Research Topic and its Rationale
Superb principles on fleet management are essential for the prudent management of resources in the government sector. The management of the fleet services is obligated to ensuring that all the assets are efficiently and effectively managed. The decisions regarding the safety maintenance, procurement, and disposal of such assets are supposed to be conducted openly and transparently. In fleet management and maintenance, the financial, social and environmental implications need to be considered before any decision is made. The fleet management needs to have pout guidelines, policies, and frameworks which have all the information about the activities of the fleet. The following are the most important things to consider when laying down fleet management strategies:
After considering the above factors, it was realized that the above measures had not been taken into consideration when managing fleets in the government of Oman. The government of Oman does not have clear and well spelled out policies, procedures, and systems on fleet management. Therefore, government vehicles are not well-managed from the point of procurement, maintenance, and repair. This has led to many fleets of vehicles being in a pathetic condition within a short time after purchase. This has a financial implication on the government and the taxpayers as a whole because they are the ones who fund such projects. After realizing this gap, the study will, therefore, try to find out the gaps that exist in fleet management and maintenance in the government of Oman and come up with practical strategies on how to fix the problem so that public resources are not wasted. The Study Topic Is, Therefore: ``An Investigation To Establish The Strategic Operations Management Methods For Light Vehicle Fleet Maintenance Within The Government Sector Of The Sultanate Of Oman.''
In this fast-paced economy fleet management and maintenance of light vehicles requires essential skills as well as different management strategies. The strategies are geared towards saving money, making the process effective and efficient as well as ensuring that the resources are prudently utilized so that the taxpayers' money is not misused because the government used money raised through taxes. The value is usually defined based on the benefits it creates when compared to the costs or the purpose of the activity. This study will analyze the value of fleet management and maintenance as well as the different strategies that are used in fleet management and maintenance. The study will cover broad areas ranging from the cost of the structures and the cost of maintaining the fleet of vehicles. The study will mostly cover the maintenance and management of fleets in the current sense in the Kingdom of Oman. The following are the research aims of this study:
- To identify and explain the importance of having good strategies in fleet management
- Identification of different ways of balancing the cost and benefits of having prudent fleet management strategies.
- To identify different ways in which fleet management and maintenance can be achieved through the collaboration of different departments within the government.
- To identify the technical skills and expertise required in fleet management and maintenance.
- Evaluate the strategies of fleet maintenance and management employed by the government sector of the Sultanate of Oman.
Fleet management is one of the areas that has gained a lot of interest from the researchers, scholars and industry enthusiasts. The economy has become very competitive for the industries to survive and therefore for them to be effective and efficient, the fleet managers need to be creative and innovative. According to Swanson (2015) for effective performance in the industry to extend an effective operational system and to increase reliability robust strategic management strategies have to be put in place. He further says that maintenance of fleet entails a combination of both administrative and technical skills so that the fleet can be at their optimal conditions to perform the functions which they are required to do.
Lauria, (2014) argues that the aim of good fleet management and coming up with good strategic management is to ensure that there is a continuity of efficiency, the reliability of machines as well as ensuring that there is the sustainability on the process of movement. He posits that through maintenance will increase the cost for the government it is worth the cause because so much money will be saved. Sound strategies need to be in place so that the management of the fleet as well as maintenance can have both the preventive and corrective measures.
For this study, a comprehensive and detailed search for the literature on strategic, operational management on fleets was done as well as the related areas. The literature which was analyzed covered the period between 2006 and 2016 though some online publications covered the period from 2000 to 2019. The literature review aimed to search for all the possible available materials that are connected to the research topic. Other materials that the study covered included the conference materials, journals, books, reported projects and the organizational processes. Lauria (2014) discusses in details how a lack of operational management strategies can affect the quality and cost of the fleets in the government. He used a method that had been tested and proved called the Markov method which is used to determine the following:
The optimization of the management and maintenance costs. This is meant to ensure that the machines reach the most industrial age before they are disposed. This will be achieved through proper operational and management practices which ensure that the resources are used prudently. If the management and maintenance of the fleet are poor, then the cost of replacing the equipment will be higher. At the same time if the replacement of the equipment takes longer the maintenance and operational costs will also increase. Lauria, (2014) argue that the value of the equipment decreases when the time for replacement is higher. He explains that certain costs are fixed such as the insurance fees.
The management of the fleet has become an evolving fleet. Therefore, the ground managers need to have the necessary skills so that they can perform their duties effectively by devising strategies which are cost-effective and flexible so that they can meet the needs and demand of the organization. The same case applies to the management of the fleet in government institutions. The biggest challenge that managers face in fleet management is a replacement as well as the proper maintenance of the vehicles. The best way in which the fleet is managed is by focusing on the cutting of costs of operations. When the fleet management and maintenance is not properly done by not investing in the infrastructure money might be saved at the moment, but eventually, more costs will be incurred.
Another challenge that the government is facing in the management of its fleet is the lack of individuals who are well-trained and experienced to handle the management of the fleet. The government has also not invested in the software that helps in the management of fleets. The fleet management and maintenance software help the managers within the fleet management section to monitor the vehicle effectively. Since computer technology has changed the way, things are done the fleet management managers need to use so that they can effectively conduct the fleet management as well as generating reports. To come up with effective strategies and manage vehicle fleets effectively, many different tasks and responsibilities have to be performed. It requires members of staff who are dedicated who can manage the acquisition, disposal, repairs and maintenance of the fleet as they follow regulations, policies and other pertinent laws. The following are some of the best practices in fleet management:
- The focus should be on the long-range outlook
- There should be a set-up of an accurate database
- There should be the maintenance of the inventory
- There should be an analysis and identification of the high cost of the vehicles
- There should be a proper record of maintenance
- The vehicle should be monitored well
This section involves describing the different ways in which the data was collected. The primary data of this study was collected through interviews which were conducted amongst the individuals of different cadres working within the government and those providing automobile services to the government. There were a total of 130 questionnaires that were issued to the employees who had been working in the government for more than five years and specifically in the fleet management section. Out of the 130 questionnaires, 30 of them were given to the individuals who offer services to the government. Out of the total questionnaires, 120 of them were valid because they were correctly filled, but 10 of them were invalid because they were not properly filled. Then the data was analyzed and the results recorded. The secondary data was collected from the literature section and then analyzed. However, most decisions were made using primary data. Both qualitative and quantitative research will be used in this study. However, according to Lauria, (2014) argues that it is very difficult to have a very high level of reliability and validity.
Ethical Considerations in the Study
The subjects were notified about the study purpose and their confidentiality and anonymity were observed. The subjects who request anonymity their identity should be protected. In the case of young children, consent should be sought from their parents. The researcher will also observe Beneficence whereby in the process of conducting the study no subject should be harmed. The privacy of the subjects will also be observed whereby the beliefs and attitudes of the subjects should not be exposed. The vulnerable groups such as the aged, the prisoners and the mentally ill should be well protected when conducting the study because they are not able to make sound decisions. The subjects should make informed consent, and they should not be forced to participate in the study. They should not only have oral consent but rather have written consent. The study will be conducted impartially, and the subjects are at liberty to withdraw from the study any time they want.
Lauria, P. T., Lauria, D. T.. (2014). National Research Council (U.S.)., National Cooperative Highway Research Program, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, & United States. State department of transportation fleet replacement management practices.
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