Resolutions 1 month in, don’t stop now!

[fusion_text]Just like my colleague Tim many of us use the New Year as an opportunity to look back, take stock and make resolutions for change.  Not many of our resolutions last beyond week 3, why?

One reason is because we have all had a Christmas and New Year break and the first two weeks back are just not normal, it is only when you get into week 3 that our work routines resestablish themselves properly.  So if you have not succeeded with your resolutions, don’t stop, try again.
 
“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” Julie Andrews Continue reading “Resolutions 1 month in, don’t stop now!”

Gain 20 minutes or more

A couple of weeks ago I talked about gaining 20 minutes a day and how this adds up to 2 weeks in a year.  How do we arrive at gaining 20 minutes, does it apply to everyone?

You gain time by saving time on activities you have to do, in our case how you manage keys.

Let’s use a simple numbers approach first.  If you issue 10 keys a day you will repeat the following activities.

Key Sign Out

  1. Look up the address of the property and identify the key to sign out.
  2. Fetch the key.
  3. Handover the key and sign it out.

Key Sign In

  1. Receive the key
  2. Sign in the key
  3. Hang it up in its designated location

To issue 10 keys a day you will on average undertake 20 activities, 10 sign outs and 10 sign ins. If you save an average of 1 minute on each activity you will save 20 minutes a day.  I agree this is a simplification and is only part of the story.

Does this apply to everyone? That depends on your current system, but we think this is a minimum, particularly if you use a paper log book system or a spreadsheet. Some of our customers tell us they save an hour a day (over £200/month).

What is the potential for you?

When you have a few minutes take look at one or more of these:

  • Observe your office in action during the day
  • Write down your process
  • Time yourself and your colleagues
  • What happens if you are interrupted?
  • How often are your records incomplete?
  • Do people “shortcut” the system?

How long does it really take to manage your keys?

A big day – an easy system

In a small way yesterday was a big day. After several months of planning and preparation we shot the final parts of our new promotional video and made our new web site live.

As part of these activities I had to look at and review Keyzapp as a system. Sometimes you can get caught up in business activities and you lose sight of the fundamental product. Nicki, who will be seen on the video using Keyzapp, had to learn how it works; after only a few minutes she was looking up and issuing keys like a professional.

In the evening Tim and Emma published our latest web site and I am particularly pleased by the revised “How it works” page, not a massive change but I think does a good job introducing people to how easy Keyzapp is.

Yesterday was a big day for me because in looking at the process again with new eyes I am very proud of the system we have created, particularly with how easy it is to learn and use.

* Where else can you look up a property and locate the keys in a matter of a few key presses?

* Where else can you scan a key fob and ID card and to issue a set of keys in a few seconds? What is more the system is just as easy to use without key fobs and ID cards.

* Returning keys is the easiest part of all– one click and you are done. Real time saving!

A big day for me, it reinforced how easy our key management system is – I am proud of it.

20 minutes a day productivity increase?

Not much, but this soon adds up to over 75 hours a year, that is 2 whole weeks over a year. I mention this because this week’s news has started with “UK firms’ hiring intentions ‘sky high’ but concerns persist over productivity, the French and the Germans are significantly more productive than us! This is probably not a great concern to the Letting Industry because we are not competing with them directly, but increased productivity is still important because your margins continue to be squeezed and you need to achieve more from what you have.

The story does not stop at productivity because you also need to consider improved quality and efficiency, hence business automation tools have an increasing role to play. These tools can help you improve productivity, quality and efficiency without taking on new staff, making your business more competitive and secure.

Yes you can save 20 minutes a day (some of our customers tell us more than 30) but you also achieve greater quality through fewer errors and accurate up to date information. What is more this is simply achieved through the introduction of a better key management process like Keyzapp.

London buses – they all come at once

A typical busy lettings office may give out on average 10 keys a day. That is an average of 20 transactions as each key has to be issued and returned. This sounds easy, and it is; after all that’s only an average of three transactions an hour. But just like London buses averages are tricky things.

A bus is scheduled every 10 minutes, but in London you can wait for half an hour and 3 buses will turn up at once. People who need keys are just like that, they arrive together; they often want them at the start of the day, not one or two very hour. Unsurprisingly these are also busy times because other people need attention for phone calls, visits and meetings at the same time. This is when a good key system saves you time, precisely when you need it most.

The average of 10 keys a day can also give you a distorted picture, it makes life look easy over a day, when in truth most activity is concentrated into a few busy times. This can be further distorted when you consider what a daily average of 10 keys means; some days only 1 or 2 keys are issued, on others it can be more than 20, but the average will still be 10.

Our records for some customers demonstrate that 4 out of 10 (40%) of all key transactions happen between 9 am and 11 am; what’s more for these customers 7 out of 10 (70%) of key transactions happen before 1 pm, lunch time.

We created Keyzapp to help people with the promise of making the mundane process of issuing keys easy and enjoyable. This makes it possible for everyone to manage keys, particularly when they are busy and under pressure.

Contactless Technology – possible fraud from your pocket?

Contactless payment has seen a massive rise to £2.3 billion in one year, an enormous change that demonstrates how many people are prepared to take on new technology and ways of doing things.  This maybe the way to the “cashless” society that has been talked about for years, they are almost there in the Nordic countries.

Is there a drawback?  Is fraud possible from your pocket?  With contactless you pay for your coffee in the morning by holding your card to the terminal, simple and easy.  How about if someone holds a terminal close to your pocket or handbag, can they get you to pay money without you knowing it?  So I “Googled” Tap and go fraud.  Yes it is possible and surprise, surprise it looks like there is a problem in Australia; here are a couple of reports from November 2014.

Rise of ‘Tap and Go’ technology means hi-tech thieves can now wirelessly pick your pocket

Police want ban on tap and go technology, saying sloppy practices can promote crime

I think the argument is that while this is possible the incidence is so low it is not a problem!  I suppose it doesn’t matter, the thief can only steal £20 at a time!

My wife bought a new purse last year, one that had “RFID blocking technology”, perhaps that was a good move.

There are two reasons for writing this post, the first is to reassure users of Keyzapp that our NFC chips are not open to financial fraud as there is no connection to any financial transaction; the key fob chip only provides the key fob identity to the system.  The second is to remark on how quickly this technology is moving into our day to day lives; Keyzapp is one of the first, others will follow soon.

In the meantime take care of your contactless cards.

5 Ws for cloud based key management

What, why, who, when and where reasons for cloud based key management.

What is cloud based key management?

Cloud based key management simply helps people and organisations manage keys more easily. Systems that are web based should be quick and easy to use without the need for pen and paper. A process that refines the simple paper log book means people will be familiar with the process, making it easy to introduce and use.

Why use key management?

There are many reasons to consider and investigate a cloud based solution because it

  • will save time
  • improve accuracy
  • reduce costs
  • make life easier

In addition you will gather and use information that will improve the overall value of the service you provide to both tenants and landlords. This will contribute to improving the quality of what you do overall and will make a difference for you, your staff and your customers.

A cloud based application means that people can be in multiple locations and use different devices, including tablets and smart phones, such as the iPad and iPhone.

Who uses key management?

Everyone who has a cupboard full of keys will benefit from using a cloud based key management system. Letting agents and property management organisations can typically have hundreds of keys in their care at any one time. Knowing who has your keys at all times reduces the risk of misplaced keys and the need to search for them.

When do you use key management?

The simple answer is all of the time! Managing people’s properties carries high responsibility and you need to demonstrate you are professional and care about the property in your charge. This is not new as all property organisations have systems in place to do this. Our experience is that these systems are not very efficient, staff often waste time looking for keys, keys are not available when they are required and sometimes the wrong keys are issued. Very occasionally keys are misplaced and more often people have keys they can not identify! Web based key management helps you maintain an updated status of all of your keys with ease, with the objective of eliminating the common key management issues you encounter day to day.

Where is cloud based key management used?

Everywhere with an internet connection can be used with cloud based key management. It is simply a computer based system that is located in a data centre. The beauty of these systems is they minimise the need for a keyboard because key fobs and ID cards are read directly into the system. When you need to use a keyboard time is saved by using look up lists so that information is accurate and consistent. The systems are internet based so no information is held in the office and the information is available away from the office at any time.

Your key management system will change soon

One thing we can be sure of is your business environment will change.  If I look back 15 years the business environment was very different from today, 15 years before that it is almost unrecognisable.  I was going to start this blog by saying that people do not like change, but this is really not true.  Facebook started in 2004, Twitter started in 2006 and the first iPhone came out in 2007, look how big they are now. If we take Twitter as an example, 0 users in 2006 to 500 million in 2012, only 6 years.

The change being brought about by these technologies is still in it’s infancy in the business environment, but it shows that people can adopt changes very quickly.  People are more resistant to change in the business environment for many reasons, but despite this resistance our business environment is changing quite quickly.

In many businesses the system to manage keys has been the same for over 100 years; keys are issued and returned using a paper log book to record and manage them.  This has already changed for some high security organisations but for many they still use the 100 year old paper log book.  If you still use a paper log book, change is only round the corner.  The question is not will I change my key management system but why, how and when; questions that I will return to in future posts.

New technologies mean that information can be read from key fobs and ID cards easily, quickly and cheaply.  When you combine this with the internet, mobile devices and cloud computing, you can be assured the pace of change is about to pick up.

Managing keys electronically saves time and improves accuracy; this in turn enables you to give a better service to your customers, both Landlords and Tenants.

Can you copy keys from a photograph?

If you could copy keys from a photograph what would it mean?  How would security be compromised? Would this make people nervous?

As explained by this article in Wired (http://www.wired.com/2014/07/keyme-let-me-break-in/) any one can easily copy keys by quickly taking photos with an iPhone app; then simply sending them to a company to recreate the keys.

This article gives us all a lot to think about.   Copying keys this easily will start an important debate, I am sure we will be hearing more about this.

Will records on the management and control of keys assume a greater importance in future?

Keyzapp is a natural evolution of key manangement

All organisations that manage keys have systems and procedures in place; after all keys go back to the time of the Egyptians and Romans, however keys in their current form started in the early 17th century (Chubb-1818, Yale-1848).  What is more many organisations are using the same paper log book methods to manage keys they would have used in the 17th century!  These procedures have stood the test of time, but the problem is they only work up to a point.

New key management systems exist but they tend to be “electro  mechanical” based systems which satisfy different security needs, they are generally just as time consuming and more expensive.

The simple paper based key management systems fall down because people do not follow the procedures, so keys are continually being looked for and occasionally misplaced, all resulting in people spending more time then they want to (or need to) looking after keys.  Keyzapp provides a better way of managing keys without the need for pen and paper but is based on the same time proven procedures used since the 17th century.

Our solution is easy for people to use so that there is no reason not to follow the system.

We believe that people will realise they can improve on their current methods and that Keyzapp  is a better way, worth investigating and investing in.