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  1. #21
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    As we have seen in recent years buying low bid to save the taxpayers money is not always the correct thing to do. There are departments that are still waiting for their ALF's to be delivered. That was a great savings to the taxpayers!

    Finally when you have a situation where a mayor or a council or a purchasing agent is making the decision and not the fire department they should write as tight a spec as possbile so at least they have a chance of getting what they want and need, not some bottom feeder.


  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by sven73 View Post
    As we have seen in recent years buying low bid to save the taxpayers money is not always the correct thing to do. There are departments that are still waiting for their ALF's to be delivered. That was a great savings to the taxpayers!

    Finally when you have a situation where a mayor or a council or a purchasing agent is making the decision and not the fire department they should write as tight a spec as possbile so at least they have a chance of getting what they want and need, not some bottom feeder.
    I agree that low bid is not always the answer. Low bid that meets a quality spec is often the best case for the taxpayers. This does put a lot of pressure on the FD to do its homework and develop a spec based on sound reasoning and judgment. Sadly, many FD's don't have the time or resources to complete this. If the truck is a lemon, as all builders make from time to time, it can reflect poorly on the FD, especially when the taxpayers are already suffering. I'd much rather have a lemon built to a decent spec, then one purchased with no other bids in todays economic climate. Components fail regardless of the builder and quite often not by any doing of the builder.

    We've purchased a few ambulances that were low bid that met the spec. Some have been complete a POS and the committee blamed low bid, to which we answered "write the specs better". Every unit becomes part of the spec evolution towards the "perfect piece".

    I might add that having a city purchasing agent or City manager who makes decisions without knowing the intended uses is not the best use of taxpayers dollars. That may be fine for copiers, fleet vehicles and staplers, but fire apparatus? No.

  3. #23
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    What if you wanted a custom parade widget and didn't give a damn how much it cost because you weren't paying the tab, yet the board of commissioners said there is a perfectly acceptable widget available from Company "B" at a greatly reduced price and then you went and found a way to subvert the law so you got widget "A" due to a ornament that you particularly like, in spite of the fact that the law states you must go out to competitive bidding in purchasing . Then you have broken the law.
    Remember that the purchasing laws very greatly from state to state. Here in Virginia, for example, we don't have fire commissioners (95% of the state wouldn't even know what a commissioner is, I would bet) and purchases are only required to go out to bid when "X" amount of municipal monies are being used. If a VFD wants to use thier own money (whether its through donations OR monies given directly to them through the locality) to make an apparatus purchase, they aren't required to go to bid.

    I'm hardly defending departments that write narrow specifications that only a particular manufacturer can comply with, but i can't fault the salesman for looking out for his best interest and trying to steer the committee towards his product.

    The key to a purchasing agent is to educate them. At work, we allow the purchasing agent assigned to the FD to sit in our our apparatus committee meetings, make factory trips with us, and watch the vehicle in use. It's not "bribing" them, but rather, making justification for the things we want/need that the P.A. might not see otherwise.
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  4. #24
    Forum Member islandfire03's Avatar
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    Talking

    I do understand that purchasing requirements are different in each state or town. The case in point was referenced to the investigation in NJ where they are required to go to competitive bidding for purchases and they crafted a spec to subvert the system to get what they wanted no matter what the price was on accepting the bid.

    I am a firm believer in making it quite clear in our bid specifications that we are not bound to accept the LOWEST $$$ bid, But the bid that most meets our spec with the least exceptions of substantial manner that will affect the longevity and safe operation of the vehicle.

    In our recent ambulance spec we wrote what I believed 4 or 5 manufacturers could meet if they wanted to. The spec package was 29 pages including the chassis and type III ALS box. We specified a lifetime structural warrantee on the box, a lifetime on electrical system. A 10 year paint finish & corrosion warrantee, and the standard chassis warrantee packages. We specced Whelen LED lighting as we can get replacement parts locally, not always the case when a builder uses an off brand chinese copy. The same for the brand and type of tires on the chassis, We spec Michelin because of the proven track record we've had with them in the past, and our local tire service is a Michelin dealer. All of these item can be bid by any builder. I also required a large 18 x24" scale drawing of interior and exterior compartments along with the submitted package. One of the bidders couldn't even be bothered to supply a set of scale drawings sending along an 8x11" copy of the advertising literature instead, in addition to taking exceptions to 11 out of 46 individual items. They were not the high or low bidder when the bids received. They did however score very low in our competitive analysis of bid received. Several vendors chose not to bid as we put in the spec that they were require to be licensed by Our state as new vehicle dealers, and must maintain a service facility within 3 hours travel of our dept.
    That sentence provide us with legal protection under our state laws, rather than trying to persue a claim in the court system of a different state..

    Is that writing a spec that only allowed one vendor to bid? NO , it's writing a spec that will provide us with a vehicle that meets our needs and is responsible to the taxpayers [including ourselves] that are paying for it.

    In the end we ended up signing a contract with a company that builds a quality Ambulance with a great track record , that is being used by many departments in the state, AND happened to be the low bidder by a couple thousand dollars.
    And yes in the end we got the truck built by the manufacturer we preferred but only after a fair and competitive bidding process and by analysis of the bids submitted scored independently and equally That just happened to be the lowest bid.

  5. #25
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sven73 View Post
    As we have seen in recent years buying low bid to save the taxpayers money is not always the correct thing to do. There are departments that are still waiting for their ALF's to be delivered. That was a great savings to the taxpayers!

    Finally when you have a situation where a mayor or a council or a purchasing agent is making the decision and not the fire department they should write as tight a spec as possbile so at least they have a chance of getting what they want and need, not some bottom feeder.
    Ahhhhhhh thats right from page 48 of the "How to circumvent municipal bidding processes and get your Pierce" Handbook.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  6. #26
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    Default Wow!

    I figured Buff would have replied to this one a lot sooner than this. Any chance he can get to slam Pierce. No negative comment for Spartan ???

  7. #27
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Default If I have said it once, I have said it a million times......

    Scott, again, for the record:

    I think Pierce builds a fine product. In our recent quest to purchase an engine, I would have even considered them. My problem with them lies in some of their sales practices (hence the above comment) and eventual follow-up. Additonally, I also have a problem with companies who think that Pierce is "The last coming of Christ." I also frown on those companies (especially in southeastern Pa. and the surrounding areas) that purchase Pierces strictly for their "Parade Chrome Value."

    Now, again while I say Pierce buillds a fine product, I also stand firm to the belief that when it comes to getting "bang for your buck", there are many other manufacturers out there that deliver more than "the chrome oval"; our 2007 Spartan/Toyne being a perfect example. For the price we paid Toyne, I dare say we would have easily paid Appleton much, much more.

    And as for Spartan, I think they build a fine product (better than 15 years ago when they were having frame issues.) I am dissapointed in this allegation, sure. But circumventing purchasing procedures is one of the things that affects your brain when you drink the kool aid.
    Last edited by FWDbuff; 12-31-2008 at 09:45 AM.
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  8. #28
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    Spanky,you feeling outnumbered yet? Hehe T.C.

  9. #29
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    there is not a apparatus company in existance who does not try to get departments to use their spec on a bid. I have no issues with any of the manufacturers. They all build a wonderful product. But I just cannot see singling out 1 manufacturer all the time. They all are not saints
    Last edited by ScottAvery; 12-31-2008 at 10:14 AM.

  10. #30
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    There is not a apparatus company in existance who does not try to get departments to use their specs on a bid. I have no issues with any of the manufacturers. They all build a wonderful product. But I just cannot see singling out 1 manufacturer all the time. They all are not saints
    Last edited by ScottAvery; 12-31-2008 at 10:16 AM.

  11. #31
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    There is not a apparatus company in existance who does not try to get departments to use their specs on a bid. I have no issues with any of the manufacturers. They all build a wonderful product. But I just cannot see singling out 1 manufacturer all the time. They all are not saints
    Last edited by ScottAvery; 12-31-2008 at 10:19 AM.

  12. #32
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    There is not a apparatus company in existance who does not try to get departments to use their specs on a bid I have no issues with any of the manufacturers. They all build a wonderful product. But I just cannot see singling out 1 manufacturer all the time. They all are not saints
    Last edited by ScottAvery; 12-31-2008 at 10:13 AM.

  13. #33
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    There is not a apparatus company in existance who has tried to get a department to use their specs in a bid. I have no issues with any of the manufacturers. They all build a wonderful product. But I just cannot see singling out 1 manufacturer all the time. They all are not saints
    Last edited by ScottAvery; 12-31-2008 at 10:09 AM.

  14. #34
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    Cool Pattern emerging?

    Revised due to discretion.

  15. #35
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    Sorry about the duplicates my computer has a mind of its own. No Tim I dont feel outnumbered I am just tired of hearing the same old stuff. I applaud each and every member who works on a truck committee. a lot of hours away from family, salesman trying to tell what to buy. Its a lot of work and until you see the end result its can be a long bumpy road. We all have our preferences and thats fine just enough on the bashing we all know what manufactures you like or dont like. Lets just chill a bit and especilly the guys or gals who have had experience on speccing a truck lets do what we can to help out some of our brothers and sis ters to make sure they dont make some of the same mistakes we made
    Last edited by ScottAvery; 12-31-2008 at 10:08 AM.

  16. #36
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    There are only three reasons to use a company's spec when you are bidding a truck:

    1) A clear message to all those you asked for a spec and price from that you are going to buy that particular company's rig no matter what. This is why you either get no other bids or perhaps a lukewarm response from the other companies.

    2) The lack of experience or knowledge of how to write a spec for a vehicle.

    3) Laziness. Cut and paste spec writing is not the way to design a rig.


    When I was selling I simply would not watse my time bidding a rig that the spec was obviously another manufacturers spec. Writing a bid and completing a custom spec takes time and why waste your time when a potential buyer has made it clear what he wants to buy? Hell most FD's wouldn't bid at all if it wasn't a local requirement, they would simply call the manufacturer of what they want, meet, design it together with the rep, and order it.

  17. #37
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    Default Facts !

    [QUOTE=islandfire03;1019705]Lets see : Force Protection is a company that recently was bought out at bankruptcy by Patriarch partners . The same investment firm that ran ALF into chapter 11 & then bought it back at pennies on the dollar.

    Anybody else seeing a pattern here?

    Anyone interested in the facts?

    http://www.charlestonbusiness.com/ne...in-fines?rss=0

    Force Protection was not the company purchased by Patriarch Partners. The company purchased under Chapter 11 was Protected Vehicles Inc.


    "..Also this week, Force Protection and Protected Vehicles Inc. reached a settlement agreement in a copyright case Force Protection brought against PVI and CEO Garth Barrett. Barrett was a founding member of Force Protection but left in 2005 to create PVI in North Charleston. That bankrupt company was purchased by Patriarch Partners for $6 million in August."
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  18. #38
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    Topic creep!
    Scott Avery is the only one to get it right. No slam on Spartan. Even the objective posters like BoxAlarm187 let this one get away. Oh well, lets blame Pierce for everything. As I said before; Fascinating!

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    When I was selling I simply would not watse my time bidding a rig that the spec was obviously another manufacturers spec.
    Or, in other words, if they didn't use your spec to heck with them. Cause, let's face it, well over 90 percent of the specs that are published are a manufacturer's spec rather than a generic or performance spec.

    Plenty of other brands get sold using Pierce specs (I use Pierce because the majority of published specs I have seen in the last thirty years have been Pierce.) It is up to the salesperson to determine if he/she has a legitimate chance of success. IMHO, those departments that only receive a single bid from the company whose specs they use have given some kind of signal to potential bidders that they have already decided what to buy.

  20. #40
    Forum Member islandfire03's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=RetJaxFF;1020184]
    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    Lets see : Force Protection is a company that recently was bought out at bankruptcy by Patriarch partners . The same investment firm that ran ALF into chapter 11 & then bought it back at pennies on the dollar.

    Anybody else seeing a pattern here?

    Anyone interested in the facts?

    http://www.charlestonbusiness.com/ne...in-fines?rss=0

    Force Protection was not the company purchased by Patriarch Partners. The company purchased under Chapter 11 was Protected Vehicles Inc.

    My bad!! Thats what happens when your brain gets past the half century mark. Got the CRS disease.

    "..Also this week, Force Protection and Protected Vehicles Inc. reached a settlement agreement in a copyright case Force Protection brought against PVI and CEO Garth Barrett. Barrett was a founding member of Force Protection but left in 2005 to create PVI in North Charleston. That bankrupt company was purchased by Patriarch Partners for $6 million in August."

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