7 Jul 22

Top humanitarian fleet management trends revealed

Fleet Forum, a membership organisation for the humanitarian fleet management community,  held its annual conference last week. Over 650 fleet managers from around the world attended the virtual event, which was held over two days and highlighted the key trends emerging in humanitarian aid fleets.   

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The job of a fleet manager is never easy but the challenges facing humanitarian aid fleet managers are intensified due to budgeting restrictions and the tight financial reporting they face.

Everyone is currently dealing with the economic and social impact of the pandemic, challenges fuelled by global supply chain disruption and accelerated climate-focused action, which is  pushing fleet managers to re-evaluate and adapt fleet programmes. In parallel, fleet managers cannot lose their focus on reducing costs and road crash risks, which can be considerable when operating in remote, undeveloped parts of the world.

1. The current global vehicle supply environment undergoing the most significant upheaval since Henry Ford

This quote from The Economist resonated with the humanitarian fleet management community. Humanitarian organisations must wait longer, be less picky when choosing vehicles, and accept that some features might not be available as a result of the chip shortage.

There is a serious risk that fleet managers have to resort to operating vehicles beyond their disposal policy, ultimately driving up fleet costs and emissions.

2. Humanitarian organisations are focusing on the drive to optimise fleet

In 2022, nearly 50% of Fleet Forum member organisations have a dedicated Global Fleet or Road Safety Manager and are expanding fleet management positions regionally.

Next to that, fleet managers are increasingly focused on a range of optimisation activities, from investing in better quality data to rightsizing their fleet and reducing fuel consumption.

3. Optimisation can only take us so far …. It’s time for innovation!

Shweta Surender - thought leader on urban mobility, smart mobility and the future of transport at Frost & Sullivan - provided an insight in how the future can look. A future where vehicle ownership is no longer important, rather organisations are focused on new forms of mobility, starting with vehicle sharing.

Two key innovative approaches were announced at the 2022 conference. Firstly, WFP and UNHCR have joined forces to offer UN agencies safe, efficient and sustainable fleet services. Starting with leased vehicles in 2022, UN Fleet will expand its offering to fleet management services.

4. Data, data, data

Fleet Forum has one mantra: collect and analyse your data to gain insight in your performance. And at the Conference, it was clear to see this mantra is resonating with many organisations, humanitarian and commercial alike. The International Committee of the Red Cross & Red Crescent (ICRC) took home the Best Transport Achievement Award for their road safety improvement program, in which they credit their success to consistent road crash reporting and analysis.

5. The emerging climate-focused action

Last Annual Conference was a turning point in Fleet Forum history; more than 50% discussions were around sustainability. Jan Egeland, Secretary General of NRC made a simple, yet strong call to Fleet Forum attendees: You can not contribute to climate change while responding to the impact of it. Many humanitarian organisations are acknowledging that greening their operations is part of their commitment to the SDGs.

Did you miss the 2022 conference? If you’re a Fleet Forum member, you can view the conference recordings at this link. You can read a fuller version of the article here.

Authored by: Alison Pittaway