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How Key Cabinets Can Make Your Business More Efficient
Picture yourself in the following scenario. You are the GM of a fairly large hotel with many rooms. You have many keys but no organizational system or key cabinet to store them in. Your hotel is doing pretty well as far as business goes and your rooms are usually full all year round. Even though business is doing well there are still some things that it wouldn't make sense for you financially to improve upon. While some hotels have moved past using traditional keys for all of their rooms opting for a keyless entry system, it is just not economical for you to do a complete overhaul for each and every room of your hotel. Lately though you have been getting stressed and feeling very unorganized with all of the different keys flying around everywhere and need something to make things a bit more manageable. Is there something out there that could cut down on your stress levels, help you stay organized and provide you a higher level security all at the same time?
A Key Cabinet Could be the Solution to all of Your Problems
All of these problems and then some can be easily addressed with a high quality key cabinet or keybox. It seems like an extremely simple solution and in all honesty it actually is. If you know absolutely nothing about key storage cabinets then you will probably have a few things to learn before going out and purchasing one but luckily things are very easy to understand. Some people can often be shocked or even alarmed about how much there is to learn about key cabinets before making an informed purchase but knowledge is power and having the right information can help to insure that you make the right decision from the very beginning.
The main benefit of utilizing a key cabinet in your business would be organization. With so many different employees working in one business, each one probably having a different level of concern for organization and security, without an organized system in place things could get messy very quickly. Key cabinets force your employees into following the rules of a system that you have set up so that things will always be easily located in just the way that you like. Gone will be the days of wondering where a certain key has been placed because it should only be in one of two places, in the correct ring in the key cabinet or in the lock that it was designated for. This also keeps employees such as janitors from having to fumble around with key rings that can sometimes have over 100 keys. They can easily go to the key cabinet at the beginning of their shift and take only the keys that they will need for that day’s work. Another benefit that you will immediately notice as an advantage to your business is the heightened security that keyboxes and key cabinets will offer. Only those people that you allow access to your key cabinet will be able to open the lock meaning that if anything goes missing or there is damage to any locked area of your premises, you will have a much shorter list of exactly who the culprits might be. Some of the more advanced electronic key cabinets that feature electronic locks will even feature a digital log to give you more information of when the box was opened and by whom. Each employee can be given a different, individually programmed code and the key cabinet will keep track of which code was used to open the box and at what time allowing you to better track the activity around your premises.
What Type of Key Cabinet is Right for My Business?
Before going any further into all of the safety features and other things that need to be addressed to suit your needs, you will need to decide which type of key cabinet will work best in your place of business. There are really only two main types and they both cater to a very specific need so picking one should not be too difficult for you at all. It is a very important decision though so make sure to note the differences between the two carefully so you end up with the right one.
One Tag System Key Cabinets
The one tag system key cabinets can be very useful as they can offer you a lot of information just from a quick look at them. Basically, with a one tag system key cabinet, the hooks that the keys will hang on will not be numbered or coded in any specific way. Instead, the keys themselves will have the tags to identify their specific purpose attached directly to them. Also with the one tag system key cabinets you will never find any duplicate keys inside, especially not on the same hook as the original. You might be wondering why you would not want any duplicate keys, which is a very valid question. The lack of duplicate keys is exactly what offers you extra information from a quick look like we mentioned before. Say a customer calls and wants to book their favorite room at your hotel, room 174, for later that night and are inquiring if the room is available or not. A quick look over at your keybox will give you that information easily. If the key is there on its designated hook then that means that the room is empty. If the designated hook for that room is without its key then you can safely assume that the room is already in use and is not available for later on that night. This can work out to be much quicker than trying to fumble through records of the rooms and trying to read the handwriting of other employees while trying to give a quick informative answer over the phone.
Two Tag System Key Cabinets
A two tag system key cabinet can also be very useful for you depending on what type of business you are running. In a two tag system the hooks will be numbered and often color coded directly instead of the organizational system being placed directly on the keys themselves. This allows for multiple keys to be hung on the same hook for times when more than one person may need to carry the same key to a specific area at the same time. It is usually scenarios like that one which lead to the most confusion as far as keys go if a key cabinet has not been implemented yet. By having a designated hook for each key with duplicates also on the same hook, your employees can access them easily and simultaneously without any confusion. It also saves time on the amount of communication needed between employees trying to track down who has a specific key because they can always just go to the key cabinet and get their own copy. The drawback to the two tag system is that since there will be duplicates on the hooks, it is not so easy to see which keys are currently in use by simply looking at the contents of the keybox. For businesses that need to have multiple employees carrying the same keys however, the advantages of a two tag system far outweigh the disadvantages.
Is There a Way to Have the Benefits of Both Systems in One Key Cabinet?
Say that the employees of your hotel need to be able to see immediately which keys have been taken out by guests for purposes of checking room availability. At the same time you also need to be able to allow your employees to all carry copies of the keys for things like daily cleaning of the rooms as well as other tasks. Is there a key cabinet that can help to do both of those things?
In a word, no there isn’t. Both systems are designed to cater to a specific purpose and there isn’t yet a system that lets you do both at once. There is a solution though if you find that having both of those abilities is absolutely imperative to your business. Having two different key cabinets, with one of each system could make things much simpler for you. Behind the reception desk in the lobby of your hotel would be a great place to install the key cabinet with the one tag system. This would allow the person who works the reception desk checking people in and out to have easy access to the keys that are meant for hotel guests only. It would also give the receptionist the ability to quickly check the availability of any particular room while on the phone with guests inquiring about specific rooms. Since normally only one key is given out per room, the one tag system would work perfectly here. The key cabinet with the two tag system would be an employee only key cabinet and can be hidden out of the way somewhere that the guests would not have to see it. This would be the place where you would store all of the keys for your employees to use as well as spare keys in case one of your guests happens to lose their room key. By splitting the tasks of the systems between the two key cabinets you allow for quick visual information about the rooms as well as allowing your employees to have quick and organized access to the same keys simultaneously.
The Difference Between Key Cabinets and Keyboxes
These words are often highly interchangeable when talking about key security and key storage solutions. Lots of people tend to think that they are one in the same but there are actually some big differences between the two. Keyboxes are generally much smaller, wall mountable units that don’t often hold more than 100 keys at a time. They are great for small businesses and the cost is relatively low depending on which features you need from your keybox. Key cabinets on the other hand are often much larger and some models are capable of holding over 1,500 keys. Some people are often surprised to see just how big some key cabinets can be and just how much space they can take up in their place of business. You will need to decide which one will be right for you and your needs. If the amount of keys that you will need to store are far below 100 then a normal keybox will probably suit your needs just fine. If the number of keys needed in your business exceeds 100 then you obviously need to look towards a key cabinet. If you are still under the 100 mark but your business is still growing fairly rapidly then it might be a wise decision to just go straight to the key cabinet from the very beginning to avoid having to make a second purchase down the line.
Is a Key Cabinet Really Worth the Investment?
This is a question that only you as a business owner can answer but in our experience of seeing key cabinets being implemented, they have paid for themselves relatively quickly. There are actually a couple of cases where having a key cabinet might turn you a profit. An example would be if you owned a self storage unit business and charged customers to keep a spare key in your designated key cabinet. Those sorts of example are not typical though and generally most business owners will not be turning a profit simply from the implementation of their key cabinet. On the other hand you can save a lot of money every year by using a key cabinet to help you and your employees to become better organized. As was noted before, if your employees don’t have to track down one another to try and figure out who is carrying a particular key, you could easily save a combined total of a couple hours of manpower each and every day that your business is open. This allows your employees to focus on other, more productive tasks and if you add up all of these hours at the end of the year it can be quite surprising how much time could be saved. If you were thinking about hiring a new employee to help to free up the work load, you might find that implementing a key cabinet system could free up the same amount of hours that hiring a new employee would add.
With the security features that come along with key cabinets, they can also be a worthy investment by preventing losses. Having the keys stored in a safe and secure place means that no outsiders can gain access to your locked areas. Without proper security in place, someone could easily snatch up a key without your employees noticing leading to theft or damages.
On the other hand, having key cabinets can also work as a measure of insurance among your own employees. Even without the latest and most high tech security options on your key cabinet, simply having a system in place will deter many employees from doing less than honest things that they might have considered without the key cabinet system there to make them think twice. With options like we talked about before, with each employee being given an individual access code that can be logged, if anything does go awry in your place of business it can be much easier to locate the suspect. If you can easily identify the culprit then you will have a much better chance of recouping your losses through legal action. These are all things that we hope never happen to us as business owners and we don’t want to think about our employees in this light, but taking realistic precautions is a great way to save money and headaches. So in retrospect key cabinets could save you money by:
- Saving countless hours of worked time by employees
- Cut down on theft, losses and damages
- Help to identify the culprit if something is stolen or damaged
- Possibly even help you to turn a profit in the right situation
Making Realistic Use of Your Key Cabinet
Now that you have a good amount of information about key cabinets, hopefully you feel confident in being able to make an informed purchase. If you already have purchased a key cabinet then you need to be able to implement this new system into your business success fully. This will require some initial key making, key tagging and training of your employees to make sure that everything goes smoothly. The system is quite simple and not something that most employees will struggle with in the slightest. Make sure you teach them the importance of having the key cabinet in the work place and how it can make their work day much simpler.
It won’t be long until all of you find that the inclusion of the key cabinet has improved the work place for both owner and employee. You sleep easier knowing that everything is more secure and less man hours are being wasted and the employee has a much easier time locating the key that they need. Everyone wins with a key cabinet.