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    Nothing personal about it. When I say you - I mean your department. I do suggest you find a copy of that report and read it though. You don't want to be caught up in the middle of that stuff.

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    We recently got three bids on an aerial tower and Pierce was the high bidder by quite a bit. When they found out how high they were compared to the other bidders, they made significant "adjustments" to their bid which got them down to #2 on the list. If we had used a spec written around the Pierce product, a don't think we would have paid the adjusted lower price if we had gone with them which we didn't anyway. Competition is essential in keeping them honest with their prices!

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    If anyone wants to read the final report by the State of NJ it can be viewed here: http://www.state.nj.us/sci/pdf/Firet...l%20Report.pdf

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    First a disclaimer: I am neither an antagonist nor a member of the Pierce cult. They build a good truck, but so do other manufacturers. My department has Pierce apparatus, but other brands as well. I've been to Appleton, but I drank no Kool-Aid during my visits.

    Here are some generally accurate truths that I have discovered in dealing with Pierce over the years:
    • If Pierce is a low bidder, something is rotten in Denmark.
    • Pierce doesn't like to get into a TRULY competitive bid process,
      because they seldom win.
    • If Pierce is your only bidder (especially in this economy), your department likely did not perform its due dilligence with writing a spec.
    • If your department is exclusively Pierce, the chief's high cholesterol can
      probably be traced to George's [sorry I couldn't help myself].

    In addition:
    If you received less than three bids on any apparatus in this economic climate, you likely wrote a proprietary spec.

    I have never had a finance director, auditor, or purchasing agent at the local or state level support the idea that standardization is a reason to disqualify other bidders.

    If you are spending tax dollars (federal, state, local, or special districts) on purchases over the amount identified in state statutes, you are required by law to award the the bid to the "lowest qualified bidder" or the "most responsive bidder," depending on how the laws in your state read. Period.

    It is the definition of qualified and responsive that turns the water murky.

    C6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambrose33 View Post
    I do think roll over protection is VITAL! Anything we can do to make these trucks safer we will spend the money. With the new electronics in the truck we can also tell whose wearing a seatbelt and who isn't. Even though we still turn and do a second check. Safety! Safety! Safety!
    It is amazing to me to see a department delete optional safety equipment off their rig because of cost concerns, then turn around and spend 2K on a chrome bell for the front bumper; at which point I usually begin to ponder priorities.

    C6

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    Ambrose -

    When I said "you" I was meaning "your department".

    I have seen spec's written for a certain company, because that is who the department wanted. If your department is happy and your citizens are happy then carry one.

    My 2 cents is that there are a lot of good builders out there that can build you a good truck if they are given a chance. The truck we have on order is an example of that. We awarded the bid to a small builder with a proven track record. They had bid on other trucks and were always on the high end, this time they were 3rd, but because the 1st two bidders had several things that did not meet our spec, they won the bid.

    I would love to have a fleet of trucks from one builder, but when you do that, that builder will start pushing the price up on you. It happened to us this time, we have four engines from the same builder and would have liked to have added a 5th one, and they knew this. It turns out that they were high bidder by around 30,000 dollars. There was 80,000 dollars difference from low bid to high bid and 50,000 dollars difference between winning bid and high bid. To me it would be very hard to justify to one of our taxpayers 50,000 dollars just because we wanted a certain name on the truck. Things like that make it hard to get a tax increase the next time you want/need one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rm1524 View Post
    Ambrose -

    When I said "you" I was meaning "your department".

    I have seen spec's written for a certain company, because that is who the department wanted. If your department is happy and your citizens are happy then carry one.

    My 2 cents is that there are a lot of good builders out there that can build you a good truck if they are given a chance. The truck we have on order is an example of that. We awarded the bid to a small builder with a proven track record. They had bid on other trucks and were always on the high end, this time they were 3rd, but because the 1st two bidders had several things that did not meet our spec, they won the bid.

    I would love to have a fleet of trucks from one builder, but when you do that, that builder will start pushing the price up on you. It happened to us this time, we have four engines from the same builder and would have liked to have added a 5th one, and they knew this. It turns out that they were high bidder by around 30,000 dollars. There was 80,000 dollars difference from low bid to high bid and 50,000 dollars difference between winning bid and high bid. To me it would be very hard to justify to one of our taxpayers 50,000 dollars just because we wanted a certain name on the truck. Things like that make it hard to get a tax increase the next time you want/need one.
    I know of several departments in our area that are getting hosed because of the fact a dealer is taking advantage of the department's desire to stick with their brand. One doesn't even go out to bid, not that I know how they pull that off legally.

    Anyway, to me it's unethical to cut out other companies by using proprietary bids. I believe that's a big reason the AFG has made it where any company that assists in the spec-writing process is unable to bid on equipment.

    My career department recently bid out a 100' aerial. We did end up excluding a number of good manufacturers because the committee opted for an aluminum stick. Only three that I know of build aluminum aerials, only two build rear-mounts. At least that's what the bids we recieved are indicating. Our specs do have some proprietary items in it, but it's hybrid. There's items that one manufacturer has proprietary, some that another does, and some that another does. No one is going to meet the bid spec 100%.

    The job of the committee is to go through the bids and determine which truck best fits our needs and meets our demands the best. It's not what I'd consider an ideal situation, but by no means have we already determined who's building the truck until the bids are sifted through thoroughly. And it's what the powers-that-be opted to do, so that's how we're doing it.

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    Catch -

    I heard that you guys are going back to commercial cab engines? Is that true?

    Oh I did see some of the demo trucks what you guys had in, some of them looked pretty slick. Guess I should have stop and looked at them. Then I could have told you what we want at station 8.
    Last edited by rm1524; 01-17-2010 at 07:02 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dano313 View Post
    If anyone wants to read the final report by the State of NJ it can be viewed here: http://www.state.nj.us/sci/pdf/Firet...l%20Report.pdf
    I have stated this before, but I will do it again as it is a very valid statement for this particular thread.....Kind of interesting how Pierce is the only Mfr. mentioned specifically by name in this report.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeadOff View Post
    We recently got three bids on an aerial tower and Pierce was the high bidder by quite a bit. When they found out how high they were compared to the other bidders, they made significant "adjustments" to their bid which got them down to #2 on the list. If we had used a spec written around the Pierce product, a don't think we would have paid the adjusted lower price if we had gone with them which we didn't anyway. Competition is essential in keeping them honest with their prices!
    "Adjustments"?? WTF is "adjustments". Mfg make your bid and live with it. Bids opening it's the end of the pricing discussion it's not an auction. You lose the bid go home and work on the next project.

    Adjustments is meeting of two crooks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    "Adjustments"?? WTF is "adjustments". Mfg make your bid and live with it. Bids opening it's the end of the pricing discussion it's not an auction. You lose the bid go home and work on the next project.

    Adjustments is meeting of two crooks.
    We were told that there were some mistakes or miscalculations made in the original bid and they requested it be relooked. What I think it meant was that we need to sharpen-up the pencil quite a bit. To be fair to the other bidders, we also gave them the same opportunity to revise their bid if they wanted to but they declined.
    Last edited by LeadOff; 01-17-2010 at 12:18 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeadOff View Post
    We were told that there were some mistakes or miscalculations made in the original bid and they requested it be relooked. What I think it meant was that we need to sharpen-up the pencil quite a bit. To be fair to the other bidders, we also gave them the same opportunity to revise their bid if they wanted to but they declined.
    The mistakes they made were to assume that they could rob your department and get away with it.
    To allow the high bidder a chance to alter their bid after the official opening is criminal and in violation of most bidding procedures. unless you throw out ALL bids and go through the process from the beginning it's a scam, even then you know what the other responsible bidders numbers are. it's always easier to be successful when you can look at the competitions hand in advance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    The mistakes they made were to assume that they could rob your department and get away with it.
    To allow the high bidder a chance to alter their bid after the official opening is criminal and in violation of most bidding procedures. unless you throw out ALL bids and go through the process from the beginning it's a scam, even then you know what the other responsible bidders numbers are. it's always easier to be successful when you can look at the competitions hand in advance.
    We only allowed this since our company DOES NOT have to go with the low bidder (thank God!) but we would have to fully justify why we would go with a higher bid to the company membership for approval by vote. In this particular case, we did end up going with the low bid anyway. It was very interesting to see how much Pierce lowered their bid. Now we have a much better idea as to how much some of those guys will PAD that bid so they can get that big fat commission.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeadOff View Post
    We only allowed this since our company DOES NOT have to go with the low bidder (thank God!) but we would have to fully justify why we would go with a higher bid to the company membership for approval by vote. In this particular case, we did end up going with the low bid anyway. It was very interesting to see how much Pierce lowered their bid. Now we have a much better idea as to how much some of those guys will PAD that bid so they can get that big fat commission.
    Good luck getting anyone to bid the next time you bid. Vendors remember things like that and they won't waste their time bidding again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rm1524 View Post
    Good luck getting anyone to bid the next time you bid. Vendors remember things like that and they won't waste their time bidding again.
    And now we have a better idea on who we don't want to deal with anymore, either.

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    We made the error on our platform of "over"speccing if you will. We had three active bidders,of which Smeal was the most responsive and followed the bid spec almost exactly. Pierce,Sutphen, and E-one failed to bid,in part I believe due to our published spec.No surprise, the bid was awarded to Smeal and we're MORE than happy with the finished product. I'm in full agreement to write a GOOD GENERIC spec that covers the items you need and get your bid packs back.ANY of the competent builders today will deliver you a GOOD,sound,servicable rig as long as you do your homework correctly in Bid Spec and Pre-build.If you go with a mfg specfic spec, you will severely limit yourself and the competitive bid process. NOT a good idea.Won't happen here again. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeadOff View Post
    We were told that there were some mistakes or miscalculations made in the original bid and they requested it be relooked. What I think it meant was that we need to sharpen-up the pencil quite a bit. To be fair to the other bidders, we also gave them the same opportunity to revise their bid if they wanted to but they declined.
    Sorry,

    But it's like neiowa islandfire03 said. A bid is a bid. Legally, they have to cannot change the bid. The only way around this is if all the bids are rejected and the project is re-bid (giving all other bidders a chance to "sharpen their pencils" too.

    That is why they called it a SEALED BID.

    C6
    Last edited by Command6; 01-17-2010 at 05:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeadOff View Post
    We only allowed this since our company DOES NOT have to go with the low bidder (thank God!) but we would have to fully justify why we would go with a higher bid to the company membership for approval by vote.
    I would suggest that you also be able to justify your decision to the community you serve; that is if you want to retain their support. They need reassurance that you are good stewards and using the resources they provide you wisely.

    Quote Originally Posted by LeadOff View Post
    It was very interesting to see how much Pierce lowered their bid. Now we have a much better idea as to how much some of those guys will PAD that bid so they can get that big fat commission.
    I agree with your decision. The question I ask myself is, "Do we really want to do business with a company that tried to fleece our department, then cut the price when they got caught trying to do it?"

    C6
    Last edited by Command6; 01-17-2010 at 05:57 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeadOff View Post
    We only allowed this since our company DOES NOT have to go with the low bidder (thank God!) but we would have to fully justify why we would go with a higher bid to the company membership for approval by vote. In this particular case, we did end up going with the low bid anyway. It was very interesting to see how much Pierce lowered their bid. Now we have a much better idea as to how much some of those guys will PAD that bid so they can get that big fat commission.
    I am not a promoter of low bid purchasing requirements. Our specs state " we will award the contract to the most responsive bidder with the least amount of exceptions taken to the published specification". As it turned out on 2 recent purchases both bids did go to the low bidder based on them most closely meeting our requirements. They both offered a product that closely met our requirements and didn't try to sell us what we didn't want.

    That and the fact that one of the other bidders was trying to build a new house on our purchase. It wasn't even a pierce dealer. open and fair competition in bidding keeps all the players honest, and working hard to earn your business.

    The fact that they wanted to drop large amounts from the original bid tells me they figured you for pigeons that were an easy pluck.
    Last edited by islandfire03; 01-18-2010 at 08:25 AM.

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    Since this thread was started...a few more articles have made their way into print concerning this very subject.... one, in my opinion, prooves that Kool-aid at some time been consumed by the chief. In that article, did it not show the pierce was more expencive, but in the article it stated that "a source from within the department who wiched not to be named" stated that if they do purchase the Pierce they will have to build an extension to the apparatus bays to house it.... the Sutphen, not only cheeper, would fit with no alterations.
    The second article...was about the city in general...and how it is in financle distress, barely making ends meet, and looking towards filing for ACT 47 with the state.
    For those who may/maynot remember, Pittsburgh filled for and recieved AT 47 status a few years back.... in laymens terms, The city files backruptcy (sp) and the state apoints an oversight board to aid the city in getting back on it's feet.
    So you have a finiancaly strapped city, that if it buys the Pierce will not only pay more money but have to add on to their firehouse......did i mention they were fianancaly strapped?

    Sounds like they have a new stronger "formula" for the Kool-Aid....
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    Being in NJ and speccing for a truck has become fun for some. I read some posts here and now know why I have so many legal experts reviewing our bid specs.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rm1524 View Post
    Catch -

    I heard that you guys are going back to commercial cab engines? Is that true?

    Oh I did see some of the demo trucks what you guys had in, some of them looked pretty slick. Guess I should have stop and looked at them. Then I could have told you what we want at station 8.
    That's the word. We'll find out before too long I hope. We're supposed to start working on an engine spec as soon as this truck gets awarded.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RoofTopTrucky View Post
    Since this thread was started...a few more articles have made their way into print concerning this very subject.... one, in my opinion, prooves that Kool-aid at some time been consumed by the chief.
    The second I read that "the Chief did not want to discuss it in public" I knew that it was not beer in the pitchers at the meetings with the salesman.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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