you just don't get using pegboards or lockboxes. However, there are still some companies that haven't jumped on the automation wave. If you happen to be one of the holdouts, here are four benefits to electronic key control that just may change your mind.
Electronic key management eliminates the guesswork of who checked out a key, when they checked it out and if they returned it. With an electronic system, employees must enter a valid password, swipe a proximity card and/or scan their fingerprint to gain access to keys. The likelihood of human error is significantly reduced, as an audit trail is created when a key is removed, noting who removed the key, the date and time the key was taken and when or if the key was returned.
It's a common misconception that electronic key control systems are complicated and take too long to operate. This assumption could not be more wrong. On average, an electronic system is about twice as fast (or faster) than a manual process. It would take anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes to locate and remove a key from a pegboard or lockbox and manually update a log sheet. Conversely, it would only take 15 to 60 seconds to perform the same transaction with an electronic system.
Added security is by far the biggest benefit of electronic key management. When using a manual key control method, there's no way to automatically verify if an employee has the authorization to check out certain keys. An electronic system, on the other hand, can assign different access levels. With this added level of security, users can only obtain keys for which they have authorization. In addition to preventing employees from accessing keys outside of their access level, electronic key management systems can also notify you of missing or overdue keys by sending a text message or email.
In addition to providing accountability, increasing security and saving time, an electronic key management system can also reduce liability. Employing a secure system decreases the likelihood of theft or more horrific crimes for which your business could held liable. Consider this:
- An apartment complex was found liable in the death of a former tenant after the handyman used a master key to enter the tenant's apartment and murder her, resulting in a $10.8 million verdict.
- The Phoenix Fire Department lost 850 master keys that access about 9,000 business throughout the city, resulting in $50,000 in rekeying costs.
In both cases, an electronic key control system would have not only tracked who checked out keys but also made sure that users were authorized for certain keys.