Every week, I receive news reports of rural equipment being stolen from dealerships, sheds and garages. Has your dealership been hit by thieves? Even once is one time too many.

Power Centers of Madison shared their story of a chain saw thief at their Middleton, Wis., location, and how they were able to retrieve one stolen saw 5 years later. Duane Nolden, co-owner, mentions the idea of GPS tracking, but the expense doesn’t make it viable, especially for outdoor power equipment.

However, there’s another technology that STIHL introduced earlier this year in Great Britain in a partnership with a company called MicroCESAR. The company adapted the country’s CESAR (Construction Equipment Security and Registration) system that has been in place for larger equipment.

MicroCESAR uses datatag security marking technologies to give each piece of equipment a unique and permanent “fingerprint” that can’t be removed. When (or if) a piece of stolen equipment is recovered, a combination of RFID transponder technology and a tamper-proof warning/registration label with an integrated QR code is used to identify ownership. The technology can also be used by dealers or owners to assist in inventory management and more.

In a story for Construction Index, STIHL managing director Robin Lennie said: “Over recent years, we have seen an increase in incidents of theft in the industry. With loss of equipment, damage to property and insurance issues —the impact on the dealer is huge. As a leading equipment manufacturer, we feel it is our duty to respond and help our dealers protect their stock and offer their customers peace of mind. We are confident that this partnership with MicroCESAR will help reduce crime in the industry.”

Currently, the technology is installed in the full range of cut-off saws, prior to shipping to dealers. When a piece of equipment is sold, the dealer registers it on MicroCESAR’s database. Dealers have been educated on the technology and are educating their customers. A STIHL rep admits that the best way for the message to be spread is for convictions as a result of the tagging.

Regardless, it’s a start and the technology is proven. STIHL is monitoring its success and may consider rolling out the technology to other product categories. The technology is currently limited to Great Britain because of the established CESAR system and a rep for STIHL in the U.S. says, “There are no current implementation plans here in the U.S., but similar technologies could be considered down the road.”

Theft prevention needs to be addressed in the OPE market in North America. If you’re feeling the impact or just sick of the hassle of trying to prevent thefts on your own, step up your efforts with your manufacturers or dealer associations and help find a technology solution.

And, in the meantime, share your theft-prevention ideas with us so we can keep the discussion going, regardless of whether they are high-tech or low-tech.