Can you afford to invest in an equipment monitoring system? The better question might be, can you afford not to?
Radio Frequency technology assists in equipment recovery
It's pretty easy to steal construction equipment:
A title and registration for construction equipment is not mandated as it is with autos.
Construction equipment doesn't have VINs, it has PINs that are not always located in the same place.
A lot of jobsites are not secured or are poorly secured.
Universal keys that start many pieces of equipment can be bought on eBay.
Those are among the reasons
why construction equipment is easy to steal, according to Paul McMahon, director of corporate communications for LoJack Corp.
in Westwood, MA.
LoJack at this time does not offer equipment management that monitors how often your equipment is used, for example. LoJack specializes in the tracking and recovery of stolen mobile assets.
For use on equipment with wheels or tracks, the LoJack System has been available to automobile owners since 1986 and owners of construction equipment since 1998.
In February of 2005, LoJack made its 1,000th construction equipment recovery in the United States. A stolen 2002 Ingersoll-Rand loader was tracked and recovered by the Essex County (New Jersey) Sheriff's Office using LoJack's Stolen Vehicle Recovery System, which is directly integrated with law enforcement vehicles, helicopters and aircraft.
For this recovery, the vehicle was tracked down in 15 minutes. After a police report was filed, the LoJack System was activated by police. Silent radio signals were sent out from a radio transceiver (about the size of a deck of cards) hidden on the loader. Officers tracked the radio frequency signal to Newark. After obtaining a search warrant to enter the property, officers found several pieces of stolen construction equipment from three separate locations.
Radio Frequency (RF) is effective for stolen vehicle recovery because it's covert — there's no telltale antenna or equipment, and it can penetrate many obstructions that GPS cannot, McMahon says, noting there are LoJack customers who have LoJack technology for stolen equipment recovery and GPS technology for equipment management.
In 2004 LoJack tracked and recovered more than $12,800,000 in stolen construction equipment assets, up 42 percent from 2003, according to the company's fourth annual Construction Equipment Theft Report released in October 2005.
Of the LoJack-equipped construction equipment reported stolen in 2004, 78 percent was recovered by law enforcement in less than 24 hours, with 19 percent recovered in less than one hour.
LoJack is available in 24 states and the District of Columbia, and more coverage areas are added each year. LoJack for construction equipment retails for $795, and there are no monthly fees.
When you consider the cost of construction equipment, McMahon says, "I think especially for the smaller businesses the cost justifies the investment. If you have, say, 20 pieces of equipment and you lose a couple to theft, that's a big dent in the means for you to make money."