Guide to Fleet Asset Loss Prevention In 2021

If fleet management is your business, asset loss or theft is a significant problem you have already or will likely face. It’s stated that 12-25% of assets on the ledger is actually a ghost asset (an asset that can’t legitimately be accounted for because it’s missing or damaged to the point of being unusable).

In 2019, the FBI also claimed $139.7 million worth of cargo was stolen from vehicles in the United States. This statistic is based on 721 incidents, with only 27 states in the US reporting to law enforcement, and excludes the majority of theft that goes unreported. This may mean that the actual number of dollars is much higher than what’s presently recorded.

Of the 721 reports, about 500 of the theft incidents occurred in places we all go to every single day. This includes your local convenience stores, parking lots, garages, gas stations, roads, and industrial sites.

The amount recovered?

$3.8 million. Just 2.8% of the stolen assets.

How can your organization avoid becoming a part of this statistic? Keep reading; in this article, we’ll cover the benefits of an asset loss prevention program and provide seven effective strategies to protect your fleet’s assets in 2021.

Benefits of a Fleet Asset Loss Prevention Program

An asset loss prevention or asset tracking program are a couple of the sure-fire ways to protect your budget and cut down on unnecessary spending. In fact, when one organization implemented a robust asset tracking solution, they saved an annual $28,500. It is that important.

 

Avoid dealing with the aftermath of asset loss by properly securing and protecting your assets at the outset. Then, fleet management can prioritize other values such as employee retention, customer satisfaction, fuel efficiency, and improving everyday business operations. 

 

Here are some more reasons to get a proper asset loss prevention program in place:

 

  • First and foremost: Save money. An asset loss prevention program helps your organization avoid re-purchasing tools or equipment it’s already purchased or having to make expensive repairs. Even smaller items like torches or screwdrivers can add up a lot if neglected and unaccounted for. More seriously, any lost or damaged assets could compromise your ability to meet customer needs and make a significant dent in your budget in the form of lost business. In fact, a PWC report claims that 17% of all customers would completely walk away after just one negative customer experience.
  • Set the tone against thieves. With an effective asset loss prevention program in place, your fleet will never be an easy target. Most thefts are spontaneous acts of opportunity—don’t give them one. If they decide to try anyway, your prevention efforts that are set in place will likely thwart their entire plan.
  • Minimize risk and conflict. Fleet managers already spend enough time dealing with worker complaints. (It’s estimated that managers spend anywhere from 25-40% of their time on workplace conflicts.) Eliminate a big source of conflict by creating a fail-safe asset loss prevent program. An asset loss prevention program also eliminates the administrative paperwork that always falls onto the fleet manager’s plate every time there’s an incident. 

Asset loss prevention is also about protecting tools and equipment from damage. By preventing damage to your assets, you decrease the likelihood of equipment misuse and therefore, employee injury. 

  • Optimize all your resources. A part of asset management is keeping precise records of all tools and gear; you must know what you have and where everything is. Once that’s determined, you can better decide how to use all resources on deck. Cut costs by restoring different assets into working order again. Get use out of everything you have, and sell anything that no longer provides a purpose for your fleet. And with those saved dollars, refocus your attention on higher-reward fleet operations.

6 Ways to Protect Your Assets

1. Track Drivers/Workers and All Assets

Delivery man sitting in a delivery van

Employees can be unpredictable, and little things can add up. Are your workers making a detour pitstop that’s during their downtime, but are still on your dime? If they leave their vehicle, does that leave your assets vulnerable to theft or damage? Let’s look at a couple of things you can implement to ensure these things aren’t happening.

  • GPS tracking and telematics – Today, telematics software is aplenty and each has unique features for respective fleet operations. Most fleet management software allows fleet managers to optimize routes, track vehicle location and safety metrics, and even detect any fuel-wasting driver behavior. Here are just a few fleet management software to explore:
  • Maintain accurate logs and calendars – Keeping accurate records of which employee is with which vehicle and when, noting appointments and checking them against real-time information, and confirming delivery dispatches and arrivals all do one thing: protect your assets and save you money. Research shows that unorganized data and inaccurate logs can cost the average organization up to 30% of their revenue, amounting anywhere from $9.7 million to $14.2 million a year.

(A side benefit to maintaining accurate logs is better fleet vehicle maintenance. You’ll be able to tell if a truck is not performing up to par by comparing how much gas it burns to mileage traveled and take action before a little problem becomes a supply chain nightmare for your dispatcher.)

Tracking drivers and workers isn’t about micromanaging; it’s all about optimization and maximizing productivity. This means more jobs get done, which just means more happy clients.

2. Secure Your Vehicle

secure your fleet toolbox

Fleet managers and workers need to take measures to keep every fleet vehicle and its cargo safe. That’s one of the reasons we designed the DECKED Drawer System and Tool Box. We all need secure storage that doesn’t take up the whole truck bed or van or add any weight that affects our fuel savings.

  • DECKED Drawers – The DECKED Drawer System is custom-made to fit nearly all full and mid-size trucks (and even some vans too). The DECKED drawers provide quick and easy access to the full length of the truck bed, gliding out effortlessly at waist-height. Because you can’t see the DECKED Drawer System unless you look right into the truck bed, thieves don’t even realize there are thousands of dollars worth of tools secured inside. 
  • DECKED Tool Box – The Tool Box is constructed with injection-molded, high-impact polymer resin and will prevent any thief from taking off with your assets. Because it’s molded (and not welded), it’s completely sealed whenever shut and its aluminum hardware makes it nearly impenetrable when locked.
  • DECKED Boxes and Locks – Adding locks to the drawers provide two points of security (the other being: you can’t get into DECKED in the first place if a locking tailgate is up). Dustproof and waterproof boxes like the D-Box and Crossbox that are integrated into the system provide full protection for sensitive equipment. DECKED’s modular storage components are also water and dustproof inside the DECKED system, AND once you carry it to the job site.

3. Keep Everything Out of Sight

Keep commercial tools hidden

Keeping your belongings out of view is sometimes overlooked. This simple mistake can lead to thousands of dollars in reparation. There are several ways to make it easier for your commercial vehicle drivers and workers to keep things out of sight, including: 

  • Tint or black out the windows. Make it harder for prying eyes to peer in. No one’s going to chance getting caught breaking windows if they don’t actually know what’s behind it.
  • Add hidden storage space for personal items. Seat covers with integrated pockets or under-seat boxes are ideal and make it easier for your workers to keep personal items out of sight. 
  • Organize work tools and equipment into drawers. The DECKED system brings organization to another level. The entire drawer length is easily accessible, so the tool boxes can be accessed while still in the back of the truck. This makes putting tools away in their proper place after each job almost effortless. Making it a part of your safety program is another sure-fire way to prevent asset damage or loss. Organizing tools into drawers is an advantage over other tool boxes that practically act as a billboard advertising expensive tools that are inside. 

MHS Cranes, leaders in the crane and hoist industry told us: “Theft reduction is a big focus for our fleet. External tool boxes are always targets. DECKED systems can’t be seen unless you look right in the truck bed, so they seem to go unnoticed while still holding and protecting your tools. Security is a big deal—tools are expensive, and techs often buy their own tools. DECKED keeps tools and important safety items protected.”

  • Require vehicles and contents to be secured. Yes, make it a rule. Keeping things out of sight should be a standard anti-theft procedure. That includes both personal and work equipment items like phones, laptops, and trade tools. Items such as keys and identification badges should ideally be attached to the employee at all times. A report found that 229,339 accounts of vehicle theft and damage occurred when the key was left inside or visible in the vehicle.

4. Protect Against Weather

What’s one of the most hazardous situations for tools, equipment, and cargo? Water and weather damage. No matter how inexpensive tarps and bungee cords may be, don’t be tempted to choose this option. It may only cost you in the long run. 

Additionally, most metal tool box solutions aren’t always 100% weatherproof (especially after a few years of rusting and perforating). We have a much better solution and a couple of helpful tips.

  • DECKED Drawer System – The entire DECKED Drawer System is fully weatherproof, so the drawer contents are kept bone dry and safe from whatever Mother Nature throws its way. Rust and scratch-resistant, DECKED drawers’ rugged construction means they’ll keep their contents safe and secure. And any integrated storage compartment will remain dry, too. All DECKED boxes are dust and waterproof, so they’ll keep everything doubly safe and protected inside of the drawers and on site.
  • DECKED Tool Box – The DECKED Tool Box can withstand the harshest of weather conditions. The Tool Box has a seamless lid and tub that provides watertight architecture and protection from all of the elements. It won’t dent, perforate, or rust, leaving everything inside just the way they’re meant to be. Developed to be the most secure tool box on the market, the DECKED Tool Box protects all of your tools and equipment against anything the elements have to throw at it.
  • Don’t leave the windows down or assets in the truck bed. Put all assets away properly before wrapping up for the day. The easier this is to do, the more likely it is that your workers will do it! Make this as easy as possible with DECKED.
  • Handle and clean tools properly. Make sure you aren’t using any harsh chemicals to clean tools and equipment. MHS Cranes seems to think so, too: “Workers carry tons of stuff—these items need to be protected from elements different cleaning products.” 

5. Invest in Anti-Theft Technology

Anti-theft technology comes in a variety of forms. Theft deterrents and theft-interruption technologies work in different ways, and they work even better together. Make use of various theft deterrent options in addition to automotive theft interruption tech for a layered approach to fleet security. 

  • Alarms – The first layer of anti-theft. While alarms are getting more advanced, thieves are getting more advances in their tactics, too. Some alarms, even the most complex of them, won’t stop a professional thief if they know how to work that system. 

Pairing an alarm system with a fuel cut-off system is an effective way to stop your vehicle from being stolen. Those systems can be expensive if you have a large commercial vehicle fleet, so consider how big your theft problem is, and decide accordingly. Say one truck is stolen every year. How big is that loss? If you can protect a big portion of your fleet for the same cost as one lost truck, it’s worth the investment.

  • GPS and telematics – GPS is a great way of increasing your chances of retrieving stolen vehicles and assets or ensuring your employees are staying on course. Using geofencing technology and telematics, the vehicle can be precisely pinpointed to its exact location. It can be a real lifesaver if a driver runs off the road in a snowstorm or in the worst case, is a victim of auto theft.
  • Cameras – Cameras installed in the driver’s area will help to identify anyone who sits in the seat, while surveillance cameras keeping an eye on the fleet parking area can be used to identify a thief. Cameras are great deterrents—just having them is enough to make a thief think twice.
  • DECKED – Finally, invest in a solution that provides not one, but two points of anti-theft and locking mechanisms. The first: the locked tailgate being up. And the second: you can lock the drawers themselves.

6. Organize and Protect with DECKED

Whether your load is standard or changes daily, the DECKED Drawer System and Tool Box will keep your tools secure, dry, and organized. You know where your things are, how many there are, and can notice if anything’s missing. Further protect all your assets and optimize organization by:

  • Placing your most commonly used items together in a Drawerganizer inside the DECKED Drawer System.
  • Organizing your gear into a few compartments using DECKED’s high-quality dividers.
  • Using labels to identify the contents of each drawer or compartment.
  • Keeping inventories updated and having a running list of all tools, gear, and equipment.
  • Keeping emergency equipment (ie, fire extinguishers, first-aid kits, etc.) together, so in the event of an emergency situation, everything you need is at hand and easy to identify and access.
  • Using foam inserts for any specialty of fragile equipment.
  • Using the DECKED Drawer System’s modular internal accessories to further organize your tools and gear. 
  • Taking full advantage of all DECKED’s modular storage solutions.

Asset Loss Prevention is Made Easy by DECKED

Protecting your fleet’s assets isn’t just about vehicle or cargo theft. It’s also about keeping your vehicles in good maintenance, preventing tools and cargo from being damaged in severe weather or collisions, and keeping your employees safe. It is an entire ecosystem of strategies that will boost the overall health of any organization and ultimately improve that bottom line.

Companies that actively prioritize their asset loss prevention efforts prevent wasted days or hassle-filled weeks trying to recover lost items. And companies that invest in proper security and weatherproof storage lose a lot less than those that don’t. 

Check off the points in DECKED’s printable table below to be sure that your asset loss prevention program is robust and effective.

Fleet Asset Loss Prevention — Are You Doing It?

Track Drivers/Workers and All Assets

  • Do you have a system to track who is driving which vehicles and when?

𝤿

  • Are you maintaining accurate logs and calendars?

𝤿

Secure Your Vehicle

  • Do you have DECKED products to keep your tools and equipment completely secured?

𝤿

  • Are you using locks wherever and whenever necessary?

𝤿

Keep Everything Out of Sight

  • Are your windows tinted or blacked out?

𝤿

  • Is all your equipment or personal items away from view/not on your seats?

𝤿

Protect Against Weather

  • Do you have a storage solution (DECKED) that is secure, durable and weatherproof?

𝤿

  • Are you making sure your windows are up and assets aren’t left out on the truck bed?

𝤿

  • Are you storing all your equipment in their optimal conditions?

𝤿

Invest in Anti-Theft Technology

  • Do you have a GPS or tracking device installed?

𝤿

  • Are you implementing any vehicle alarm systems?

𝤿

  • Do you have any source of video-recording? Dash-cams or video cameras over parking lots?

𝤿

  • Are you locking all of your tools and gear inside a DECKED Drawer System or Tool Box?

𝤿

Organize and Protect with DECKED

  • Are you placing your most commonly used items together in a Drawerganizer?

𝤿

  • Are you organizing your gear into compartments using DECKED’s dividers?

𝤿

  • Are you keeping inventory lists updated and accurate?

𝤿

  • Do you have emergency equipment on hand and ready to identify and access?

𝤿

  • Do you have foam inserts for specialty or fragile equipment?

𝤿

  • Are you taking full advantage of DECKED secure and modular storage systems?

𝤿