Small and compact machines are susceptible to theft because they’re easy to transport and often hold high resale value. Cygnus Business Media’s 2014 Construction Theft Survey reports that 83 percent of construction equipment owners were victims of theft and 64 percent never recovered the equipment. In fact, one company’s experience with machine theft led to a complete overhaul in fleet management strategy. Ideker Inc., a family-owned construction operation based in St. Joseph, Missouri, has had two machines stolen in the last 12 months.
In 2013, the company’s Cat® 289C Skid Steer Loader was stolen off of a project and was never found. Soon after, in May 2014, a brand new Cat 272D Skid Steer Loader was taken during off hours. Thanks to the standard Cat security system found in the new D Series Skid Steer Loader, the machine was quickly recovered.
The multi-language security display requires a 4, 5, or 6-digit code that’s programmed by the customer before the machine will start. An optional advanced display can hold up to 50 customizable security codes with the ability to retain operator preferences.
“We planned to install a remote monitoring system before taking the Cat 272D into the field, but we were confident in the security system it already had,” said Ken Ideker, Vice President of Purchasing and part owner of Ideker Inc. “We needed the machine right away because we were pressed for time on a project. Once we set up our security code, we pushed forward.”
A few days into the project, the truck and trailer holding the machine were stolen from a hotel parking lot near the jobsite. The company immediately contacted the police to file a report and reached out to their local Cat dealer, Foley Equipment, for additional support.
“The machine didn’t even have 20 hours on it before it was stolen,” said Ideker. “Foley quickly provided another machine so we could continue working, and our rep alerted the company’s network, which resulted in a recovered machine before the police report was fully processed. Foley went above and beyond for us.”
The offenders broke into the truck that was attached to the equipment trailer and drove away to a nearby residential area. Security cameras show the criminals attempting to start the Cat 272D for several hours without success. They eventually abandoned the truck and reattached the trailer to another vehicle before hauling the equipment to a different location. A Foley Equipment representative searching the area recognized the stolen equipment and called it in.
“The equipment was parked near another jobsite, making it difficult to gauge whether or not it was stolen. I knew the security system would keep them from starting the machine, because it would take someone really smart to get around it,” said Ideker. “I thought we’d find it, but it would be stripped of anything valuable and/or set on fire. When they couldn’t figure out how to start the machine, they took the computer out of the dash and stole the owner’s manual. Fortunately in this case, the damage was minimal.”
Since recovering the machine, Ideker Inc. has made loss prevention a top priority. Plans have been made to install Cat Product Link™, a remote monitoring fleet management system, on all six of its mobile machines to improve performance and avoid lost equipment in the future. Using telematics, Product Link tracks equipment location, provides utilization reports and analyzes performance allowing machine owners to maximize efficiency and lower operating costs.
“The factory-installed security system kept those guys from taking the machine, which is the main reason why we recovered it,” said Ideker. “We’ve been using Cat products for three generations, and we’ve been working with Foley Equipment for a long time. They provide everything you’d want and need from a dealer, and we plan to continue that partnership.”