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How to Secure Asset Storage for Construction Site Theft Prevention

Nov 15, 2022
TOPIC: Asset Tracking
3 min read
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This post originally appeared on the Falcon Structures Think Inside the Box® Blog.

For construction project managers, risk management plays a critical role in the success of every project, and among the key risks at any construction site is potential theft.

The National Equipment Register and National Insurance Crime Bureau estimate $400 million in annual construction site theft costs. Their report states the obvious: theft occurs most often in areas with less security.

Construction project managers invest in diverse, layered security measures to thwart would-be thieves, including:

  • Fencing the construction site perimeter
  • Installing security cameras, both as a preventive measure and to identify and prosecute thieves who break in
  • Hanging signs alerting loiterers or intruders to video surveillance
  • Controlling access to assets and inventory by issuing keys only to supervisors
  • Training all workers on tool inventory procedures
  • Recording equipment check-ins and check-outs

In addition to these measures, modified shipping containers offer yet another layer of protection against theft. Not only is a shipping container incredibly secure and durable, but it also keeps valuable assets out of sight during off-hours, helping keep theft out of mind.

But looting isn’t the only risk to high-value assets like expensive tools and equipment.

Today’s construction projects are fast-moving operations with high headcounts, third-party contractors, and constantly changing conditions. Multiple service providers on site can increase complexity, and tools and equipment can be lost or misplaced due to honest worker error, as well as theft.

Leaders in the construction industry are increasingly using asset management technologies like barcode scanning, IoT (internet of things) sensors, and RAIN RFID (radio frequency identification) tags and labels. Investing in more advanced asset management technologies can help companies do an even better job securing and tracking equipment, tools, and consumables inventories. Adding these inventory and asset management capabilities to a secure modified shipping container can help construction project managers improve both inventory visibility and site security.

I recently sat down for a chat with Marissa Morin from Falcon Structures to talk about how asset and inventory management technologies can make modified shipping containers an even more secure equipment storage solution. Here are the top takeaways from our conversation.

Construction Site Security: Sometimes, More is More

While fences, cameras, and even human security guards go a long way toward protecting and securing valuable equipment and assets, it’s important to keep this in mind:

Thieves are less likely to steal what they can’t see.

That’s one key way a modified shipping container improves protection for high-value assets. Unlike traditional trailers, a shipping container’s security and durability are hard to beat, even after it’s been modified to meet the demands of the job. Whether it’s been modified for use as storage or an onsite construction office, a shipping container can add a safe, sheltered workspace that locks securely at the end of each workday.

And the simplicity of the container makes it an ideal option for adding extra layers of security technology like an asset management solution using barcode labels and scanners and/or IoT technologies.

Item-Level Asset Management Systems Deliver Real-Time Inventory Visibility

Using a combination of barcode labels, mobile scanners, RFID tags, asset management software solutions, and IoT-equipped secure storage solutions, construction site managers can effectively create smart equipment enclosures with capabilities including:

  • Equipment check-in/check-out and chain of custody
  • Maintenance schedule tracking and reporting
  • Hours of use monitoring and alerts
  • RFID location tracking
  • Enclosure access control
  • Consumables inventory monitoring

Considering the difference in cost between RFID labels and barcode labels, it makes the best sense to apply barcode labels and use scanners to check most common items in and out. High-value tools and equipment that requires maintenance or hours-of-service record-keeping are better candidates for RFID solutions.

IoT sensors can also be used to secure storage and allow only authorized access, using RFID-tagged security badges for personnel. This solution not only secures access; it also creates a digital access log of every access instance, including the date, time, location, and the identity of the individual assigned to the RFID tag.

Data Capture Can Add Even Greater Business Value

An asset tracking and management system can also help construction businesses tap into the value of data, monitoring inventory levels and use of tools and consumables, to better inform sourcing and purchasing decisions and find new opportunities to work more efficiently. Learn more about different use cases for an asset tracking and management system by clicking here or below.

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