The primary use for key management is right in its name – most applications use it to control and manage their physical keys. By protecting keys, organizations are helping to control access to areas that utilize physical locks.
However, key management can aid in business operations in a range of additional ways – some that you may never have considered.
Here are three unusual applications where key control can make a substantial contribution to optimizing business operations.
1. Time and attendance
If you have personnel who begin their workday on site by retrieving their keys or keysets and end by returning those keys before leaving the premises, a key management system can serve the same function as a time clock. The removal of the key indicates the start of the person’s workday, and its return marks the end. Management can pull regular reports to list start and end times by employee, division, month or any other metrics desired.
Many businesses are using key management for this purpose right now. For example, management from the custodial and grounds crew staff at the University of California, San Francisco regularly views copies of key management activity reports in order to compare them to time and attendance reports submitted to them by their staff.
An easy integration would also enable a user to set up the key management system so that employees can use their existing time/attendance credentials to log in and retrieve their keys. United Airlines is doing just that at their jet engine rebuild and test facility at San Francisco International Airport.
2. Save money on fleet management
Fleet vehicles are highly valuable and costly assets that are driven off premises and out of reach of the organization on a daily basis. One of the best ways to maintain tighter supervision over this tremendous capital and/or operational cost item is to control the keys.
For example, by integrating key management with your scheduling software, you can ensure that specific vehicles are only taken out when they are officially scheduled for operation. By limiting login authority, you can ensure that it is the scheduled driver who removes and returns the key, and only at the correct times. This can reduce or eliminate unnecessary usage of the vehicle, saving money on fuel while limiting overall wear-and-tear.
By reserving specialty vehicles in this way, a hotel could discover, for example, that they need only three guest shuttles rather than four – an even greater savings.
Key control can even help an organization save on insurance by enforcing driver safety precautions. Bell Ambulance uses road safety fobs in their vehicles to monitor the driving profile of each of their drivers. The fobs store data on things like road speed, deceleration speed and speed on curves, and insurance companies use them to determine pricing. Bell Ambulance stores the fobs in their key cabinets, and the system is programmed to prevent a driver from ending their workday until both ambulance keys and safety fobs are returned.
3. Language barriers
Many organizations employ a diverse range of personnel, and some employees may not be strong speakers of the local language. In order for these individuals to have the proper tools to do their jobs, they may need to be able to retrieve keys or key sets from a key control cabinet.
Key control systems offer a number of different features that can help to address these language gaps. First, a user’s ID can be associated with specific keys, so there is no need for them to have to select from a list on the screen – scanning their ID automatically releases their specific keys or keysets.
Next, for applications where a significant percentage of personnel speak a common non-local language, by implementing a custom second language display on the key control system you can present key options, notes and other information for this population in their native tongue.
Helping non-native speakers perform their jobs without the need to struggle to get basic tasks done lowers stress and makes for a more positive work environment for all personnel.
Key management is a vital component of the security plan for today’s organizations. It’s even more useful and beneficial when you know the many ways it can help your business – even beyond the control of your valuable keys.