Piling Canada

Securing the Site

Construction Asset Management Targets the Digital Era
Written by Paul Adair
February 2023

Site security is a significant concern for construction companies. If it’s not, it should be.

In February 2022, an investigation into stolen equipment from a Winnipeg construction site led police to uncover a trailer with $80,000 worth of power tools; all lifted from multiple construction sites in the area.


Then in September, an $84,000 construction skid steer was stolen from a Tecumseh, Ont., construction site. A month later, in an unrelated case, the Ontario Provincial Police were trying to solve the disappearance of a $600,000 Caterpillar D6XE bulldozer stolen from a construction site in Erin.

In Kelowna, B.C., homebuilders cannot build fast enough to keep up with worksite theft of materials and tools, and contractors are even seeing freshly installed electrical wiring ripped from the walls.

Construction site theft in Canada has become a booming business. It is estimated that the pilfering of materials, equipment and machinery from the jobsite plucks approximately $300 million annually from the wallets of construction companies and impacted the Canadian economy to the tune of $1 billion in 2021. While losing valuable assets to theft can be a big hit to a company’s bottom line, the resulting delays to the project, loss of security and the potential for lost contracts can hurt even more.

“Sure, you may have protection in the form of insurance, but can you get a replacement machine in time to complete the job on schedule – especially now that the lead times for getting equipment are so long?” said Tony Nicoletti, director of sales and business development at DPL Telematics. “Being able to recapture your missing equipment or materials, or even prevent the theft from occurring in the first place, is essential for a construction company doing business today. And that’s where asset tracking comes in.”

DPL Telematics is a leading provider of advanced asset monitoring, GPS and telemetry technologies for the construction, agriculture, rental, mining, rail, fleet and oil field industries. With over 20 years of experience and more than $1 billion in customer mobile assets entrusted to the company, DPL Telematics delivers a complete suite of cellular monitoring solutions, from its revolutionary AssetView tracking device to its fleet managing FleetViewOBDII to its top-of-the-line Titan Controller Area Network bus and equipment monitoring system.

Using off the shelf batteries and no wiring, the portable AssetView series is small enough to track rental deep fryers and stump grinders – among other things

“If you’re a construction company and you need to track your materials, we have a solution for that. You want to track your trailers or your vehicles – we have solutions for that as well,” said Nicoletti. “DPL Telematics is not focused on a single product; rather, we have a complete portfolio of products backed by more than 21 years of working in this industry and [we understand] what it is our customers want.”

The fact that many of DPL Telematics’ construction customers have stuck with the company since the beginning speaks volumes to the value asset tracking and telematics provide. Moreover, client feedback has been very positive, especially when asset tracking has led to the recovery of stolen equipment or materials.

“The Titan just saved me an $80,000 backhoe,” stated a website testimonial from former equipment theft victim Bill Joiner of Joiner Construction. “I’d recommend putting it on everything you can’t afford to lose – it’s completely worth it. A small purchase now protects you from huge losses down the road. It’s an easy decision to make.”

A hardwired device, DPL Telematics’ AssetCommand Max offers tipping and rollover alerts, thanks to direct feedback from rental customers

Smaller than GPS devices, Bluetooth tags are a cost-effective way to track lower value asset inventory

“The AssetView makes it easy for me to track down a missing machine anytime,” stated a testimonial from Scott Webb at Southeastern Equipment Company. “The device is compact and easy to hide, the software is very intuitive. Now my fleet is never out of sight.”

In its simplest form, asset tracking – or asset monitoring – is knowing where things are. This information is incredibly valuable for construction companies, not just for theft mitigation, but also for various logistical reasons.

With small, Bluetooth-enabled tracking devices, construction owners can keep tabs on their equipment or materials wherever they are on the jobsite. This helps reduce the time workers spend searching down assets when required and saves money by eliminating instances of double purchasing assets that might just be sitting forgotten in a tool locker across the yard. Asset tracking also ensures that companies know where their materials are at all times and makes it easier to move those materials around to where they are most needed.

In terms of safety, DPL Telematics provides keypad options that require a code before equipment can be used, stopping anyone who might be unauthorized or uncertified from operating it in a potentially unsafe manner. Asset tracking geofences also alert owners when equipment or tools leave a specific area. Owners can even set curfews that alert them to when assets are moving after hours and shut the equipment down.

Once telematics and telemetry get added to the package, construction owners can then receive additional data about their equipment, changing the conversation from “Where are my things?” to “How much are my things being used?” or “Is my equipment sitting idle somewhere when it could be put to better use somewhere else?” Then, with higher-level telematics, owners and contractors can dig even deeper into the data and receive engine-direct information like fuel usage and fault codes.

“This tells us not only where the equipment is and how it’s being used, but also how well it’s running so you can predictably order parts,” said Nicoletti. “And we are right now just at the tip of the iceberg as to what asset tracking and data collection can offer – really, the sky’s the limit when it comes to this technology.”

As the construction sector becomes increasingly digitalized to work within an Internet of Things environment, more and more information is constantly being collected in a broader range of equipment and tools. This is why construction owners and contractors run the risk of becoming overwhelmed by data, finding out the hard way that sometimes there can be too much of a good thing.

Recognizing that data for data’s sake is of no use to anyone, DPL Telematics sits down with their customers to provide solutions that will meet the short- and long-term needs across the entire operation – from on-road vehicles to off-road equipment.

“Do you need to know that there is an issue with this machine, or are you just trying to know where your assets are located?” said Nicoletti. “Whether you’re worried about theft and about logistics, or are a dealer who wants to keep track of what’s going on inside your fleet, we will have the tracking or the data-rich telematics solution you’re looking for.”

Photo supplied by DPL Telematics

Category: Safety

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Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.

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