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According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were an estimated 773,139 motor vehicle thefts across the U.S. in 2017 at an estimated value of $6 billion. According to the same data, 40.9 percent of locally stolen vehicles are never recovered. Vehicle theft isn’t just a consumer challenge. Fleets must also deal with protecting their vehicles, their most important assets behind their drivers. July is National Theft Protection Month, making this a good time for fleet managers and executives to consider how they’re protecting their assets. Here are four ways GPS fleet tracking technology can help fleets secure and protect assets. 

1. Vehicle theft
According to our 2018 Telematics Benchmark Report, 46 percent of respondents cited knowing where vehicles are at any moment as the top benefit of telematics. One Teletrac Navman customer used GPS fleet tracking and automated text message alerts to recover $135,000 worth of stolen vehicles. When the fleet coordinator received text notifications of vehicle ignition after midnight, they confirmed theft with the driver and worked with police to recover the vehicles - saving the company from purchasing new equipment. 

2. Trailer theft
With GPS tracking, even if the assets are isolated in remote areas or trailers are unhooked from the body of a vehicle, they can be located and tracked. In another customer example, one company installed GPS tracking devices into trailers during the manufacturing process. When one trailer disappeared from a rental location, the company used GPS tracking to recover the trailer the next day. 

3. Fuel theft
Managing and lowering fuel costs is a persistent, industry-wide challenge for fleets, and that’s before worrying about fuel theft, from thieves or from inadvertent actions by employees. Using telematics in company-owned vehicles, both motor vehicles and heavy-duty trucks, can enable fleets to monitor for appropriate equipment and fuel use. Monitoring vehicle use and engine hours can ensure only authorized personnel are operating vehicles at appropriate times and not for personal use. Telematics, and automated fuel reports, allow fleets to more accurately and efficiently calculate monthly fuel consumption and compare against receipt to keep fuel theft down.  

4. Small asset theft 
In the construction industry, tracking expensive pieces of heavy equipment is often a central priority, so smaller vehicle attachments or construction components can easily get lost. But for construction site managers, it’s crucial to have insight into the location of every asset, no matter the size, to ensure nothing is stolen or lost. Things like hammers, shovels, generators, carts, portable work lights, etc. can be equipped with QR codes, so managers can assign small tools a barcode that can be scanned and tracked via smartphone. This eliminates manual logging asset information, an often inaccurate and inefficient approach to asset tracking.

For transportation and construction companies, theft is an industry-wide issue that can add up and impact a company’s bottom line. In honor of National Theft Protection Month, fleets should review and revamp their theft protection measures and policies, especially how telematics can make this process easier and more foolproof, to ensure they’re keeping close tabs on the assets that keep business up and running.

Interested in learning how fleet tracking can simplify fleet management? Please visit: Teletrac Navman Fleet Management Solutions

Oswaldo Flores is a Safety & Compliance Product Manager at Teletrac Navman.

As a former fleet supervisor, Oswaldo has first-hand experience managing drivers and vehicles, ensuring his fleet maintains adherence to all internal and external regulations, policies, and guidelines, including DOT compliance, ANSI/OSHA certifications, and CHP Biennial Inspection of Terminals. Prior to his current position at Teletrac Navman, Oswaldo held fleet and compliance administrative management, fleet supervisory,  sales and business development roles with Pepsi Cola, Time Warner Cable, British Petroleum North America and Legacy Supply Chain Services.