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Cut Down on Key Misuse by Regularly Reviewing This Key Control Data

By paying attention to how your keys are being used, you can ensure that poor key control practices don’t get in the way of your efforts to reach more customers, improve your customer experience and grow your dealership.


In the time it takes you to finish reading this sentence, you will have generated around 1 or 2 MB of data. Data is growing at a rapid pace, and by 2020, every person on earth will create an average of 1.7 MB of data per second.

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Data gives dealerships unprecedented capabilities. You can know what your customers like, track how they behave and predict when they’re most likely to buy next.

Knowledge is power — but don’t gather data for the sake of gathering data. It’s important to make sure the information you collect on a regular basis can help you grow or protect your business.

Although we live in a digital world now, your dealership’s success depends on responsible management of your physical assets, especially vehicle keys.

By looking at key-use data, you can help your dealership run more efficiently, reduce liability and create a better customer experience. Here are four types of key control data sets your dealership needs to regularly review and why.

Keys Removed
Benefit: Reduce test-drive scheduling issues.

Who has each key and why? It’s essential to keep an up-to-date log of all keys checked out, as well as the reasons they were checked out.

This information comes in handy when a salesperson wants to schedule a test drive and they need to see which vehicle keys are available. If they see that they’re checked out, knowing the reason (test drive, refuel, etc.) gives them an idea of where the car is and approximately how long the keys will be checked out.


Keys Not Returned
Benefit: Quickly identify lost keys and reduce liability.

If a key went missing, how long would it take for you to know about it? It’s important to keep a record of all keys that have been issued to employees and have not been returned when expected.

For example, one dealership had an issue with vehicles being checked out for detailing in the early afternoon. The job should have taken no longer than a few hours, but the vehicles were often returned late at night — well after the jobs should have been completed. Unfortunately, this issue wasn’t discovered until the dealership was involved in a lawsuit involving an accident caused by an employee driving a vehicle without authorization.

You can avoid risks like these by tracking overdue keys. If you implement an electronic key control system, you can enable real-time text or email alerts as well.

Employee Access Levels
Benefit: Minimize vehicle misuse and hold employees accountable.

One of the basic tenets of IT security is the idea that people should be granted access to the minimum level of applications, assets or data required to do their jobs.


Giving employees the same privileges across the board is a big no-no. When it comes to keys, the same principle applies. For example, managers, salespeople and porters don’t all require the same level of access to keys. A part-time car washer doesn’t need to have access to a car for more than an hour at a time. Salespeople shouldn’t be able to have keys outside of regular business hours, unless they’re allowed to take demos home.

If an employee changes roles within your dealership or resigns, make sure you update their access levels accordingly. Regularly reviewing which resources employees have access to can help ensure people aren’t able to remove keys they no longer need for their jobs.

Key-Use Overview
Benefit: Quickly identify suspicious activity or inefficient key use.

Reviewing a high-level overview of the transactions associated with your keys gives you insight into your vehicle activity. Consider the context key control records provide.

Is one salesperson checking out more keys for test drives than others? If a salesperson checks out keys one or two at a time and returns them promptly, odds are they’re getting several prospects into the store for test drives.


If they’re checking out several sets of keys at once and returning them all several hours later, they may be hoarding keys, preventing other salespeople from using them.

As another example, does a salesperson routinely check vehicle keys out around the same time of day (e.g., lunch hour)? Or does a porter check vehicles out for refueling more often than necessary? You may want to have a conversation with these employees to ensure they aren’t driving vehicles for personal reasons.

By paying attention to how your keys are being used, you can ensure that poor key control practices don’t get in the way of your efforts to reach more customers, improve your customer experience and grow your dealership.

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