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Walter Fallas Bonilla from Costa Rica Red Cross wins 2021 Fleet Manager of the Year

Updated: Dec 9, 2021

The 2021 Fleet Forum Fleet Manager of the Year Award has been awarded to Walter Fallas Bonilla of Costa Rica Red Cross.

This year Fleet Forum received nominations of several talented fleet managers, which our judging panel reduced to three. The winner of the Fleet Manager of the Year was decided by 289 voters during a virtual award ceremony on December 8. Walter won the award after the top 2 candidates presented their projects to the audience who could then cast their vote during a live voting.

Paul Mooney, HR Director at UPS, represented the UPS Foundation at the virtual ceremony. He recognised all fleet managers who have been navigating through the many challenges of the pandemic and commended them for their commitment, dedication and engagement.

A winning fleet management improvement project

Walter was nominated by Karl-Kristian Stuns, Fleet Development Delegate, Global Fleet Unit, IFRC. “Fleet Manager Walter Fallas Bonilla has been showing great example within the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement, on how improving fleet management can prevent road traffic deaths, contribute to cost savings and reducing CO2 emissions. Walter is truly an inspiration to other fleet managers and thanks to him, we have been able to raise awareness of the important role that fleet management plays within the movement”.

The project originated as a response to problem areas the organisation was having, such as a high vehicle crash rate, high total cost of ownership, and a lack of basic fleet management guidelines. They initiated their fleet development process in 2017, first by implementing a new Vehicle Tracking System and hiring a new fleet manager whose key assignment was the optimisation of all fleet assets across the country.

The benefits reaped from these changes include a 19% decrease in fuel consumption resulting in savings of $113,000, a 15% decrease in the total cost of fleet ownership, 100% decrease in vehicles declared a total loss, a 50% decrease in the crash rate, and most importantly a 100% decrease in driver fatalities.

Between 2017 and 2020 further actions were taken such as identifying a baseline for fleet key performance indicators, development of a nationwide data base of all authorised drivers, development of emergency vehicle driving program including an off-road driving program, and an administrative vehicle driving program mandatory for all drivers. Further efforts were put into crash investigations, reduction of idle time via driver behaviour changes, implementation of a fleet management manual including best practices from the private sector, a preventative vehicle maintenance program, achieving economies of scale through fleet standardisation, and further lowered costs for parts and maintenance due to this standardisation.

Data collection was a prerequisite for the steps that needed to be enacted to define the fleet operation baseline, KPI’s, enabling progress monitoring, an increase in evidence-based decision making, and identifying targets for improvement.

In addition to being recognised as the 2021 Fleet Manager of the Year, Walter also received USD 300 contribution to invest in their education or that of their children.

Runners up: IOM Kenya and WFP Sudan

Kennethy Osengo from IOM (International Organization for Migration) Kenya and Alya Tageldin & Blessing Neji from World Food Programme (WFP) Sudan were the two runners up of 2021.

Kennethy lives by the famous quote of Peter Drucker “If you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it”. Kennethy uses data to understand the gaps in his fleet management practices and develop targeted interventions to improve his fleet performance. It is worth noting that both Kennethy and Walter have gained fleet management experience in the corporate sector prior to joining the humanitarian sphere. They used that experience to drive fleet management improvements in their respective organisations.

Fleet Forum was delighted to have a dual-nomination: Alya and Blessing from WFP Sudan. Focusing on road safety, they took a close and honest look at the causes of their speeding events and put in place interventions that significantly reduced their road crash exposure. In a predominantly male-dominated sector, we applaud female fleet managers and drivers who bring a distinct approach to tackle the challenges in their environment.

Due to unforeseen circumstances Alya and Blessing could not submit the video. Hopefully they will be participating in subsequent Fleet Manager of the Year Award

About the Fleet Manager of the Year Award

Fleet Managers throughout the world are providing extra value to their organisations by creating initiatives to make fleets safer, environmentally friendly and operate them in the most effective and cost-efficient way. By leading their teams through challenging times and by operating in a forward matter, with an eye to the future. To commemorate these Fleet Managers who have done outstanding jobs, Fleet Forum, sponsored by UPS launched this annual award in 2020.

Did you miss the ceremony?

In addition to celebrating the Fleet Manager of the Year, the winners of the 2021 Global Driver Recognition Programme were also recognised during the ceremony, attended by 621 viewers around the world.



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