How to protect your plant and equipment from theft

When the Construction and Mining Equipment Industry Group (CMEIG) announced the results of their study into heavy equipment theft in 2009, the industry was shocked. How could $50 million worth of equipment be stolen in Australia each year?

A decade later, the numbers are even grimmer. A report published by the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC) found that plant and equipment thefts increased by 45 percent between 2004 and 2014. And because most thefts aren’t reported, the figures might be a lot higher than we think. Some estimates now put the cost of stolen equipment at a staggering $650 million a year.

Why the upsurge in plant pilfering? According to CMEIG CEO John Reid, organised crime groups are responsible. “One stolen excavator will easily bring in the same return as four or five Commodores,” he explained.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many Australian equipment and plant hire companies implemented mobile technology such as our Operator365 app to reduce the amount of paperwork that changed hands. Now, operations managers say there’s no going back.

Reid added that the lack of an industry-wide identification system makes it easy to resell stolen equipment. “It’s simply a matter of transporting the equipment interstate, perhaps giving it a new paint job and removing or covering over the owner’s identifying logos and phone numbers,” he said. “They’re professional, they know what they’re doing because they’re often heavily involved in the industry, and the stolen equipment is rarely recovered.”

The hidden costs of equipment theft

When a piece of equipment goes missing, plant hire companies feel the pinch in more ways than one. Not only do they need to fork out big bucks to replace the lost asset, they may also incur extra costs associated with project delays, unplanned equipment hire, lost opportunities and increased insurance premiums.

For some small companies, these unexpected expenses can be enough to put them out of business. Because having their equipment stolen is a risk they can’t afford to take, they need to take measures to prevent theft. But how can they safeguard their assets at minimal cost?

How to protect your equipment from theft

While plant and equipment theft figures can be demoralising, there are several strategies you can use to protect your assets.

1. Instruct customers on how to keep their job sites secure

You may want to provide your customers with a checklist of ways to ensure their sites are secure and your equipment is protected. These measures can include:

• Maintaining a regular presence on site • Equipping their sites with bright lights • Purchasing surveillance systems with high-resolution night vision • Placing signs and stickers around the perimeter of their sites indicating the security measures that are in place • Ensuring gates are locked • Making their theft prevention policy known to employees and subcontractors

It goes without saying that you should implement the same measures in your yards as well.

2. Use tracking technology

Despite your customers’ best efforts to secure their job sites, seasoned thieves can still find ways to get their hands on your expensive equipment. The single best way to protect your plant is to equip it with GPS tracking software. Our Track365 app pinpoints the exact location of each one of your assets to enable you to keep track of your fleet and recover stolen property without delay.

3. Brand your equipment

Place logos on your assets and keep records of their serial numbers. This will allow you to easily identify your stolen machinery once you’ve tracked it down with Track365. It’s highly unlikely that thieves will have time to rebrand it before you locate it via GPS.

4. Use plant hire software

Our Allocate365 software will help you efficiently schedule, manage and monitor all your equipment and operators in one central location. You won’t risk losing track of a piece of equipment only to realise it when it’s too late. You’ll be able to see your entire fleet at any given time on Allocate365 and locate missing equipment within seconds on Track365. When used together, these two software solutions give you complete control over your assets and a peace of mind that is priceless.

To discuss the full benefits of our plant hire software solutions or to book a free demo, contact us today.

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