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Supplier Insight: (The Car Key People) Minimising the impact of key loss or failure

with Car Key People Founder, Mark Migliaccio.

The consequences of dealing with Key loss or failure has already been highlighted in this issue of EFM Magazine. Should this occur, the disruption to service levels can be significant. There are though, a few preventative steps and processes that can be put in place that will minimise the off road period, support continued service delivery, increase efficiency and in many cases, protect an organisation’s reputation. EFM Magazine was delighted to speak recently with Car Key People Founder, Mark Migliaccio, about the impacts of key loss or failure and their key replacement solution, a highly efficient alternative to using a traditional main dealer and how fleet operators are increasingly using this service to help minimise Vehicle Off Road time.

What are the potential impacts of key loss or failure on fleet operations?
For some reason, awareness of the potential impacts is sometimes not what it should be, but when you think about it a lost key is just as damaging and disruptive as, for example, a vehicle break-in or anything else that keeps the vehicle off road. This will lead to a delay in service delivery and within the public sector, social housing maintenance and utilities, the delay could easily be to an urgent repair or other essential work. There is not only the disruption and financial waste to consider but, in many cases, distress and frustration. Corporate reputation can also be affected. If, for example, you are a social housing tenant expecting vital work to be carried out and that work is delayed because of a key loss, then the fleet operator cannot expect a sympathetic or understanding response from the tenant. These instances are sensitive and there are many within the media hungry for the opportunity to highlight stories of inadequate service delivery!

Q: What is the traditional main dealer solution to key loss or failure and what are the pitfalls?
If a fleet operator does not plan for the possibility of key loss or failure, then they are firstly looking at a costly vehicle recovery. Once recovered, the replacement key must be ordered from the factory, wherever that may be, with often a long lead time and with the cost for the key alone, running into hundreds of pounds. Even when the key has finally been delivered, the disruption doesn’t stop there, with the operator responsible for delivering the vehicle in question to the main dealer for the key to be programmed. That’s more time lost and further costs, along with a driver prevented from carrying out core tasks.

The Car Key People - Essential Fleet Manager

Q: By comparison, how does The Car Key People’s solution work and how does it provide a fast, at the roadside solution for fleet operators?
Essentially, we are carrying out exactly the same technical process as a main dealer, but how that process is delivered is significantly different. The fundamental phrase here is ‘at the roadside’. In other words, when it is discovered that a key is lost or has failed, we can be notified of the vehicle description and location. On attending the location, we will have a vehicle compatible key ready for programming. We can do this because in many respects, we already have the components in place and at hand, ahead of any requirement. Put simply, when we engage with a fleet operator we will have a full breakdown of their assets, so all vehicles. This allows us to order compatible keys from the factories and hold them in stock. When we have notification of failure or loss, we will arrive at the vehicle location and as skilled automotive locksmiths, we then programme the keys and therefore get the vehicle moving again in the shortest possible space of time. This will be usually 24-48 hours from notification and can be as immediate as same day; a huge improvement on the traditional alternative! In summary then, we remove the need and excess cost of factory ordered keys, because we already hold stock and remove the requirement to firstly recover a vehicle and then to deliver it to a dealer site, because we attend the vehicle location.

Q: Clearly then, potential key loss is an issue that is vitally important to address for fleet operators. As you have developed the business and work with more and more fleets, has it been a challenge along the way get them to view this in the same way as any other event that may lead to a vehicle being off road?
A huge increase in our partnerships with fleets and fleet management companies suggests that awareness of the issue and our solution has improved dramatically. However, there are still instances when an organisation, that is otherwise well prepared for other incidents such as anything tyre related, will not see the need for similar due diligence when it comes to keys. It’s a question of keeping the conversations going, developing new relationships, and broadening awareness of the issue. At the same time, as we develop our systems to continually fine tune our services and as programming software develops to allow us to work with vehicles that until now, have only had a main dealer solution available, we have an increasingly positive message for fleets which widens our opportunities and the level of service we provide.

The Car Key People - Essential Fleet Manager

It’s well worth saying that when we seek new opportunities, we’re very conscious of the need to understand that today’s fleet manager is faced with an ever-increasing weight of responsibility. Not only do all the established day to day tasks remain, that are vital in managing risk, efficiency and meeting compliance, but there are now many involved in great strategic change, such as fleet electrification. All this might be a quite understandable reason as to why the issue of key loss, on its own, has been sometimes obscured. Having said that, this is all the more reason to have this issue covered and avoid completely unnecessary expenditure and Vehicle Off Road Time.

Q: Much of what we’ve already said talks about key loss and how you react to minimise impact. With your help, what preventative steps can be taken that will mean a vehicle can remain in operation, despite a key being lost?
This really is as simple as ensuring that each vehicle has more than one key! It sounds fundamental, but there are still some leasing companies who only supply a single key. When that is the case, the smart thing to do if that key has failed or has been lost, is to have us replace it with two. That will cost more in the very short term but may well prevent unnecessary expense in the future. We can also help fleets plan by supplying spare keys ahead of any specific need, as we did with Enterprise Flexirent when in just two days, fifty Transits were supplied with spares in time for them arriving with a major customer. As things stand at the moment, we’ve seen that of the various fleet sectors, the utilities seem to lead the way, often having as many as four keys for each vehicle!

Q: How do you see things developing for The Car Key People?
We’ve already gone from a small operation, working with retail customers in just London and the South-East, to a nationwide service delivering solutions to many of the country’s most notable fleet operators. Not only do they value our services that address key loss, but also our expertise in vehicle security. A full list of services is basically as follows:
• Spare vehicle keys – preventative measure
• Lost/Failed key replacement – on-site service delivered from same day to 48 hours after notification in majority of cases
• Vehicle entry when keys locked inside
• Lock repair or replacement
• Vehicle investigation – when it is suspected that an unauthorised key has been coded to a vehicle
• Key erasing and reprogramming – to provide security and ensure that only on-site keys can be used
• Temporary key storage and secure postage of replacement keys

We therefore offer a 360 degree service around all issues associated with key loss, failure and security. All this is provided in the most cost effective and efficient way possible and The Car Key People will without doubt, increase our valued range of fleet customers, in line with increased awareness of the issues and their impact

For further information call T: 0208 226 3787 or visit

The above article appeared in Issue 4 of Essential Fleet Manager Magazine – read it here

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