There are reasons why companies employ locksmiths on a full-time basis. The primary advantage is timely response to emergency lock repairs and installations. Equally important is the opportunity to develop key management standards. Locksmiths who are dedicated to a single customer can do a better...
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2. As a locksmith accepts this role, support from direct management dwindles or does not affect specific individuals, weakening the necessary oversight that is necessary to maintain integrity.
When locksmiths become the key police, persons are too intimidated to ask questions that need answering relating to keys. Persons learn to avoid the locksmith rather than work together.
Effective policies and procedures allow the locksmith to apply the rules rather than create them.
The computer and key management
A computer can be beneficial for the locksmith keeping track of keys. The simplest application to use for key management is a spreadsheet. Learning to manage a spreadsheet does not require a great deal of time or “computerize.”
A spreadsheet allows records to be entered into a table where each row is the record and columns detail information about the record. Information can be sorted and searched on. Tables can be cut and pasted into documents or E-mails. presenting a means to report requested information.
Another more advanced application is a relational database. A database also stores the information into tables but allows information to be inputted through forms. Forms allow the input information to be analyzed before it is posted to tables. The best feature about databases is that complete and detailed reports can be generated that are easy to read and interpreted.
Sometimes the company assigns programmers to help design databases for the key shop. There are specialized programs available just for key management. Besides key management, other tables can keep track of key blank inventories and can identify where key blanks are stored or hung.
Whether it is by spreadsheet or database, it is clear that today’s in-house locksmith has to be computer savvy because a significant part of the job is working with computers.
As part of the management program, keys must be intelligently marked. Too many keys are marked with arbitrary numbers and characters that confuse the process. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen (at different companies) keys marked “MK”, “ELEC”, “GM”, etc. This might not be so bad if you have one single all-encompassing master key system, but usually a company has many different key systems.
Markings change from time to time. I’ve seen the TMK (Top Master Key) of one system marked “RTS.” Then when a new system was put into place the TMK was marked “NEW RTS.” Ten years after that, the next TMK that replaced that was marked “RTS2.”
Control keys are also an issue. I’ve seen “CT”, “CTL”, “CONT”, and “CTL”, all used on different systems within one company.
Another problem deals with ambition. One manager sees his counterpart with a key marked “MK DEPT 33,” and he knows his keys is marked “CK 33-2.” He knows what that means and he has to have a master also.
Markings become a problem when keys are lost. A ring of keys that a janitor might drop might insinuate through markings that the keys are “a ring of master keys.” This ring is less likely to be turned in.
The answer is to always mark your keys with a “blind code.” “Blind codes” let you (the keeper of the keys) look up the code to determine what type of key, who the recipient was, and what it opens. If the same two managers have respective keys (not marked “MK DEPT 33” or “CK 33-2”) marked 34210 and 62100, then the desire to have an equally powerful key disappears. If the janitor’s set of master keys is found and the keys have all generic numbers marked on them, the keys are more likely to be turned in.
Additionally, marking keys in this fashion empowers the locksmith, as this is the only person who can determine what a key does.
Whenever policies and procedures are made regarding keys, it is best to include the locksmith. Too many times keys are controlled at levels that cannot be supported because of the availability of unauthorized duplications.
Effective policies and procedures are the basis for proper key management.
As locksmith we need to be aware of the restricted key blanks available from lock manufacturers. These restricted keys can provide an opportunity to give your customer’s an additional level of security and key control.
It is rare when a singular event leads to the replacement of a master key system. Usually, there are many symptoms that can be detected before a master key system is fully defective.
Lock manufacturers are depended upon to control the issuance of key stock.
The more commercial experience that a locksmith can glean, the better chances of qualifying for a government or institutional locksmith position. Usually an employer is not interested in residential...
Transit authority locksmiths primarily establish and maintain master key systems while issuing keys and keeping related records.