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Ashley Sowerby's blog: 24 May - What can we learn from NGO fleets?

Date: 24 May 2016

For many years, a large part of the Chevin user base have been NGO fleets, including those offering humanitarian support in some of the least hospitable parts of the world.

Comparing fleets of Toyota pick-ups carrying food and medical supplies through war zones might not sound as though it has much in common with an engineer in a Mondeo on the M1 - but there are surprising parallels and certainly lessons that corporate fleets could learn.

Much of this revolves around utilisation. The reality for NGOs is that they often face sudden calls for action in the event of a crisis - so the fleet needs to grow and shrink regionally in the face of demand. One emerging solution for this is to have a centralised fleet of vehicles operated by the NGO that can then be hired by local offices that suddenly need transport.

This is interesting, we believe, because it illustrates something that fleets in the UK have been talking about for years but rarely put into practice - genuinely flexible vehicle provision. In the next few years this could, for example, serve as a model for how some fleets operate ULEVs that enter low emissions zones in major cities.

Another attractive development is their application of fleet management ideas to other items of capital expenditure. This has seen some use their fleet software to apply KPI scorecards to items, including plant, in order to improve their financial and environmental performance. This is an idea adopted by some UK fleets but surprisingly few.

Of course, there are also areas where NGOs can learn from corporate fleet, as they would be the first to admit, and many have been improving their procurement and maintenance models by using ideas first seen in the business world. However, our experience is that in terms of best practice, both spheres can certainly learn from each other.