Thread: Lack of bidders

  1. #26
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    Default bidding

    You can not make a manufacturer bid on anything they desire not to!

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by westofd1 View Post
    You can not make a manufacturer bid on anything they desire not to!
    BINGO! When you send specs to dealers they will probably make a decision fairly quickly if it is a truck that they can build competitively. We tried to put together "generic" specs in the late '80s for a pumper. The Seagrave dealer said that they weren't going to bid because it was a Pierce spec. It wasn't. We ended up buying a FMC.

    If you are going to write your own specs, get a copy of NFPA 1901. Appendix B, Specifying and Procuring Fire Apparatus has a lot of good info. You can purchase a PDF version of the new standard online for $44.

    http://www.nfpa.org/aboutthecodes/Ab...sp?DocNum=1901
    I have only 2 allegiances, to my country and to my God. The rest of you are fair game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Northeast68 View Post
    Any manufacturer could use the Harrison generator that we wanted, for example. ....I don't understand why anyone is buying fire apparatus if they don't take the time to specify what they want, and just let a dealer fill in the blanks. You have to do your homework before getting bidders involved. I'd have to agree that writing something too specific, or obviously proprietary, will turn most bidders off.

    Incidentally, all 5 companies submitted a bid, and tried very hard to earn our business.

    Where did you accumulate the vast base of knowledge on which to base an informed decison on, for example, what Brand/model genset is most cost effective (bang for the buck, easiest/least expensive to install, to maintain (life cycle), etc? The mfg touch way more trucks (or gensets) in a year that any FD will. Their experience is what you're buying, use it. IF not the sales rep take to the factory engineer (if they actually have any REAL degreed engineers). Other wise why not just get on line, order a bunch of bits/pieces, and assemble yourself a fire truck out in the maintenance bay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    Where did you accumulate the vast base of knowledge on which to base an informed decison on, for example, what Brand/model genset is most cost effective (bang for the buck, easiest/least expensive to install, to maintain (life cycle), etc? The mfg touch way more trucks (or gensets) in a year that any FD will. Their experience is what you're buying, use it. IF not the sales rep take to the factory engineer (if they actually have any REAL degreed engineers). Other wise why not just get on line, order a bunch of bits/pieces, and assemble yourself a fire truck out in the maintenance bay.
    That's an interesting idea...maybe I'll try that. Since our volunteer department is made up of people who are engineers of all sorts, mechanics, welders/fabricators, sales people, pretty much all walks of life, it just might work out.

    The point wasn't to say that we'd buy that type for sure, but that everyone is including the same equipment in thier spec so that the process is fair. If the sales person felt strongly enough about offering us something else, they'd have an opportunity to do that, and we'd hear them out.

    Maybe you are right, using prior experiences (and research by dedicated members) to help determine a preference is not a good idea. Us dumb firemen should just wander around like useless automatons doing what the mutts and the industry tell us to do. Thanks for your post.

  5. #30
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    Talking Building own trucks

    Many, many years ago some fire deptments did build their own trucks. I think Norfolk, Va. , Memphis, Tn. and Rochester, Ny. were some of those who built their own. They stopped because it really wasn't cost effective.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    The mfg touch way more trucks (or gensets) in a year that any FD will. Their experience is what you're buying, use it.
    In some cases this may be the case, but certainly not all. I've met tons of firetruck salesmen that have sold tons of different things, many not fire service related. one even sold sailboats! Similarly, touching gensets in no way should be considered vast experience. Just because Onan or Harrison gives them a great deal, a builder will push them all day long. The whole package has to make sense. You take each part of the pie and try to assemble the best apparatus. If what your salesman says goes along with what others have experienced, then great, but what if there's a significant conflict?

    Hell look at the platform fire apparatus market. It seems that very few engineers have a clue how we'll use them! Look at the big P dumpster bucket or the Sutphen or the last E-One buckets. Why is there such a push to equip master streams with $5K automatic fog nozzles when smoothbores are more effective, efficient and cheaper not too mention cause less stress on their aerials!

    Not to cast to bad a light on the sales force out there. There are a fair amount of knowledgeable salesmen with credible information and experience, you have to be able to see the difference. On the other hand there are too many FD's that have no clue what they want or need. Best yet would be to hire third party independent consultant.
    Last edited by RFDACM02; 11-24-2008 at 03:56 PM.

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    Not to cast to bad a light on the sales force out there. There are a fair amount of knowledgeable salesmen with credible information and experience, you have to be able to see the difference. On the other hand there are too many FD's that have no clue what they want or need. Best yet would be to hire third party independent consultant.[/QUOTE]



    I want to agree with that, and in theory I do. My only concern with a third party independent is that you don't really know if there are kickbacks. I'm generally the type to trust a man on his word, but money talks, and some of the best men have fallen victim to this. It's not unlike Consumer Reports, who claims to be completely independant, but if you read it enough, you'll see that they have loyalty to certain manufacturers, and if they can't reccomend them, they just won't review them at all as to not point out thier short comings.

    My comments on Third Party Consultants is completely out of school though, since I know nobody in this business and have never used one. I'm open to another side of this story...

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    Just because Onan or Harrison gives them a great deal, a builder will push them all day long. .
    Maybe I am just too old school but, as a firetruck salesperson I don't care what brand of generator you want. If you want an Onan then my job is to try to get you an Onan. I have never cared to work with salespeople who try to press their preferences on the customer. It is preferable, in my mind, to only offer a personal preference when pushed to do so. For all I know the Chief's son-in-law is the largest Onan warranty shop in the nation.

    The sales rep should be listening to to the customer. Most builders I have been affiliated with feel the same way.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by firepundit View Post
    The sales rep should be listening to to the customer. Most builders I have been affiliated with feel the same way.
    From the side of a customer, this too is how we prefer it. I've seen one salesman be great to us and totally condescending to a neighboring FD. Sort of like a car salesman changing his pitch between a male customer or a female. If the FD doesn't know what their doing so much, the salesman can lead them. It's imperative for the FD to know what it is they want/need first.

    Our use of a consultant when we bought our tower had very little to do with brand specifics. We determined the suitability of sticks vs. towers, MM vs. RM, quints vs. trucks and came up with some rough specs. They helped us write performance specs vs. manufacturers specs. This may well not be the case with all consultants, but we were very satisfied.

    Sales people have to have some alliances with certain products and reps, it's really the nature of the game. For those FD's with a decent idea what they're doing, this shouldn't be an issue, for others: hang onto your wallet. Again, I know some great salesman who really care about the customer and the products they rep, and more often than not their good name. Keeping a good name in the sales business amongst firefighters is tough, we chew people up!

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by firepundit View Post
    The sales rep should be listening to to the customer. Most builders I have been affiliated with feel the same way.

    Thanks, sounds like a salesperson I'd want to deal with.

    I'm in sales too, not fire apparatus, but in many ways, sales is sales. In what I sell, people can make some serious mistakes, so I think its my job to help protect them from themselves. Of course, in order to do this you have to listem to them and understand what they are trying to accomplish at the same time.

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