By: Susan DeSantis on June 15, 2017
Read time = 2 minutes
Nearly every dealer will tell you how proud they are of the jobs they create in their community. Yet every dealer will also tell you those jobs are continually under threat should they suffer a major financial loss – including theft – that could irreparably damage their business.
One often overlooked source of theft in the dealership is the mishandling of vehicle keys.
It’s not unusual to come across a media story in which thieves broke into a dealership, grabbed a handful of car keys that were hanging on an unsecured peg-board, and then drove off in the cars. In fact, a quick Google search for “keys stolen from dealership” returns nearly 520,000 results.
Sadly, it’s also not unusual to find a media story that implicates a dealership employee in a vehicle theft stemming from unmonitored access to keys at the dealership.
The solution to improving how keys are handled in the dealership is to use an electronic system to effectively and efficiently manage them and other assets.
Here are six things to consider when looking for an electronic key control system for your dealership:
An electronic key control system should log and record every time an employee accesses a key, whether that’s removing one from the system or returning it. Managers should be able to view those transaction logs in real time to stay on top of key activity. These reports can prove invaluable for helping track employees’ key transactions and for providing documentation during investigations of theft.
A key control system should allow you to track all activities related to the key machine. Reports might include a full transaction report, checkout report, overdue key report, or an access level report by user. Managers should also be able to create custom reports to meet their business needs.
A one-size-fits-all approach to key security can expose your dealership to additional risk of misuse and theft. Access levels by user enable managers to grant only the access the employee requires. Controlling access by user can help minimize your dealership’s exposure to risk.
With electronic tracking of key activity, accountability is enforced from the moment an employee checks out a key from the system. In addition to viewing the transaction logs and reports, managers should be able to receive alerts when a key has been checked out too long or if any unauthorized user attempts to access a key.
Allowing authorized users to access the key control system software from any PC allows greater flexibility in how keys are controlled and the system is managed. Remote access should allow authorized users to add information to key tags, run and view system reports, and manage users.
Some electronic key control systems will integrate with the dealership management system (DMS) in order to sync vehicle, prospect, and service data with the key system directly. This integration provides additional tracking and reporting on key and customer activity at the dealership.
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