Determine Vehicle Needs

The number and type of vehicles required is determined through ongoing assessments of the minimum capabilities necessary to most efficiently and safely reach and serve our beneficiaries (programming needs) and to support program activities (finance, procurement, HR, supply chain, administration, etc). Senior country staff who are well versed with the emergency response vision and strategies should be able to provide good contribution to the need identification. Security protocol may require traveling in convoy which will have important effect on the fleet needs, running cost and budget.

  1. Number and Type: The process must involve every department, as new funding streams and projects are expected to come online that will require enhanced or expanded vehicle and transport capabilities.
    1. Programming staff must think through how they will provide their projects sufficient transport capacity.
    2. Operations staff must consider the number of vehicles needed to support the operations side of the program, including procurement and administrative duties as well as the need for a vehicle to be constantly stationed at the main office for last minute tasks or security incidents that require a quick exit from the office or guest house.
    3. To ensure the most cost effective and appropriate composition, do not only consider the number of vehicle but also the types, makes and models in conjunction with donor regulations.

The template Assessing Fleet Status and Needs can be used to assess fleet needs

  1. Security Considerations: Security protocols will have an important effect on the fleet needs, running cost and budget.
    1. Being required to travel in convoy will have an impact on the budget. Check with the local Logistics Cluster or Coordination Mechanism as well as sister agencies to get a sense as to the appropriate protocols if CRS is new to the areas. (Convoy means at least 2 vehicles and could be both CRS vehicles or CRS and another NGO vehicle).
    2. if the security context requires CRS to use discrete vehicles that blend in to the local context. take this into account and discuss with the CP or Regional Security Officer for a recommendation.
    3. Ballistic blankets are used as liners in vehicles that cover the floors up to the windows and deflect bullets while reducing the impact of explosions. It will be important to determine if these are needed in the area we are working, and if so, they should be budgeted at the outset.
  2. Proposal Development & Budgeting: Part of the planning process includes adding line items for vehicle procurements or rental in the budget, or ensuring that CRS will procure vehicles with private funding (as a cost share or contribution). Emergency response institutional donors barely fund vehicle purchase but support vehicle rental.
    1. Ensure Operations support department:
      • is involved at the proposal development stage. For budget development, Fleet staff, using VMS data, can provide valuable insight into expected usage and operational costs.
      • is consulted to determine the appropriate types of vehicles and accessories required, and thus the total costs of the entire procurement, including shipping, insurance, duties, fees, and registration, etc… or rental.
    2. Run a vehicle rental versus purchase cost / benefits analysis adapted to the emergency response context. If the response is large or looks to be protracted, it will likely make more sense to purchase at least some vehicles over a 100% rental scenario.
    3. Plan for the number of vehicles you will actually need and look for the resources across the project budgets and through CRS private funding. Do not plan your vehicles against the perceived budget as your program will suffer due to lack of logistics.
    4. Always ensure you budget a line item for vehicle rental – even if it is small – as the need for some level of rental during the project period is likely and purchased vehicle will likely not be immediately available.

Due to the high increase of activities in a short period during rapid onset emergencies, the composition of the fleet shall be reviewed constantly (biweekly or monthly). Fleet sizes rise and fall organically, reflecting the level of program activity.

Consider also revising the latest vehicle and Disposal and Acquisition Plan to cancel disposal process.

For more information on that topic consult the Fleet Manager Tools Kit : Assessing the Fleet and Planning in English and Français. Español coming soon!