Monitoring Theft in a Construction Business

Why construction businesses need equipment tracking 

For any construction company, the capacity to safeguard key equipment and move it easily at effortlessly between worksites is key to profitable operations. 

Even though a number of construction firms use real time GPS tracking on their vehicles and trucks on the road, many have not considered the advantages of using GPS tracking for securing assets and their equipment. Asset tracking technologies provide companies with real-time access to valuable equipment to help combat one of the industry’s biggest hurdles – theft.  

From cabs that are easy-to-open, poor security and lack of product identification numbers, building and construction sites are hot targets for crime. Based on the most recent data compiled from the National Equipment Register (NER) and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), nearly 12,000 construction-related thefts were reported in the last year. Additionally, it is also estimated that 90 percent of thefts occur at building sites. This statistic isn’t surprising, considering sites are left open to thieves on nights and weekends once employees have gone home for the day and no safety personnel are present to guard the site. 


Equipment Theft is a big but avoidable problem 

The NICB report showed that of the 12,000 theft reported in the last year, only 23 percent of the stolen goods could be recovered. Several factors contribute to the low recovery rate of assets from delayed theft discovery, inaccurate or missing owner records, minimal law and policy resources and complicated equipment and identification formats. 

Equipment theft costs between $300 million to $1 billion each year, with the true cost of theft being much higher than the costs of replacing the stolen equipment. Once you consider the cost of downtime for workers whose equipment is missing and the cost of rental or replacement equipment is added, as well as increases in insurance premiums, the impact of theft becomes significant.  

With high pressure projects and tight declines, construction managers need real-time visibility of their equipment at all times. What makes an asset tracking system so effective is that it provides it provides managers with a full view of assets at all times and the information they need to handle equipment theft. Managers can easily monitor and locate equipment in all worksite yards and track all movements in real time.  

What should you be tracking 

When it comes to targets of theft, equipment can be separated into three different categories including high-value items, small equipment and tools and attachments. High-value items may consist of excavators, cranes, pavers, extractors and other large equipment. Small equipment includes light towers and sweepers and the final category, which thieves target most, consist of all small equipment and tools.  

The NICB reported that value and mobility were the two key factors that determined what types of equipment was stolen. The NICB also reported that tractors and loaders were among the types of equipment targeted frequently. A few other examples of hot targets that should be equipped with tracking include generators, light banks, trailers, portable toilets and cranes. Construction companies that utilise integrated asset management  typically begin with category one and begin working their way down as they begin to see significant savings. 

Why now? 

Formerly, this form of tracking technology was unattainable to most in the industry due to significant costs, now however, construction firms are able to find value-priced solutions to suit their business needs. As the economy continues to drive the construction industry, being able to better control costs with the prevention of theft will help every become more profitable.