Equipment theft from jobsites has long been a serious problem in the construction industry. Unfortunately, it isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, there was a 45 per cent rise in plant and equipment thefts in a 10-year period up to 2014. Stolen equipment leaves your business open to significant replacement costs or higher insurance premiums. In 2014 alone, the total value of plant, equipment and heavy vehicles stolen from Australian businesses was more than $51 million. Theft can also have a major impact on productivity and delay projects until missing assets are replaced.
Luckily there are steps you can take to keep track of your vehicles and equipment, helping to prevent unauthorised use and locate them in the event of a theft. Here are four ways you can better protect your fleet with telematics:
- Asset tracking: Keep track of every vehicle and machine so you know where they are and how they’re being used. Accessing real-time data will help you identify unauthorised use and trigger alerts for signs of tampering. You can track active engine hours or offsite use as well as a range of custom metrics suitable for your business. With data on the location of every vehicle and piece of equipment, it’s easy to identify missing assets and take timely action to recover them. Even if there’s no direct power supply you can still track equipment for up to five months, helping you to recover stolen assets.
- Tamper-resistant hardware: By implementing tamper-resistant tracking units or antenna, you can ensure GPS signals for your vehicles can’t be disabled. This means employees can’t hide unauthorised use and you’ll have a better chance of recovering missing vehicles. If these units are interfered with, a real-time alert will be sent to notify a designated manager.
- Motion sensors: With built-in motion sensors, you can trigger alerts when vehicles are used out of hours or when the engine is started on a vehicle that’s not been assigned to a project. If someone attempts to move one of your vehicles you’ll be notified in real-time so you can send someone to investigate. This helps to prevent theft while discouraging employees from the unauthorised use of vehicles.
- Geofencing: Setting up geofenced areas will help you track when vehicles or equipment are moved outside of set locations or times. For example, if a vehicle is only supposed to be used on a certain job this week you can receive notifications if it leaves unexpectedly. You can also adjust this to reflect your standard working hours – such as weekdays or a particular timeframe like 7am-5pm.
Anyone managing a construction fleet is vulnerable to theft so the best solution is to take preventative measures. Ensure your employees are aware of appropriate use guidelines and implement alerts for any activity that seems unusual. Data is the ultimate weapon in the fight against vehicle and equipment theft. Knowing where every asset is at any given time, and how they’re being used, means you’re better prepared than ever to protect your business.