Streamlining an Empire
How electronic key management can assist companies one at a time
- By Raffaele Ceravolo
- Sep 18, 2023
EmpireCLS, a world leader in chauffeured transportation services for nearly 40 years, pledges to "provide exceptional chauffeured hospitality every day, which reflects their core values of personalized service, safety, security, innovation and dedication," according to their website.
Indeed, EmpireCLS has demonstrated the importance of operational efficiency in managing and monitoring multiple locations and assets remotely in helping to drive the mission home. Adopting a key management system has revolutionized their internal operations and enhanced the customer experience.
In the past, EmpireCLS relied on a pegboard system for issuing their vehicles. This manual process led to inefficiencies in vehicle usage, difficulties in tracking vehicles, and caused frustration for dispatchers and the fleet department. Moreover, the over-use of certain vehicles resulted in faster wear and tear.
Recognizing the need for a more streamlined and equitable approach, EmpireCLS CEO, David Seelinger, became one of the early U.S. adopters of the Traka key management system in 2009. That's no surprise, though. Seelinger is regarded as a pioneer for committing to delivering exceptional customer service and integrating innovations in an otherwise unregulated industry.
"It was decided we needed to streamline the process and eliminate a physical body to hand out keys for all of our vehicles,” said Jamie Major, Empire’s IT director. “We desperately needed the ability to streamline the requests for vehicle assignments, while maintaining accurate records. Consequently, Joey Phelps, our chief operating officer, started looking into different solutions in the market and found Traka. It was a perfect fit, and the installation was easy. We eventually started using the TrakaWEB software in addition to the key cabinets. One of the key features we love about TrakaWEB is the web bookings.
"With the Traka system, dispatchers can remotely assign access to specific vehicles, ensuring a fair distribution of usage and minimizing wear and tear on the fleet. Chauffeurs are issued key fobs that grant them access to a key cabinet where the vehicle keys are stored. This streamlined process allows for the seamless scheduling of chauffeurs to specific vehicles, which is essential in an industry that operates 24/7.
The system also reduces labor costs as dispatchers no longer need to be physically present to issue keys. Additionally, features such as a curfew notification and fault logging enable prompt action and cost reduction by identifying vehicle issues sooner."
Impressed by the efficiency of the Traka system, EmpireCLS extended its use beyond internal operations to enhance the customer experience. Working with their Traka engineers, EmpireCLS integrated their reservation platform with the Traka API. Now, when dispatchers assign a chauffeur to a vehicle through Traka, the information is transmitted in real-time directly into EmpireCLS's system.
The information includes the chauffeur's contact details and the vehicle's make, model, color, and license plate number. Clients receive this information along with safety texts throughout their ride, providing transparency, compliance, and peace of mind.
Currently operating Traka in New York City and Los Angeles, with plans to add Traka to Chicago and Las Vegas this year, EmpireCLS manages a complex operational ecosystem across multiple locations. Traka's key management system has helped them efficiently monitor more than 500 vehicles nationwide and maintain comprehensive records. The success of EmpireCLS's integration of key management technology into its existing system serves as a compelling case study for organizations with multiple locations and assets that require effective management and monitoring.
"What it does for us internally is record-keeping for the vehicles so we can maintain accurate records of the assignment, determine how many trips a vehicle is doing per day, how many miles those trips are, if there are any maintenance requirements – all the efficiencies you can gain from how you're making assignments to the vehicles is made possible." Major said. "The information that lives in the Traka system is great, but we needed to integrate the intelligence of the Traka system with the API to ensure the safety and security of the vehicle were tied together accurately. Traka delivers de-centralized solutions that can be managed remotely from one location to another. I can be in New York and know what car someone was assigned in Chicago."
Implementing a similar approach can significantly improve workflow, increase security, enhance service delivery, and generate cost savings for organizations in various industries. Organizations can achieve operational excellence and exceed customer expectations by leveraging technology to manage fundamental assets and monitor operations effectively.
EmpireCLS's adoption of the Traka key management system and Seelinger's vision have driven their operations and enhanced customer experience. Their journey highlights the importance of proactively embracing efficient systems for managing and monitoring multiple locations and assets.
This article originally appeared in the September / October 2023 issue of Security Today.