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3 Secrets for Improving Your Lock and Key Program

The daily management of locks and keys is critical for security but can become a formidable challenge operationally. Keys get lost, so locks get changed, which is just a cost of doing business, right? Wrong. 

Marcus Young, director of asset protection for United Supermarkets, knows this challenge all too well. With a regional footprint of close to 100 grocery stores and limited field resources, it became difficult for stores to maintain lock standards efficiently and keep costs down. It also wasn’t easy to get locks changed in a timely or cost-effective way, since many locations are remote and area locksmiths control the timeline and outcome.  

We’ve tried everything from locksmith callouts to electronic cylinders and keys and even layering in some access control. All of which came with substantial upfront conversion costs and resulted in even higher than expected recurring management costs,” said Young. “There just had to be a better solution available. We needed to find a manageable, yet simple lock and key program, especially one with controllable recurring costs.”  

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In early 2019, Young discovered InstaKey’s Key Management program that is specifically designed to resolve the management challenge of locks and keys while lowering costs.  

3 Secrets to Better Key Control  

Standardize. The first secret is to standardize your lock and key program with “restricted keys,” meaning they cannot be duplicated without your authorization. This makes it easier to keep track of keys in circulation and offers peace of mind that there will be no unauthorized key duplicates.  

Look to create an operational culture at store level that tracks who has which of these keys, preferably serialized, and “get the keys back” upon key holder transitions. If the keys are restricted and you get them back, you will not need to change your locks. But if you are using an unrestricted key solution, meaning the keys can be easily copied, are stamped “Do Not Duplicate,” and/or are available to locksmiths, the odds of maintaining a secure environment are not in your favor. 

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Technology. This brings us to our second secret — use simple lock change technology that allows for controls at store level. Whether using restricted keyway interchangeable cores or InstaKey’s “user-rekeyable locks,” these solutions allow locks to be changed on site without tools or locksmith assistance. When managed properly, these solutions are efficient and cost effective. No more time spent trying to find a locksmith, waiting for arrival, or paying high callout and/or product replacement fees. 

InstaKey’s user-rekeyable locks resolve concern by providing a simple, do-it-yourself lock change process called “rekeying.” The cost of the rekeying lock change is comparable to the cost of a new set of keys and truly is as simple as a single key turn. Not only is it faster and more cost-effective, but it can be accomplished by anyone and at any time.  

The biggest selling point for us about InstaKey was the cost-effectiveness in no longer needing locksmith services. Once I saw the projected ROI from rekeying the stores ourselves, it was a no-brainer,” added Young. 

- Digital Partner -

Management Software. Our third secret — optimize the lock and key programs through inclusion of cloud‑based technology. Look to include your lock and key program data with other operational and security metrics.  

InstaKey’s cloud-based Key Management Software oversees all aspects of any lock and key program. From initial virtual survey collection through key holder monitoring, this solution provides tracking history for all types of keys, key holders, locations, and locks no matter who supplies it. It also allows for cloud-based, store-level key assignments and tracking, recurring automated audit, and data sharing for consumption within your own infrastructure.  

InstaKey’s attentiveness to our team is so refreshing and their new virtual surveying has made the lock collection process easy. Once our locations are rolled out, the whole system comes alive giving us the online tracking and reporting we have been looking for, helping our stores to be more efficient and compliant. We definitely found the program and values we were looking for,” said Young. 

For more information, visit or contact them at or 800-316-5397.  


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