How secure is your dealership inventory?
There are many steps you can take to ensure the safety of your inventory, from store security (security cameras, proper lighting for the lot, hired security staff) to preventative steps for vehicles themselves (storing valuable vehicles inside, parking cars with e-brakes on to make it harder to tow them off the lot, wheel locks to protect tires and rims).
These are all good, commonsense policies that every dealer should implement. Most of them cost next to nothing. But are they enough on their own? No.
A truly effective and comprehensive inventory security strategy revolves around two concepts: prevention and response. The first focuses on eliminating certain vulnerabilities in the dealership to stop thieves from ever making it off the lot with your inventory. The second focuses on quick and efficient stolen vehicle recovery to minimize the financial pain from an incident of theft.
Preventing Vehicle Theft
Effective key management lies at the heart of theft prevention more than any other aspect of dealership security.
Think about your current key security situation. Do you store keys on an easily accessible pegboard or rely on manual logbook entries to track who took a key, when, and for what purpose? Do you find it difficult to coordinate key management across multiple floors, buildings, or locations? Does your dealership have a vast number of duplicate or valet keys in circulation?
These are just a handful of examples, but you get the idea: If you aren’t limiting access and effectively tracking each and every key in the dealership, you have a huge security risk on your hands that could hurt your bottom line in many different ways.
How best to deal with that risk? Forced accountability and real-time monitoring via a centralized key management solution. With an electronic key control system, you have the hardware to protect your dealership’s keys in a computerized, steel drawer behind biometric security features — and the software to track individual keys and alert you to any unusual activity 24/7.
Each of the vulnerabilities we’ve touched on goes away when you properly implement an electronic key control system, which goes a long way in preventing vehicle theft.
But as we’ve said, for a truly comprehensive security strategy that provides peace of mind (and protects your bottom line), prevention is only half of the equation.
The other half? Response.
Responding to Vehicle Theft
Just to be clear, when we talk about response, we’re not saying your dealership should be personally going after any thieves — let’s leave the job of law enforcement to the professionals.
What we mean by response is putting measures in place to help ensure stolen inventory is recovered as quickly and efficiently as possible. It’s always in your best interest to recover a stolen vehicle quickly, as this minimizes both the financial impact of missing inventory as well as the chances of irreparable damage to the vehicle in question.
It’s always in your best interest to recover a stolen vehicle quickly.
One effective solution for theft recovery is implementing advanced satellite and cellular GPS technology on the vehicles on your lot, ensuring they can be tracked anytime, anywhere. To enable a more immediate response, such a solution should also provide real-time alerts any time a vehicle moves outside a customizable geofence boundary, meaning no unusual vehicle movements escape detection.
This kind of capability empowers not just your dealership to respond to theft, but the law enforcement you partner with to track down your stolen inventory.
Comprehensive Inventory Security
Proper key security can help prevent inventory theft, but once criminals do strike, you need to be able to respond. Conversely, without effective key control on the front end, your dealership has a gaping hole in its security measures that GPS tracking or real-time notifications can’t totally mitigate. These are two complementary solutions that work hand in hand.
Take the time to review your dealership’s inventory security measures. Are you doing everything you can to protect your vehicles from would-be criminals — and are you ready to respond when the worst does happen?