Equipment theft is a common issue for manufacturing, construction, and rental companies. High-value equipment provides a temptation for high-value transactions, especially when much of the equipment is left unattended at the end of the work day. Equipment tracking can help address the issue of equipment theft and help companies avoid hefty consequences in several ways.
The Consequences of Stolen Equipment
Depending on the type of equipment that is characteristic of your workplace, you might be wondering why people would want to steal it in the first place. While there isn’t always a logical motive for equipment theft, generally speaking, the appeal tends to lie in the ability to sell the equipment for money elsewhere, especially in the case of large, specialized equipment. This is particularly common for heavy equipment and construction vehicles, which tend to be left unsupervised on sites overnight and are worth large amounts of money. Technologically advanced, expensive equipment is similarly vulnerable. Those containing sensitive data, in some cases, also hold a certain appeal.
Stolen equipment has a number of negative consequences for companies, even beyond the obvious complications that come with any loss. These consequences are present regardless of whether the theft occurs from the inside or outside of the company. Some of these consequences include:
Cost of replacing equipment.
Regardless of whether or not stolen equipment is recovered, recovery takes time. And that period of loss, however long it may be, is valuable time that the company is wasting, time that could be used to meet customer needs and turn a profit. For this reason, stolen equipment is quickly replaced, even if the loss is temporary. As previously noted, the stolen equipment is usually stolen because it is expensive and can be resold for a profit; therefore, it is no surprise that replacing this equipment is equally expensive, if not more so. These unexpected, substantial expenses are not ideal for any company, leading to budget challenges down the road.
Loss of valuable data.
One thing that cannot simply be replaced if the stolen equipment is not recovered is the valuable data contained on that device. While this type of data can, at times, be backed up to other locations, the reality is that it often is not. After all, hosting data in multiple locations can increase the risk of security breaches, especially if that data is being held for customers. Stolen equipment that is not recovered simply renders much of this data lost and unable to be duplicated on a whim.
Interruption of daily operations.
Loss of equipment – whether stolen or misplaced – tends to interrupt daily operations, making it difficult for workers to obtain and use the equipment they need to fulfill assigned tasks. Even if the equipment is quickly replaced, there’s still a period of time in which the company is forced to move forward without having full resources available. This results in decreased productivity and disrupted processes, leading to workplace tensions over limited resources and increased cycle time for customers.
Loss of company reputation.
Anything that harms productivity and uptime runs the risk of diminishing a company’s overall reputation. Customers and clients expect a certain level of service from the companies providing them with products or rental equipment, whatever the case may be. When that service is diminished, the reason rarely matters to them. All they see is an increased wait and the resulting disruption of their own processes. This is especially true if companies begin to have recurring problems with equipment theft, which might drive customers to quit using their services due to repeated delays and a perceived inability to address issues within the company itself.
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Combating Theft with Equipment Tracking
Even beyond the detailed complications, the simple truth is stolen equipment is rarely recovered. It’s difficult to locate what’s been taken, and the search process can be more expensive or time-consuming than just cutting your losses and replacing the equipment. Equipment tracking provides a way to recover stolen equipment and discourage theft.
With equipment tracking, companies can retain location visibility for their equipment. They can either monitor just when it leaves a specified area or wherever the equipment is moved, whenever the equipment is moved. For valuable equipment, much of the appeal is rooted in the second option. However, the first has its place if strong security measures are in place, making it feasible to intercept the stolen equipment before it is removed from the premises entirely.
This technology helps combat equipment theft in the following ways:
Maintaining visibility of important equipment.
As noted previously, it is challenging to recover equipment once it is stolen, to the point where it often makes more sense to simply replace it. Equipment tracking can provide a way to locate and recover stolen equipment when this occurrence takes place. Through GPS tracking and similar technologies, a piece of equipment's location can be brought up on the asset tracking system to conduct a recovery.
Alerting operators of equipment leaving the premises.
Another option we discussed is the possibility of a limited system that alerts operators when stolen equipment is leaving the facility. This might not be the best option for all companies, depending on the size of the facility or the scope of their security, but it is a strong option for some. This process is usually referred to as geofencing, which allows for existing security measures to be enforced when triggered. It may provide a viable solution for companies with a strong security basis. Alternatively, a company might choose to implement a combination of both where precise location tracking is activated after equipment is removed from a designated area.
Creating complications for those who would steal equipment.
Even just having a tracking system in place can deter those considering stealing equipment. By putting even an easily dismantled tracking system in place, operators communicate knowledge of theft attempts and mindfulness of continuing issues. In other words, the system shows that people are watching for the worst and are, therefore, more likely to notice any attempts at theft. Just showing that you are being mindful of the problem’s existence can help combat the problem itself.
Equipment Tracking Solutions with Link Labs
Link Labs offers an asset tracking system that can help you prevent and address equipment theft. If you’re looking to address these issues within your company, book a demo today to learn more about our offerings and the benefits of implementing an asset tracking solution.