PDF: Read how Northern Tool & Equipment Uses GPS Tracking

There are unique hurdles to developing a successful loss prevention plan for construction, industrial and Outdoor Power Equipment, hurdles that Todd Gulbranson, Corporate Loss Prevention Manager, with Northern Tool & Equipment knows all too well.


Outdoor power equipment theft has become a huge problem that is getting worse. Recent national surveys suggest that the total in losses and associated costs could be as high as $1 billion annually, with less than 10% of this equipment ever being recovered.

Grab-and-runs have become a criminal staple in this segment of the retail industry. And while it may seem basic, these types of thefts are one of the most difficult types of crime to prevent:

  • Anytime that a showcase is unlocked, or merchandise is left on display, it becomes a target
  • Refusing to show merchandise to customers for fear of theft discourages sales and is not a sustainable way to
    do business.

While some thieves act on opportunities to steal relatively inexpensive goods, many go to elaborate lengths to target expensive, high-end equipment.

Such was the case with Northern Tool & Equipment, a family-owned and operated provider of industrial and construction tools. Approximately 18 months ago, the company began to experience an increase in grab-and-run thefts of high-value products across its chain of over 100 stores.

Todd recognized the power of technology and wanted to leverage it to radically drive down shrink. Some of his must-haves were:

  • Immediate ROI
  • Vendor with significant market presence
  • Ties to local law enforcement


Northern Tool installed Asset Tracker in three test locations for two months. Asset Tracker was placed inside packaging of documented high theft products at these test stores. Gulbranson states,

“ The installation process was surprisingly simple; sales and the technical team partnered seamlessly to get the stores up and running.”


The program was a great success. Integrating GPS technology into their loss prevention strategy has enabled Northern Tool & Equipment to:

  • Work with local police more effectively as the device provides real-time geo-mapping data
  • Prevent theft while reducing the risk of harm to employees and customers
  • Identify and prosecute subjects involved
  • Recover stolen items
  • Safely display high-value equipment to maximize sales
  • Improve store morale through increased arrests and merchandise recoveries

Due to overwhelming support from police agencies, Northern Tool recouped the initial installation costs for the tracker in less than three months, and to date has recovered over $15,000 in stolen assets.

Since rolling out the 3SI Asset Trackers in several locations, criminals are now being apprehended by Law Enforcement and our items are being recovered which has led to a steady decrease in theft attempts.”

The chain has plans to continually grow the program and are now in the process of evaluating various stores across the country for expanded use of Asset Tracker.

3SI’s Asset Tracker is designed to protect retail assets 24/7. The Tracker combines three location-based technologies in a single tracking device designed to be easily hidden in frequently stolen items.

Retail Solutions

Retail stores are frequently targeted for crime. Fortunately, 3SI offers an inexpensive and highly effective suite of solutions. Visit our retail product page to learn more.