The possession of materials that pertain to the customer’s key control can create discord between the customer and the locksmith, especially when those resources are necessary to generate the combination of the keys. Many customers whose business plan requires the management of a large keying...
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The possession of materials that pertain to the customer’s key control can create discord between the customer and the locksmith, especially when those resources are necessary to generate the combination of the keys.
Many customers whose business plan requires the management of a large keying system prefer to bring the expertise in-house, or alternatively delegate the management to entities (like national service providers) that in turn, manage locksmiths.
When surveyed as to why, many large scale customers cite the following issues:
1. There is little standardization when it comes to interpreting the means to generate key combinations. Locksmiths tend to develop then maintain the means to generate keys based on personalized techniques or non-standardized practices.
2. Sometime during the process of integrating records into a single database, locksmiths are asked to produce key control records pertaining to keying projects that they have participated in. Most of the time locksmiths are reluctant, not capable or directly refuse to comply with the request. The customer begins to wonder if that key records and materials privy to the customer’s keying systems are being held “hostage.”
3. When the customer requests information from the locksmith relating to the key combinations, the customer is “hit up” with an unexpected surcharge. This is perceived by the customer as an encumbrance or lien created by the locksmith.
4. There is no advantage in letting the local or regional locksmith manage these crucial records as the outcome are usually inconsistent and result in non-compatible data collection.
From locksmith’s perception, there is a lot of time invested in creating then maintaining keying systems, as the customer was never initially charged for this time. The locksmith considers the means of generating key combinations more as a tool that the locksmith purchased to develop the product (key combinations) that the customer purchased. To the locksmith, giving up the means of generating key combinations is tantamount to relinquishing control, which then leads to the dissolution of the relationship with the customer.
Many locksmiths demand exclusivity to the means of generating key combinations for the following reasons:
1. The level of system integrity can only be maintained when a single vendor provides all keying services.
2. Master key schematics are uniquely developed by the originator with the originator being the best source for additional expansion.
3. The means of generating key combinations may be proprietary to the locksmith. Separating the customer’s key records and the locksmith’s proprietary methods may be impossible to do. Turning over the system may result in exposure to the original design.
4. The process of generating key combinations and the maintenance of key control records represents a significant amount of time invested that the customer was never made privy to nor asked to pay for. In most instances, customers do not ask for key generation materials. Therefore, if the customer wants the key generation materials, the locksmith should at least be compensated for the time and knowledge invested.
Some customers consider generating key combinations as a mere sequential development of a matrix of numbers and cannot understand the locksmith’s reluctance to surrendering it. Some locksmiths consider surrendering the key generation resource like a chef giving up a prized recipe.
I often consult with customers that have large keying systems.
Many times these customers are left in a quandary when dealing with an uncooperative locksmith who is refusing to relinquish key control records, especially the means to generate key combinations. The decision to acquire the records can range from the customer’s desire to integrate data to deciding to terminate a vendor’s services.
Part of my process is: to first try to act as a liaison between locksmith and customer, then possibly broker a deal.
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