Ekspresa Blog Articles

The high price of using master keys

Learning the basic operation of a conventional lock is perhaps one of the things we learn during the first years of life. And, since everything we do has always seemed like an absolute truth, it is possible that you have never wondered what the cost of using a common conventional or master key is, much less what would be the case if it were a company.

In the following article we will analyze the advantages and disadvantages of using master keys within a commercial system, and what the alternatives are.


What is a Master Key?

As societies grew and expanded, companies did too. And along with this, the challenges became greater in all areas. Logistics, especially, becomes particularly difficult as the size of the company increases.

At some point this triggered the birth of master keys to fill a need where it was vital that a single key would open a number of different locks.

A master key is what allows us to open several locks of the same type, it is normally used in scenarios where it is necessary to have a key for emergencies, for example, in hotels or offices, but it is not an exclusive case, a person you could have a master key even to your own house.

Master keys are used to open only a certain group of locks, not all of them.

It is thought that a master key is capable of opening any door you want, but the reality is very different. The master keys are prepared by taking into account all the bolts of the different locks (after painstaking and hard work), this makes the key work to open the locks that were initially planned, but no other. This is important to take into account in the case study that we will analyze next.

Master keys in a fuel distribution company

In the current system, the companies that refine and distribute oil and its derivatives must continuously and safely transport large quantities of fuel and gas to the different service points in the country. This implies an enormous human machinery to keep the entire system running, from the moment the merchandise leaves the wholesale distributor to the retailer.

Let’s analyze the following scenario:

Juan, our star driver, is assigned a specific distribution route, along with this he is given a master key that will serve for all the retail centers that are within his itinerary, in addition to the respective manual authorization that will accredit access in the place.

Similarly, Pedro is assigned another similar distribution route, and they both go out to carry out their assignments.

On the way, Pedro’s vehicle breaks down and paralyzes his distribution. One of the centers that he was unable to visit is in a small town with very few refueling centers, this is an important point since the reserves in the place are few and the delivery was a priority.

Fuel distribution process using master key
Fuel distribution process using master key

The logistics coordinator must call Juan, who is near the affected town, to reassign him the activity that Pedro was unable to complete due to the vehicle breakdown. The problem? Juan doesn’t have the right master keys. In addition, it is a security protocol that only the person who has signed access can enter the establishment. So Juan will have to go back to the main office, look for the authorization (manually signed), go back to Pedro to pick up the master key, and finally go to the retailer to make the delivery.

Let us now imagine that something similar happens frequently, given that it is not just a locality, but an entire country. This will create unnecessary operating expenses and long delays in the supply chain.

What are programmable keys and locks?

A programmable key is the evolution of conventional locks, the traditional unintelligent system requires human intervention in every part of the process. With the introduction of technology in this phase, the aim is to directly attack the problems associated with human errors, and increase control and security within strategic locations.

There are different types of programmable keys and locks:

  • Bluetooth activation.
  • Code activation
  • Pre-programmed keys.

Programmable keys in fuel distribution company

Starting from the previous scenario, where logistics become chaotic as the unforeseen events and the magnitude of the process grow, what would happen if instead of using master keys, programmable keys were used?

In the same scenario, Juan and Pedro receive their ACSYS programmable key. The route assignment and control system is managed by the iAMS software, and operators can report any news instantly through the Smart Access mobile software.

At the time of the damage to Pedro’s vehicle, the logistics coordinator should only assign the new location to the operator Juan, and immediately he will be able to go to carry out the activity that was not possible in the previous scenario.

Then the entire routing and logistics system is programmed from the computer, and finally the operator goes to the programmed locations. Safely and under the tracking of the GPS system.


The challenges of the conventional master key system:

Benefits of the programmable key and lock system:

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