Protect a Key
KeyBank auto delivers accurate key usage information, convenience and security
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Sep 01, 2014
When Steven Shaker wants to know who last took a car on
his lot out for a demo or wants to see the demo history
of a specific vehicle, all he has to do is go to his computer
and check the Morse Watchmans KeyPro software for the
answer. Shaker is one of the owners at Shaker Family Ford
in Watertown, CT, but according to him, it was not always this easy to get the information
he needed, nor was it always accurate or current.
“We’ve had key closets but that’s exactly what they were—closets—a place to
hang vehicle keys,” Shaker said. “Keeping track of the keys was done manually and
we had to rely on the sales staff to remember to log it into the book when they took
out or returned a key. That made the accuracy of the information very unreliable.”
All of that changed about a year ago when the dealership installed KeyBank
Auto system, complete with KeyPro software. Two high-volume key bank cabinets
securely store vehicle keys and automatically track key usage. Vehicle keys are attached
to Smart Keys, which then fit into the illuminated key slots in the cabinet.
The embedded chip in the Smart Key communicates directly with the system’s
software to relay information from the access activity. This system provides full
accountability for who has or had which key and for which vehicle. And, because
this system is on the dealership’s network, the information can be accessed in real
time by management from their PC or they can be notified by email when a specific
key has been accessed or returned.
Along with live access, the dealership uses regularly scheduled activity reports that are programmed for specific transactions.
Shaker and Scott Voorhees,
Shaker Family Ford’s general manager,
use the reports for daily or weekly analysis
such as gauging the success of marketing
promotions based on demo frequency;
determining model popularity;
and even to review employee sales performance.
Also, when they are tracking
down mystery mileage or vehicle damage,
these reports are indispensable.
“The activity reports have saved us
so much time and effort when we are
looking for particular usage information,
and even more so when we are
looking for a missing key,” Shaker said.
“The information is 100 percent accurate
and it’s fast and easy to get.”
Another feature of the system that
has helped to improve overall efficiency
is the use of the system’s color-coded
Smart Keys that allow them to be organized
“We have new cars using one color,
trucks using another, used cars with
another and so on,” Voorhees said.
“We also have a Lincoln dealership and
those vehicle keys are secured with a
different color. The same colors are all
grouped together, and it’s such a practical
and time-saving approach when you
are accessing or returning a key.”
The key management system has
been well received by the sales staff
because of its many conveniences. For
instance, the staff can reserve a key in
the system for a specified timeframe
in order to demo a vehicle for a customer
appointment. This convenience
guarantees that the vehicle key will be
available when needed and, according
to Voorheees, has ended the problem of
In addition to user convenience, the
system provides the dealership with a
high level of security. When entering
vehicle keys for new cars into the system,
it allows one of five different levels
of access to be assigned to employees.
Names and access levels can be added
or deleted quickly and easily to ensure
optimum security. The key cabinets are
designed to resist abuse and are wired
with a built-in alarm mechanism that,
when triggered, automatically sends an
email to Voorhees or another designated
This article originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of Security Today.
Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.