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Guest Column - February 2019
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Locker Rooms

Upgrading Locks to Improve User Experience

By Douglas Greene


Lockers are a resource frequently used by patrons at facilities all over the world. A simple upgrade to shared use locks can make a significant impact on your locker room.

Upgrading the locker locks in your locker room is a simple way to not only increase the efficiency and security of your locker space, but improve your users' experience within the building. With the variety of shared use locks on the market, facilities can increase the control they have over their lockers and capacity for traffic, reduce man hours managing traditional locker lock systems and much more.

Cost-Effective!

One of the most significant impacts of switching to true shared use locks is that it is cost-effective. Upgrading to shared use locks can revitalize the appearance and functionality of existing lockers and can be easily incorporated into the construction of new lockers. Many locks can be recess-mounted to existing doors to offer a high-end look with simple integration. Additionally, there are locks that are designed specifically to mount in pre-existing patterns or recessed handles of steel lockers. By changing from assigned lockers to shared lockers, a facility can maximize the number of openings available to your members at any given time. Members simply select any available locker during their stay. When they leave the facility, that locker is now available to another user. This enables the facility to gain more usage from existing locker rooms.

Upgrading to shared use locks from user-supplied padlocks, coin-operated locks or keyed locks allows you to greatly reduce the administrative time spent replacing keys and managing combinations. As users will be entering in their own self-selected code for the period of their stay and the lock will automatically clear the locker code when they retrieve their belongings, there is no need for employees to manually reset the lock after each use. The shared use locks also allow for greater controls, including supervisory access, which eliminates the need to cut off locks in user-supplied setups. By removing the user-supplied padlocks, you are also able to improve the appearance of your locker by adding a consistent look to each locker.

Know Your Options

Beyond differentiating itself from traditional locking solutions, the shared use lock often differs in fit, functionality and overall match to your specific needs. Picking the right shared use lock is crucial.

Whereas some locks are intended to work on the largest breadth of locker types, materials, and latch styles, others may only function on specific designs. There are shared use locks that are best mounted on steel lockers and versions that are intended for wood, laminate and phenolic lockers.

A simple upgrade to shared use locks can make a significant impact on your locker room.

There are two main approaches toward the function of shared use locks. Mechanical locks offer a functional advantage of being extremely low-maintenance, while electronic locks range from very simple to highly programmable with advanced capabilities such as RFID integration.

Each lock has its own benefits, and it is important to know which lock features are most critical to your application.

Mechanical shared use locks are very well suited for high-traffic, high-volume facilities. Due to their mechanical design, they remove the concern of costs for new batteries and labor time associated with replacing them. Without having to change batteries, these locks are an almost maintenance-free solution. Mechanical locks are both user-friendly and easy to manage, as the user simply selects any available locker when entering the locker room and enters their own self-selected pin code to lock up their belongings during their stay at the facility. Upon return the user simply re-enters their own code to unlock their locker and the lock automatically clears the code making it available to the next user. A physical control key is often an option that allows for supervisory control over lockers.

In addition to standard shared use offerings of mechanical shared use locks, electronic locker locks typically offer a much greater array of features to meet your facility's specific requirements. Most electronic locker locks offer flexibility to be used with both shared and permanent use programming. This allows a facility to have lockers designated for shared use for daily patrons and permanent use for members that have rented lockers on a monthly or annual basis. Other custom capabilities such as time-based operations and audit trail monitoring offer greater control and security. The addition of RFID features can often utilize existing member IDs as a way to lock lockers instead of a pin code. This can eliminate the need for members to carry additional RFID cards or remember their combination. At their highest levels, electronic locks can offer wireless/networkable systems to create even more robust control with their ability to monitor and control all locks from a central location. This includes the ability to lock down or open individual locks, an entire bank of locks or all the locks in the system.

Upgrading your existing lockers or new locker system with one of the many available shared use systems goes a long way toward improving your members' experience while allowing for your facility to increase efficiency, security and control over the locker room.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Douglas Greene is general manager for Zephyr Lock, a provider of locker security solutions for more than 15 years. For more information, visit www.zephyrlock.com.