Reducing and eliminating theft is the first benefit considered in upgrading from traditional locks and keys to an electronic locking system for cabinets. It makes sense. State-of-the-art electronic access control systems can be more reliable and durable than mechanical locks and metal keys. For instance, secure electronic locking solutions can provide up to four times the strength of keyed locks. Invisible locks, as well as cabinet fronts without keyholes, also thwart potential thieves.
However, enhanced security isn’t the only compelling reason to switch to electronic access control. Another major advantage is greater business efficiency.
Traditional Locks and Keys Can Erode Productivity
Research and experience show that retailers, healthcare, financial institutions and other commercial establishments find traditional locks and keys unwieldy, difficult to integrate with furniture, and costly to install, maintain and use. Traditional locks and keys can also be detrimental when serving customers, which, for retailers, dampens sales.
In short, the conventional approach, little changed in more than 150 years, doesn’t meet today’s productivity needs.
Among the grievances:
- Traditional locks and keys are susceptible to callbacks and can demand expensive repairs and replacement.
- Hard keys are vulnerable to loss, theft, breakage and duplication, requiring onerous maintenance and rekeying.
- Issuing separate ID badges for an additional security system is a hassle.
- Requiring employees to handle multiple keys wastes time and causes customer frustration and lost sales. Almost half (46 percent) of consumers say the retail process takes too long, 32 percent don’t like waiting for a sales associate to unlock a cabinet to show merchandise, and 17 percent feel uncomfortable when a salesperson uses a key, according to the 2014 UCLA Executive MBA Retail Consumer Study.
- Employees frequently forget to relock cabinets. This not only exposes the content to theft but also requires constant monitoring. In a hospital, for example, unsecured medications and documents can lead to penalties for the hospital.
How Electronic Locking Systems May Help
How do electronic locking systems help to boost business efficiency and overcome these challenges?
The best systems help commercial establishments increase profits – plus enhance the customer and user experience – by eliminating the constraints of traditional locks. Along with more reliable protection, end users gain greater functionality. Specifically:
An electronic access control system can be hidden from view.
Some locks can be integrated with cabinet drawer slides or installed as stand-alones in cabinet doors. No electrical or wiring expertise is needed. Plug-and-play components can be incorporated with new or existing cabinets and complement other security solutions, such as alarm or video surveillance systems. Technical support and customization are available if needed.
Using an electronic access control system is easy.
All it takes to unlock a cabinet is a tap of a smart card, fob or wristband near a proximity reader and the cabinet unlocks and automatically relocks upon closing.
Managing a cabinet-level access control system is simple.
A system administrator can add, change or delete access privileges in seconds, even if a card has been lost or stolen. An electronic access control token can be affixed to an existing ID badge.
A smart locking system streamlines associates’ interactions with customers and other users.
A sale associate can immediately unlock a display case to show merchandise rather than hunting for the right key, summoning a supervisor, or retreating to a backroom as the customer waits – or leaves. This simplicity reduces stocking and product retrieval time and shortens the sales process. In non-retail environments, such as hospitals, patients can keep their belongings safe but easily accessible, and nurses can quickly access medications and supplies, adding a few more minutes to their day to tend to patients.
Automatic features save human effort.
Auto-relocking eliminates laborious management checking to make sure cabinets are locked. Auto-open, easy-close and touch-release features also promote convenience.
The benefits of cabinet-level electronic access control systems can add up quickly. Technologies continue to advance, bringing the promise of expanding functions and applications to any commercial establishment that needs to both protect and readily access valuable contents.
Businesses that capitalize on the emerging trend stand to capture a critical competitive edge in terms of loss prevention and efficiency—both good for the bottom line.