Master of Advanced Studies
in Humanitarian Logistics and Management


Fleet Readiness for Disaster Response - E.S.

Stabilizing IOM Fleet Management In terms of Continuity, Standardization, Usage, Robustness and Responsiveness.
by Nasir Alatrakhchi and Vladimir Maslarov


The focus of this thesis is on current IOM fleet management standards and possible ways to stabilize these in terms of continuity, standardization, usage, robustness, and responsiveness. Both authors bring several years of experience in logistics within IOM to their analysis of the statistics available and of the literature review to offer recommendations for the best interest of IOM and its beneficiaries.

Background problem

IOM is lacking a fleet management policy despite the significant accountability levels IOM missions hold themselves to in front of their senior management, donors and internal and external auditors. In turn, IOM has left it to each mission to “tailor make” its own rules and regulations locally, with no unified policy in place at the headquarters level and no clear role for Regional Offices in fleet management.

The objective

The main objective of the thesis is to assess the need for the establishment of an IOM Fleet Management Policy through comprehensive qualitative research. This entails diagnosing the major areas of concerns within the current fleet management processes and proposing solutions to improve these processes.

The goals

IOM vehicles fleet, whether owned or rented, must be controlled, monitored and managed according to specific operational guidelines. These guidelines shall constitute the primary fleet management tools, and shall ensure standardization of vehicles and procedures. By proposing a set of necessary elements for the operational guidelines, the authors aim to:

  • Improve fleet performance
  • Increase fleet robustness
  • Ensure fleet readiness
  • Optimize fleet lifespan
  • Minimize fleet defects
  • Increase staff knowledge
  • Set the responsibilities
  • Enhance internal control, and
  • Improve internal reporting


Research methodology

Qualitative research was conducted in two stages. The first involved 32 IOM field missions and gathered relevant fleet management information from field practitioners at the operational level of the organization, while the second covered the managerial level with its strategic and tactical views on the subject matter. The second stage included interviews and questions related to fleet management strategic planning.

The findings                                             

Vehicles fleet is not optimally used in IOM. The acquisition and management of transport fleets is consistently a struggle with significant time, energy and fund ramifications. In addition to lacking the fleet management framework at any of the three structural administration levels (global, regional, and local), IOM currently also is missing many of the necessary applications in managing its fleet. The preliminary needs are a clear disposal policy, unified insurance management guidelines, fuel management procedures, standardization of vehicle models and types, strategic prepositioning of vehicles as a preparedness measure for emergency needs, records capturing system, vehicles tracking system, clear conditions for private use, and standardization in equipping fleets with the essential security equipment and accessories. The fact that IOM is currently missing these standards results in the organization needing to bear significant hidden costs that result from its aging fleet and its ad hoc response to fleet needs. These factors thereby immediately impact operational and maintenance costs, which sometimes exceed the vehicles’ market value, and lead the organization to remain reliant on piecemeal procurement solutions with high costs and slower response times.

Review of past fleet management literature enhanced the thesis authors’ understanding of the level of improvements attained in this field by many other humanitarian organizations. As proposed in this thesis, many other humanitarian organizations have addressed issues by putting in place clear centralized, decentralized and hybrid fleet management models and tools in place to monitor KPI (Key Performance Indicators) of their fleets.

The recommendations   

The starting point for enhancements of IOM’s current fleet management policies must be the definition of the various responsibilities and functions of each level of the current organizational structure of IOM, as per the details outlined in Fleet Management Framework Matrix. These structural roles and objectives will have a critical effect on the organization’s ability to institutionalize a new Fleet Management system.

The second critical part is the creation of a consolidated Fleet Management Manual. It is imperative that IOM Senior Management approve thorough scrutiny of the organization’s specific requirements considering implications of the current lack of fleet management policies on basic and advanced fleets managed in field missions. Senior Management, Regional and Mission buy-in for creation and dissemination of standardized operational procedures to improve overall fleet management within the organization will enable IOM to consolidate and harness its own and other humanitarian organizations’ best practices.

Value of the study

Innovative solutions are needed that can optimize standardization and minimize costs against organizational needs with managerial responsibility restructuring. IOM needs to address the challenge of ineffective fleet management in order to reduce the cost, increase the service quality, and efficiently and effectively manage robust and well-maintained transport fleets that are capable of responding more rapidly to demands of the organization and its beneficiaries. As the value of the scattered fleets being handled by IOM throughout the globe is substantial, IOM must set appropriate processes and tools that will further strengthen internal controls and create transparency in the management of these costly assets.


The research offers a starting point for IOM senior management to consider the issue of poor fleet management. It also offers ways to address existing gaps and shortcomings to meet the goals mentioned above of creating a solid fleet management platform within the organization.

The research and its recommendations can be used as to the base through which to gather social agreement among management on the necessity of setting up a robust IOM fleet management strategy. Furthermore, the recommendations can be used directly in policy preparation that will lead to improvements in the field of fleet management.


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