MRO Q&A: Setting up a Master Card Key System

Aug. 17, 2015
A reader asks for advice to set up a master card key system.

Q. We will be moving into a new building next month, and I need to set up a master card key system. Is there a set way to do this?

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A. There is no one size fits all lock system for good security. As a general rule, the architect or the architectural and engineering firm that is constructing or modifying the building usually develops this scheme. However, if they don't, do not develop this in a vacuum.

You will need an organizational chart that includes all the management positions that will occupy the building. Typically this includes production, production planning, maintenance, engineering, quality control, purchasing, information technology, sales, marketing, safety and any other departments that will be housed in the facility. You will need a complete set of drawings that you can present to department heads for their input on building areas where they or their people need access. Once you have conducted all the interviews, develop a list of all the access areas for each individual.

Don't forget to consider people who are not permanently housed in the facility but who may need periodic access (USDA and FDA inspectors, regional managers, fire departments, etc.). Once all the inputs have been collected, final approval by the general manager or plant manager is in order. Once final approval is given, card keys can be programmed. In addition, a comprehensive guideline should be developed to explain the security schema, company procedures and the approval process needed to gain access to various areas.

While this is not a difficult task, it takes considerable time to execute it properly.

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