3 ways to reduce tool theft

3 ways to reduce tool theft

According to research from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), 51% of builders in the UK are victims of tool theft, with a van broken into every 23 minutes. While vans are highly susceptible to crime, they are not the only source of tool theft.

Tools are also stolen from building sites when workers leave work (to take a break or get some lunch, for example), or as a result of warehouse break-ins.

Although it’s unfortunately impossible to eliminate tool theft, there are a number of ways you can help reduce this type of criminal activity.

1. Visible security systems and locks

Van theft from break-ins is a common issue, and the most straight-forward way to address this is through improved locks. While a heavy-duty lock won’t deter all criminals, adding an extra layer of security is likely to reduce opportunistic criminals who act quickly. This type of visible security system can be an effective deterrent to reduce crime.

Unfortunately, experienced criminals can easily force the door open on many vans, and standard locks are often not strong enough to keep out more determined thieves. Equipping vans with an extra external lock that is not connected to the vehicle’s internal system is not just a deterrent, but makes it much harder for criminals to break in.

Other types of visible security systems can also help reduce crime in vans, as well as on-site or in warehouses. Installing CCTV and advertising its use on your premises and vehicles is an effective security measure, as are visible alarm systems.

2. Utilise improved asset management systems

For companies using manual or spreadsheet-based asset management systems, it’s much harder to track where tools are - particularly if you have numerous sites across multiple locations. Tools are often passed around during the day, and without an adequate system, it’s hard to know what has happened to your equipment.

Tools can easily be taken from building sites or warehouses without being registered by manual asset management systems, and by not knowing where your tools are at all times, it becomes much harder to adequately protect equipment from theft. It also means that recovering stolen tools is much less likely if you aren’t sure where or when the tool was stolen.

Poor asset management systems can also lead to tools being misplaced or lost within the system, which means they are registered as missing or stolen. Sometimes this isn’t the case, and this lack of clarity can cause problems in terms of stock levels and procurement.

Improved asset management systems reduce the room for human error, meaning that you know who has your tools and where. If you are victim to tool theft, by knowing this information you are able to report the incident, which can help police investigate the incident, and assist you with any insurance claims.

3. Encouraging greater responsibility

Having an electronic database for your toolpark also allows you to register serial numbers, providing a detailed record of your equipment should it go missing. Many companies also mark their tools to help identify and recover them if they are stolen.

Better internal systems can also help encourage workers to take greater responsibility over their equipment. If equipment has been signed out under a person’s name, they are more likely to take greater care of tools and ensure they are returned safely so they are not culpable should an item go missing.

Encouraging this sense of responsibility is an effective way to improve the security of tools. It can help remind workers to lock tools away in site boxes when they leave, ensure vans are securely parked and locked, and stop workers from leaving tools on site at night. It also helps reduce tools being passed around and misplaced by careless workers.

Theft can have a huge impact on a business, with the loss of expensive tools leading to extra costs through procurement or hiring of replacement tools at short notice. This can lead to unwanted downtime, increased costs and unhappy clients (as well as annoyed workers and stressed management).

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to stop crime, but by improving your security and asset management systems, you can help to reduce some of the factors that lead to theft.

For more helpful advice on how managing your assets can increase efficiency in your toolpark, download our free guide on how to increase productivity. As well as essential information on inventory management, our guide is designed to help you through a range of useful tips on improving all aspects of productivity across your toolpark.