Equipment theft is an ever-present problem rental businesses are faced with. Regularly investing large amounts of money in new equipment and machinery presents numerous risks in itself, let alone adding the worry and burden of equipment being stolen. It’s incredibly important for businesses to consider putting precautions in place to help prevent theft, as well as make it easier to recover equipment.
Here’s a look at just a few technologies rental businesses might consider implementing in the fight towards preventing and reducing equipment theft.
More and more rental businesses are adopting telematics systems. Never before have businesses been able to access such vital information about their equipment, whenever they need to. Traditionally built for GPS tracking, telematics has evolved tremendously, allowing users to analyze granular aspects of equipment performance and operator use.
As mentioned, telematics provides GPS tracking, which is a great tool for locating equipment that has already been stolen. However, geo-fencing and time fencing have been introduced to prevent theft. These intuitive features contribute greatly to stopping equipment being stolen in the first place. Geo-fencing allows businesses to mark a certain area where the equipment can be operated. If the equipment leaves the specified area, an alert will be sent to the business and the equipment will be disabled.
Time-fencing works in a similar fashion. System operators can set time frames of which the equipment can be operated in. If somebody tries to start the equipment outside of these hours, they will not be able to. In addition, the machine will be disabled and a text or email alert sent to the business.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems are another great way to combat equipment theft. Hand-held as well as vehicle mounted readers help to locate missing or stolen equipment. RFID technologies comprise of a reader and a tag. This tag contains a microchip and an antenna, the microchip logs data, while the antenna transmits this back to the reader, allowing businesses to track the location of the equipment.
Distributing unique RFID badges amongst employees and fitting equipment with its own scanner will make it easier to pin-point who last had possession of the equipment before it went missing. This makes it easier to form a chain of events that led up to equipment being taken.
Keyless Ignition or Transponder Chip Keys
Many manufacturers use the same ignition across an entire product line, meaning one key fits all. This presents positives such as being able to operate all equipment easily, it’s easy to get new keys cut, and there is less time spent trying to find lost keys. However, it also makes equipment incredibly easy to steal. A great solution to this one-size fits all problem is the keyless ignition.
The keyless ignition system works on a secure PIN basis. To get the equipment up and running, the operator is required to enter a pre-programmed PIN. A great feature for rental businesses is the ability to set an expiry date for the PIN. You can also permanently delete an employee’s unique PIN should they leave the company. Equipping the keyless ignition or fuel pump circuit with wireless relays will also help to prevent the equipment being hotwired.
The mere presence of security cameras can be a put-off for any would-be thieves. Investing in highly visible cameras is an immediate deterrent and already greatly reduces the chances of your equipment being stolen. However, if the thief attempts to make-off with the equipment despite the clearly noticeable cameras, the images provide by the CCTV can be a great help in identifying the culprit.
Motion detectors and infrared sensors mean cameras can be activated by both movement and heat. With theft highly likely to occur in the hours of darkness, cameras that provide either night-vision or thermal imaging are a great bonus. More and more security cameras can now be viewed live and even controlled from a web portal, meaning you can monitor your site 24/7. You can set the system to send you alerts should the motion sensor be triggered out of hours, allowing you to act quickly and protect your equipment.
Rental Management Software
A rental management system allows you to store details of your equipment including make, model, serial numbers, who’s using it and the site it’s on. This information can be incredibly useful when it comes to giving a statement to police as you will be able to provide incredibly accurate information regarding the equipment.
Also, a sophisticated rental management package will provide the ability to integrate with your other platforms such as telematics, RFID tags and keyless ignition systems. Integrating with these technologies will allow you to keep all your data in one system, making it easier to analyze and cross reference. Being able to bring all these technologies together increases the impact each one can have upon your efforts to combatting theft.
Identify A Security Plan
Remember, implementing one of the above tools is not going to completely eradicate equipment theft. Looking at a combination of the above, deciding what is best suited to your needs, and building a solid security plan will enable you to reduce and prevent theft in the future.