Forwarding agent Keimeier & Finke GmbH has been moving goods around the world for over 70 years. However, the company’s growth and the subsequent increase in the number of employees and vehicles on its books had begun to make key management a real challenge. A need to find a more efficient and secure system led the company to Traka, which recommended one of its L-series key cabinets, capable of accommodating up to 360 key locations.
Prior to the installation of the Traka system, Keimeier and Finke used a conventional key board: in their words ‘a really chaotic system’. The company holds hundreds of keys for trucks, storage depots, offices and maintenance units. Keys often went missing, nobody ever knew who had been the last person to use the missing keys or if they were ever brought back.
Truck keys were a particular problem: modern trucks are equipped with coded keys which can cost €80.00 to replace. Sometimes even the replacement key couldn’t be found, putting trucks out of action until new ones could be delivered. And with completely new keys, the truck’s ignition lock had to be replaced as well, an additional expense.
Although the company knew it needed a system which could be used by all
employees at any time, an added complication was the 500 metre distance between its two buildings.
Researching potential solutions on the internet, International Distribution Manager Ines Owen came across Traka. After a detailed presentation, Traka proposed a system to fit the company’s particular requirements and installed an L-series electronic cabinet.
At the heart of Traka’s key cabinets is the iFob: an intelligent bullet-shaped device which contains a chip with a unique serial number, giving each one an individual ID. Keys are attached to the iFob using self-locking security seals, so that they cannot be easily detached. Highly robust, the iFob is made from nickel-plated brass and is suitable for use in cold stores at -30° C and even by navy divers. Its special shape allows it to automatically lock into the Traka cabinet and its smooth surface is inherently self-cleaning, eliminating problems associated with dust or other contaminations.
"The Traka cabinet has really solved our problems," says Ines Owen. "No more looking for keys – we can follow up at any time who was the last to use which key and whether or not they returned it. To log into the system, every employee has his or her own unique PIN number which is used in conjunction with a biometrics fingerprint reader – so there’s no chance of a mix-up."
Although Keimeier & Finke’s staff were initially sceptical, they soon saw the advantages. Getting used to individual accountability was a culture change, as was the company’s decision that whoever loses a key pays for its replacement. However, staff responded positively and adapted quickly. Different levels of authorisation were set to ensure no operator had access to vehicles they were not authorised to drive.
"Lost or missing keys are a thing of the past!" says Ines Owen. "The initial purchase price of the cabinet was quickly recouped and we would recommend Traka to anyone facing similar challenges. Working without an electronic key management system is unimaginable now."
The Traka system has evolved from working closely with some of the world’s largest corporations in many different market sectors. The system is in use in the UK and more than 25 other countries, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.