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It is common for humanitarian agencies manage a fleet of vehicles (cars, vans or motorbikes) to transport people. Agencies specialised in humanitarian logistics may also have to manage a fleet of trucks to regularly transport goods, water or construction materials. This chapter mainly focuses in the management of light vehicle fleets used for the transport of people. For complementary considerations and technical information related to cargo transport, such as cargo configuration, route planning and scheduling or documentation for goods transport, please refer to the road transport chapter.

Alternatives to Vehicle Fleet Management

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All these workflows should be monitored - individually and as a whole (fleet) - ensuring due performance, proper balance and adjusting when required. Overuse of resources and mechanical failure, burnout of drivers and bad behaviour, or discontent among the passengers are typical symptoms of fleet dysfunctions that should be addressed. All four of the main categories flow into a fifth basic work stream: Monitoring.

1.  Drivers

 

2.  Vehicles

 

3.  Users

 

4.  Movements 

 

5.  Monitoring 

 

Fleet Management Functions

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Fleet management can be looked at as a sequential set of steps. This overview is especially advisable when the scale of a fleet is large and when an agency owns of most of the fleet related assets and services.

1.  Planning

 

2.  Selection and acquisition

 

3.  Commissioning

 

4.  Use

 

5.  Maintenance and repair

 

6.  Monitoring

 

7.  Decommissioning and replacing

 

Fleet Planning

Fleet planning is a key strategic activity used to shape fleets and their corresponding management model to support adequate and sustainable solutions to organisational needs. Fleet planning encompasses the operational, technical, administrative and financial dimensions of individual organisations, and therefore tends to be very organisational specific.

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The basic considerations in choosing the most suitable passenger vehicle are related with its intended purpose, the number of passengers requiring simultaneous use, and length and frequency of the journeys. Three main options are to be considered at this first stage: motorbike, light vehicle or van/minibus. If transporting cargo, the required cargo capacity should be anticipated. Vehicles with independent trunk or hybrid solutions such as pick-up vehicles can be considered. Visit the road transport chapter for more information on cargo truck selection. The operating context, environmental and road conditions will affect the decision and determine technical requirements of the vehicle such as 4WD, air conditioning, or other extra features. Availability of spare parts in the local market and local knowledge and capacity to achieve all type of maintenance and repairs is also an important factor to consider. 

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If an organisation decides to acquire its own vehicles, there are a number of areas to be considered. For more information on the advantages and disadvantages of managing self-owned vehicles, please reference the section on self owned -ownrd vehicles in  in the road transport section of this guide.

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  • Km reading
  • Fuel level
  • Engine (Noise, leakage, smoke)
  • Lubrication System (Leakage, filters, pressure)
  • Cooling System (Leakage, radiator, liquid, fan, belt)
  • Air admission & injection (Air filter, fuel filter)
  • Exhaust System (fixing, leakage)
  • Fuel Tank (leakage, pipes)
  • Brake System (leaks, noise, pedal, parking brakes)
  • Suspension (soft/hard, springs, shock absorbers-bushes)
  • Tyres (pressure, tread, state and spare wheel)
  • Chassis (Cracks, fastening)
  • Body (impacts, bumpers, bonnet)
  • Doors (windows, hinges, adjustment, locks)
  • Visibility (windshield, mirrors, sun visors)
  • Seats (seat belts, fastening)
  • Electrical System (battery, starter motor, front and rear lights, Indicators, roof lights, dashboard warning/indicators, wiping system, horn)
  • Availability of Jacks & Tools
  • Administrative Documents (Registration, Chassis & Engine Nº, Vehicle insurance)
  • A guide for users to mark where physical damages might show on the body:
Sedan

4x4

Van

 

A template for a daily physical inspection might look like:

Adapted from IFRC

 

It is required to cross-check the vehicle identification (chassis number and engine number) with the administrative documents and the owner identification. Any uncertainty about the ownership or mismatch between the vehicle and the presented documentation should immediately disqualify the vehicle from service.

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Equally important to the mechanical condition of the rental vehicle are the rental driver’s health condition, driving skills, administrative permits, driving and working behaviour and required knowledge to operate the vehicle in the required context, such as speaking local language and the geography that will be travelled. For further information on this matter, refer to the below section on recruitment: selecting and testing drivers.

If rental of vehicles is a long-term strategy, consider keeping a pool of “rental” drivers that can be engage upon request. Validating and instructing batches of several drivers in a single session will reduce the time spent in this important activity.

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ROAD:

Blantyre - Lilongwe

Duration:

4h 30min

LAST UPDATE: 24/5/2010

   

Distance:

305 Km

 

LOCATION

CONTIN. TIME

CONTIN. KM

GPS

Comms coverage

Remarks

Blantyre

0:00

0 km

 

 

 

Round about

0:10

7 km

 

 

 

Lunzu

0:17

15 km

 

 

trading centre

Lirangwe

0:31

31 km

 

 

trading centre

Mdeka

0:40

42 km

 

 

 

Zalewa

0:48

52 km

 

 

police station

Cross M1 - M6

0:49

53 km

 

 

 

Phalula

1:09

81 km

 

 

 

Senzani

1:20

99 km

 

 

 

Manjawira

1:25

108 km

 

 

 

Chingen

1:30

115 km

 

 

police station + 1st petrol station

Cross M1 / M5 / M8

 

 

 

 

Kampebuza

1:48

137 km

 

 

trading centre

 

1:58

147 km

 

 

Border Ntcheu DC

Ntcheu

2:01

149 km

 

 

Capital District - Hospital DC

Tsangano

2:20

158 km

 

 

Police station + border Malawi-Moç

Lizulu

2:46

195 km

 

 

Trading centre

Bembeki

2:54

207 km

 

 

Diversion secondary Rd to Mangochi

Dedza

3:05

219 km

 

 

Police station + petrol station

Chimbiya

3:35

243 km

 

 

Trading centre

Kampata

3:55

272 km

 

 

 

Nathenje

4:04

283 km

 

 

Customs police

Nanjiri

4:12

292 km

 

 

Trading centre

 

4:16

295 km

 

 

Border Lilongwe DC

Mitundu

4:18

297 km

 

 

Police station + petrol station

Lilongwe

4:30

305 km

 

 

Town entry

The road-book has indications or milestones based on data points form along the route: distance, time and other relevant information for the journey, such as communications coverage, hospitals, police stations, petrol stations, etc. Road-books can also help for briefing during driver’s induction or to determine communication points for movement tracking purposes.

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Before starting the vehicle engine for first use in the day, the driver should take 10 minutes to check:

  • Engine oil level.
  • Coolant level.
  • Brake and clutch fluid level.
  • Windscreen washer water level.
  • Cleanness of radiator.
  • Condition of all tyres, including the spare tyre (pressure by sight, cracks on both sides).
  • Possible leaks under the car.

After starting the vehicle, the driver should listen for abnormal noises, check indicators, lighting and dashboard warning lights, and look for the presence of all required equipment.

Once per week (recommended at the end of the week), the driver should take 1 hour to:

  • Clean the vehicle inside and outside.
  • Clean the air filter.
  • Check the battery (proper fixation and water level).
  • Check power steering oil level.
  • Check steering wheel free play.
  • Check tyre pressure and condition of the tyres (see tyre pressure table).
  • Check for presence of valve caps.
  • Check and clean front and rear axle breather.
  • Check exhaust pipe and silencer condition and fixation.
  • Check the springs and all bushes from the front and rear suspension.
  • Check shock absorbers (check bushes and no leaks).
  • Check front and rear stabiliser bar bushes control.
  • Check functioning of doors, locks, seat belts and (warning) lights.

 

In case of any identified problems, the driver should record them in the vehicle logbook and inform the fleet manager, who will evaluate the scale of the damage and to plan all relevant arrangements.

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For an overview of self-managed fuel supplies, please review the section on stocking and managing fuel at the end of this guide.

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Movements in Unknown Areas

  • Organise the planned movement well in advance.
  • Minimise the number of passengers.
  • Define the roles and responsibilities among the team members. Ensure that at least one driver plus a passenger are in each vehicle.
  • Communicate with relevant stakeholders in the area and assess their capacity to deliver assistance in case of need. Inform them about the journey schedule and itinerary.
  • Assistance may be unavailable: bring vehicle recovery kit. A second vehicle is highly recommended in order to provide assistance in case of severe breakdown.
  • Resources could be scarce: bring food and water.
  • Depending on the duration of the journey and if overnights are possible, consider bringing additional fuel and the appropriate number of sleeping sets.
  • Assess communication networks in the areas of the planned movement
  • Bring several communication devices using different technologies.
  • Ensure one person is monitoring the movement and recording all milestones through the planned journey. Allocate a back-up for this person.

Convoy Movements

 

  • Define positioning within the convoy, especially the first and the last car in the convoy.
  • Define the distance between convoy elements.
  • Allocate sufficient time for preparation before departure.
  • Agree on basic procedures to be applicable by the vehicles to ensure certain discipline within the convoy: departure, stop-over and contingency plans for common scenarios: vehicle breakdown, accident, checkpoints, etc.
  • Define which are the communication means internally and external to the convoy. Agree on the hierarchies.
  • Compile a vehicles list, drivers list, passengers list and any other list that could be useful during the journey.

Movement of Dangerous Goods

 

Transport of Valuable Assets

 

  • Be discrete. Don’t disclose the nature of the movement.
  • Inform the occupants of the vehicle about the nature of the movement, but not in advance. Give them the chance to decline the assignment and remain at departure point if not comfortable.
  • Avoid regularly scheduled movements, schedule for different days and different hours.
  • Consider organising as part of a convoy.
  • Reduce the number of stopovers to those strictly necessary.

Transport of Special Passengers (patients, kids, human remains, etc.)

 

  • Ensure that the vehicle is fit for purpose and has the necessary equipment to transport the specific passengers.
  • Have clear rules on who is allowed to travel and in which conditions: who authorises the passenger, how much luggage is allowed, safety considerations, point(s) of destination, etc.
  • Brief passengers about the movement: schedule, itinerary, stopovers, etc. Consider including information about the return trip.
  • If minors are transported, they should be always accompanied by an adult.

Ambulance Services

 

  • Ensure that the vehicle is fit for purpose and has the necessary equipment and medical supplies to transport patients.
  • Children patients should always be accompanied by an adult.
  • One medical staff should be present during the transfer in case medical needs are required.
  • Provide basic PPE and Infection Control SOPs and training to the staff working in the ambulance to avoid cross infection from transported patients.
  • If the patient is seriously ill, inform the receiving medical facility in advance that the patient being transferred.
  • If providing oxygen to the patient, for safety purposes, oxygen concentrators are a preferred option rather than Oxygen cylinders.

Armoured Vehicles (AVs)

 

  • Ensure that the vehicle is fit for purpose and is armoured according to the threats present in the area of operation: armoured steel floor, armoured rear cargo area, etc.
  • Technical specifications should be provided by a subject matter expert.
  • Consider import and export restrictions, and any laws regarding use of the vehicle around the planned area of movement.
  • Ensure that drivers have gone through specific training programs and certification required for AVs.
  • The costs of managing a fleet of AV increases significantly compared with a fleet of regular vehicles.
  • Maintenance of AVs requires specialised knowledge and capacity as vehicle configuration differs from regular vehicles, especially the electronic components. Spare parts are often manufacturer specific, and can be very hard to come by.
  • All communication equipment must be operable from the inside, which may impact some communications devices such as regular mobile phones. Additional communication equipment and specific installation and setup will be required.
  • Disposal at end of life is not easy and should be planned far in advance.

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In addition to vehicle fleet management, other aspects may be considered when managing a fleet of vehicles. The most pertinent could be the management of special stocks and the environmental impact of the fleet. When managing a fleet of vehicles, it may be useful to stock particular commodities such as fuel and spare parts. The information in this section is complementary to the chapters on sections on physical stock management and on dangerous goods. Rather than focusing in safety issues, the content below is more related to the good conditioning and management of stocks for optimal use:

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French

English (US)

English (UK)

Spanish

Use

Handling Specifics

COMBUSTIBLE (Carburant)

FUEL
(Motor fuel)

FUEL
(Motor fuel)

COMBUSTIBLE (Carburante)

 

 

METHANE

METHANE

METHANE

METANO

Town gas

Gas

ETHANE

ETHANE

ETHANE

ETANO

 

Gas

PROPANE

PROPANE

PROPANE

PROPANO

Bottled gas for fridge, heating, etc.

Gas

BUTANE

BUTANE

BUTANE

BUTANO

Bottled gas for fridge, heating, etc.

Gas

G.P.L.

L.P.G.

L.P.G.

G.P.L.

Liquefied Petroleum Gas

Gas used for car fuel, (adapted engine)

AVGAS, LL100
Essence Avion

AVGAS, LL100

AVGAS, LL100

AVGAS, LL100

Aviation Gasoline:
for piston engines

Very volatile, fluid, blue colour, same smell as petrol. Very flammable, explosive. Can be used in a petrol engine with 3% oil added

ESSENCE

- super
- normale
- sans plomb

GASOLINE

- premium
- regular
- unleaded

PETROL

- super
- regular
- unleaded

GASOLINA

- super
- normal
- sin plomo

 

Volatile, fluid, colourless (or almost). Very flammable, explosive. Cannot be replaced by diesel, but can replace Avgas in some aircraft. Various octane indices between regular and super

KEROSENE, JETA1

KEROSENE, JETA1

KEROSENE, JETA1

KEROSENO, JETA1

Turbine engine aircraft

Same as for Paraffin but with aeronautical specifications: Filtering, packing and storing.

PETROLE (Lampant), PARAFFINE (Canada)

KEROSENE (Lamp oil)

KEROSENE (Lamp oil), PARAFFIN (Oil)

KEROSENO, PETROLEO

Lamps, fridges, burner, etc.

Colourless, specific smell. Fuel for so-called “lamp oil” equipment

GASOIL, GAZOLE

GASOIL, DIESEL

GASOIL, DIESEL

GASOLEO, DIESEL

Cars

Greasy, yellowish, frequently coloured, heavy smell. When pure, solidifies at -5°C and requires an additive (or 20% lamp oil). This also acts as the injection pump lubricant.

FUEL, FIOUL, MAZOUT

FUEL OIL

FUEL OIL, PARAFFIN

FUEL

Heating

Same as diesel without additives for low temperatures and lubrication

HUILE

OIL

OIL

ACEITE

Lubrication

Greasy, different viscosities for different uses

PARAFFINE

PARAFFIN, WAX

PARAFFIN, WAX

PARAFINA

Candles

 

PETROLE LOURD

HEAVY FUEL

HEAVY FUEL

 

Slow engines

Heavy combustible for marine engines and power plants

ASPHALTE, BITUME

ASPHALT

ASPHALT

ASFALTO

Road surfaces

 

PETROLE (BRUT)

CRUDE PETROLEUM, KEROSENE

ROCK OIL, PARAFFIN

CRUDO

Natural state

 

Adapted from MSF

Managing Spare Parts

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Guide - Vehicle Servicing

Full Template Package

 

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References 

[1] Adapted from MSF Checklist for vehicle rental.

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