UCL School of Management is delighted to welcome Sang Kim, Yale, to host a research seminar discussing ‘Enabling healthcare delivery through vehicle maintenance’.
Difficulties in healthcare delivery in developing economies arise from poor road infrastructure of rural communities, where the bulk of the population reside. Although motorcycles are an effective means for delivering healthcare products, governments in developing economies lack expertise in providing proper maintenance and support services, resulting in frequent vehicle breakdowns. Riders for Health, a nonprofit social enterprise, has developed specialized capabilities that enable significant enhancements in vehicle maintenance. The organization has engaged with the governments and provided its services using different contract schemes, with different performance outcomes in vehicle availability and costs. In this paper we develop an analytical model based on reliability theory to compare the outcomes of these contracts, and relate the findings to data collected from a 2.5-year implementation by Riders for Health in Zambia. We also study how different elements of operational enhancements impact vehicle availability, and identify the conditions under which their interactions give rise to compromised performance. Interestingly, we find that prevention of minor failures, i.e., failures that can be addressed through vehicle repairs, always increases vehicle availability unlike other enhancements. This unambiguous benefit suggests that such basic tasks as following proper maintenance protocols and stocking the right amount of the right service parts are of utmost importance.