In February 2018, QBG Facilities Management (QBG FM) upgraded its fleet of staff transportation vehicles in the UAE. The new fleet of 130 vehicles — comprising medium and large buses — is responsible for transporting more than 4,000 QBG FM employees across 500 locations and sites in the country.
Construction Week’s sister title, fmME, visited QBG FM’s staff accommodation site in Jebel Ali to learn more about the operation. Radwan Baraket, head of support services, at QBG FM, says the company had four vendors that supplied vehicles prior to the latest fleet expansion.
“We would then maintain the vehicles, including with road tolls, servicing, and maintenance work,” he continues. “We then decided to do away with that system and instead retain one service provider that supplies all our needs.
“We invited bidders through a request for proposals, and the entire process took us close to two years to sort out,” he adds.
Following the tendering process, QBG FM awarded a three-year contract to Al Mariah General Transport for the operation. The vendor, Baraket says, is responsible for fuel, toll payments, servicing, and maintenance of the buses.
He adds: “We also lease 42 passenger cars from the company, which are mostly used by supervisors. In the future, we might consider outsourcing our operations to the same vendor. We are also looking into the possibility of introducing hybrid and electric cars, and by next year, we will have at least three vehicles join the fleet.”
For QBG FM, it made more sense to lease vehicles than to purchase them, Baraket explains: “The prospect of owning our fleet would involve a fuel management system, and not to forget, we would also need a workshop to maintain these vehicles. Essentially, we would need an entire division within the company to run transportation operations. It’s not something we are ready to take on at the moment.”
All vehicles in the new fleet are brand new and fully air-conditioned, and feature comfortable interiors. Some units are even equipped with specialist tools that help teams with on-site related tasks.
The vehicles also have a fleet a management system, complete with GPS, vehicle tracking, and RFID tech. Baraket says a fleet management system will also be integrated with QBG’s in-house electronic facilities management programme.
“The software has a module to include our staff accommodation sites and transportation fleet,” Baraket explains. “Eventually, we will install CCTV cameras and access controls at all accommodation sites, which will simplify the entry and exit of vehicles. Hence, the staff and the vehicles won’t have to physically tag out using their IDs. This will help us save a lot of time as the software will detect their movement.”
Baraket says biofuels will not be considered for the fleet at the moment, since their use would raise costs by “30-35%”. He adds: “There are definite benefits in using alternate sources of fuel, but we need to work within a tight budget.”
Feedback about the new fleet from QBG FM’s clients and staff has been positive, he adds: “We couldn’t ask for anything better – our clients are happy with the new fleet. Most importantly, our staff arrive fresh at the site and ready for work. This will ultimately reflect in their performance and our key performance indicator (KPI) scores.”