Like any business, auto dealerships need to deal with emergencies such as extreme weather, fire, theft, vandalism, power outage, and accidents. Every dealership should have a written emergency response plan. Part of this plan must include how to manage the vehicles and vehicle keys in a crisis. An electronic key management system makes this easier.
A common problem for dealerships is extreme weather.
- When damaging hail or hurricane-force winds are predicted, quick access to keys could mean saving some of the vehicles.
- Deep snow means the entire lot needs to be cleared. An electronic key management system such as the KeyBank Auto also makes this easy. A user with high enough privileges can pull out every key in the system. Just open the cabinet and take out all the needed keys. After clearing the lot, any authorized personnel can return keys into any available slot.
Easy for Authorized Users to Access
For day-to-day use, the vehicle keys should be easy to access. However, they should also be difficult for anyone to access except authorized users.
The KeyBank Auto cabinet is constructed from 13-gauge and 18-gauge steel. A plate covers the pick-proof lock to discourage tampering. Users must identify themselves to the system, using a PIN, a magnetic card, or a fingerprint reader. They can get into the system in less than one minute.
In a crisis, if vehicle keys are needed, authorized users can get access to the keys quickly. Unauthorized persons cannot without taking extreme, time-consuming measures, at risk of getting caught.
The key cabinets should be located in places that are easy for staff to access. The KeyBank Auto installs on the wall inside a dealership building. The KeyBank TOUCH is especially helpful for dealerships that have more than one location, such as New/Used/Lot, and auto groups. These cabinets are networked together. Any key can be placed in any cabinet in the system. Also, the user database is common to all cabinets in the network. Vehicles can be moved from one location to another seamlessly, without any reprogramming. If staff move a vehicle to a safer location during an incident, its key is easily tracked.
When the door is open, the KeyBank Auto lights up the location of the desired key. No more hunting around for the right key. And any key can be returned to any open slot – no time wasted looking for the right location. In a crisis, time is of the essence.
Unlike pegboards and mechanical key management systems, an electronic key management system gives the managers full knowledge of who has checked out which keys. If there are multiple systems, the managers can see the location of the keys (such as New, Used, etc.). At any time, management can run real-time reports from any computer-based device on the network — or from a remote login. This could be a computer or tablet. The KeyBank TOUCH reports tell him or her:
- Where are the keys, real-time (Live Key Report)
- Where all the keys are in the system, sorted and filtered (System Status Report)
- Who has access to what (User Reports)
- What a specific user has been doing (User Audit)
A manager might not be on-site when a crisis is unfolding. The Key Management Reports is available from anywhere on the network, and even via remote login. This report tells the manager what is happening with the vehicle keys. For example:
- Has the lot been cleared of snow yet? If few keys have been checked out, the vehicles haven’t moved!
- An employee calls and says a vehicle is not where it’s supposed to be (missing — stolen?). Who last checked out that key? Was it returned? When?
- A criminal incident is unfolding on-site. The more information a manager can provide to law enforcement, the better.
Reports track who, what, where, and when. When a manager or law enforcement research an incident, such as a possible theft, this data helps reconstruct a timeline. An electronic key management system also serves as a strong deterrent. Would-be thieves might move on to an easier mark.
When the electricity goes out, the KeyBank Auto keeps going! The dealership might have to close; however, the vehicle keys are still available to the staff. They can add and remove keys as needed. The reports cannot run without a computer, and KeyBank TOUCH cannot synchronize across the network if disconnected, but basic key functions work.
Protect Your Keys
Keys are an important asset to protect. Insurance companies take your key management program into consideration when underwriting the dealership. Contact Key Control Systems to get a key management system in place. We offer the KeyBank KeyPro III and the KeyBank TOUCH exclusively to auto dealerships.