1. #1
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    Default Question about awarding the bid

    there has been a stupid debate in my department about awarding the bid for our turnout gear. I'm hoping someone can end the debate. Here's some back ground.....

    Our department being an incorporation does not have a strict purchasing policy. It's pretty much whatever the board of directors see fit at the time and if they approve it then it goes to the membership as a vote. If it passes both we buy whatever we want.

    In my narative I stated " We have consulted with three equipment suppliers and the quoted cost of all equipment purchased will meet OSHA & NFPA specifications. Upon being notified that Leeds Hose Co. # 1 has been awarded an Assistance to Firefighters Grant, we will request formal bids from these suppliers and purchase the equipment from the lowest successful bidder."

    We were awarded the grant, wrote and dispursed the bid specs to the 3 suppliers mention above. We have not recieved them back yet. they are not due until March 4th.

    So here's the big question. Say all three companies meet the specs. And lets say one company is not the cheapest price but they do offer the quickest delivery time. Is that a valid reason to go with said company over the less expensive one? I say no. Others say yes. What is the correct answer?

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    Lowest price is the ONLY criteria for purchase decision? You have no minimum spec? If this is the case you need to back up and start over. DO-OVER.

    How about warranty (terms and period), type/specs/performance, years the mfg has been in business and with this distributor, how has the gear biid held up in service with other FD in your area (who purchased from this distributor), what kind of service have you received from the distributor BEFORE you had grant $ to spend?

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    I don't know how hard they'd hold you to it, but it sounds like you set forth the requirements in the narrative- purchase the equipment from the lowest successful bidder.

    I know AFG won't hold you to lowest bid if there's factors that make a higher bid more appealing, but I would have a hard time justifying to our taxpayers (let alone AFG) why I spent more money for an earlier delivery date, unless it was a major difference.

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    One thing your supplier might be able to do if they are in the middle of the price range is to give you a trade-in price for your old gear to lower the actual cost to stay competitive. Just another way of sharpen the pencil.

    If they do this make sure to include that the old gear will be destroyed upon trade in. You'll also have a cleaner station instead of this old gear getting thrown up in the rafters for years.

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    all three suppliers were funished a minimum specs list for all components of the ensamble. if they don't meet those specs i would think we could "dismiss" that bid. but my biggest question is if they meet those specs and one is more expensive than another who meets the same specs but offers a better delivery date say 4-5 weeks verses 90 days would that validate going with the higher priced gear?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtndew21 View Post
    One thing your supplier might be able to do if they are in the middle of the price range is to give you a trade-in price for your old gear to lower the actual cost to stay competitive. Just another way of sharpen the pencil.

    If they do this make sure to include that the old gear will be destroyed upon trade in. You'll also have a cleaner station instead of this old gear getting thrown up in the rafters for years.
    we already plan to take the out dated gear or gear that is within it's operational life but damaged beyond the cost of the repairs to the dump.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtndew21 View Post
    One thing your supplier might be able to do if they are in the middle of the price range is to give you a trade-in price for your old gear to lower the actual cost to stay competitive. Just another way of sharpen the pencil.

    If they do this make sure to include that the old gear will be destroyed upon trade in. You'll also have a cleaner station instead of this old gear getting thrown up in the rafters for years.
    We've been using the gear we take out of service for our explorers. Since they don't do interior firefighting, it works great for them. Just another alternative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leedsfighting17 View Post
    we already plan to take the out dated gear or gear that is within it's operational life but damaged beyond the cost of the repairs to the dump.
    Was pointing out what can happen to get a lower price. I Need to mention also to save a few old sets behind for training or waterfights.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    We've been using the gear we take out of service for our explorers. Since they don't do interior firefighting, it works great for them. Just another alternative.
    Us chiefs talked about that...We know that our department will wanna keep the old stuff well atleast the old guys who still think you don't need anything but a rain coat and a hose for interior firefighting. They won't issue it solely to explorers or juniors they will issue it to new comers. Even ones who will go interior so to resolve that we are getting rid of them.

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    when it comes to lead time for turnout gear the std for custom gear is usually 60-75 days on average unless you want gear that was produced 6-9 months ago that sat on a shelf and has actually lost time for 1851 std.

    seen that before..

    best bet is to get something that you will be happy with and from a vendor that will stand behind your purchase.

    if you are in NY let me know I'll help point you in the right direction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtndew21 View Post
    One thing your supplier might be able to do if they are in the middle of the price range is to give you a trade-in price for your old gear to lower the actual cost to stay competitive. Just another way of sharpen the pencil.

    If they do this make sure to include that the old gear will be destroyed upon trade in. You'll also have a cleaner station instead of this old gear getting thrown up in the rafters for years.
    Give a tradein allowance for old POS TO gear? Which they then have to PAY to landfill.

    What are you smoking?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CFD CAR 8 View Post
    when it comes to lead time for turnout gear the std for custom gear is usually 60-75 days on average unless you want gear that was produced 6-9 months ago that sat on a shelf and has actually lost time for 1851 std.
    I was thinking the same thing. 4-5 weeks isn't a very long time to manufacture custom-fit gear. If they've got that short of a lead time, I'd question whether it's truly custom fit or not.

    I don't know where you're located, but I know of a slew of Explorer posts that would love to have any gear rather than see it tossed in the trash. All you'd have to do is have a written agreement that the department recieving it will not, under any circumstances, allow it to be used for firefighting PPE.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leedsfighting17 View Post
    we already plan to take the out dated gear or gear that is within it's operational life but damaged beyond the cost of the repairs to the dump.
    Are you joking? Just tell me what dumpster you are going to use and a time. I could send them to a professional cleaning service put them in the hands of our new guys. I have found out that giving a new set of gear and new pager with a new handheld just for them to find out in a month or so that this is too much work and too much time for them. I will pay for the shipping just let me know when.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fireinfo10 View Post
    Give a tradein allowance for old POS TO gear? Which they then have to PAY to landfill.

    What are you smoking?

    If the vendor wants the sale they will give a trade in on the POS turn out as you state. If that means dipping into profit so be it. No difference when you trade in your vehicle POS or not it has value even if means getting the foot in the door so they become repeat customers.

    If I bowed to every saleperson's best offer we would still be fighting fires with buckets and raincoats....

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    Quote Originally Posted by dfd701 View Post
    Are you joking? Just tell me what dumpster you are going to use and a time. I could send them to a professional cleaning service put them in the hands of our new guys. I have found out that giving a new set of gear and new pager with a new handheld just for them to find out in a month or so that this is too much work and too much time for them. I will pay for the shipping just let me know when.
    Another good point dfd.
    Why spend $2000+ on new gear when you can recycle old gear for new recruits till you know they will stay on roster.

    One man's junk is another man's treasure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtndew21 View Post
    Another good point dfd.
    Why spend $2000+ on new gear when you can recycle old gear for new recruits till you know they will stay on roster.

    One man's junk is another man's treasure.
    While that may be the case in some areas, here in NYS the 'recruits' going to firefighter training schools MUST have equipment that meets the current NFPA standard(s) including serviceability and proper fit. The instructors have great latitude in determining if the gear seems unfit and are backed up by the State to deny it's use in training...

    The only thing I can even sort of get away with is handing them out to the Explorers (but there are issues even there...)

    Take it for what it is worth, but if the narrative is compelling enough to convince the AFGP to replace the gear, it is likely well past it's serviceable lifespan...

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    [QUOTE=medic190;1151450]While that may be the case in some areas, here in NYS the 'recruits' going to firefighter training schools MUST have equipment that meets the current NFPA standard(s) including serviceability and proper fit. The instructors have great latitude in determining if the gear seems unfit and are backed up by the State to deny it's use in training...QUOTE]

    presicely.. one of our counties state fire instructors is actually in our department and he's a by the book kinda guy. besides i'll have enough new gear to get my entire department into gear that is in good shape and within it's service life so why risk giving someone the junk.

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    Angry Accept our choice.

    When it comes down to FEMA preferring the lowest pricing as the primary reason for choosing a particular turnout or whatever, then maybe they should begin to rate the equipment. Which make and model is the premier of the industry. I do not see that. In fact it seems almost too vague. Almost like FEMA could use it against you if they have some other issues that is upsetting them. Kinda like you send out a radio communications bid to a vendor who also has a radio tower you plan to install a repeater on. The vendor doesn't get the bid, so when you come to him for permission to put the repeater on his tower he tells you No! Gives you some excuse, but its really because he didn't get to sell you the equipment.

    Would be great if FEMA could just begin setting a standard of which turnout or which radio is the top of the line. In their eyes. If I have three bids for turnouts say Globe. Morning Pride and Verizon. Verizon comes in with the lowest bid, but our department is willing to pay an additional $200 dollars above the awarded amount, how can FEMA argue with that if Globe is what the department wants?

    Frankly I'm getting a little disgusted with worrying about what FEMA is going to say about the procurement. They are letting us make that decision, so trust us to make the decision we feel is best for us. We can't read FEMA's mind if they are not going to tell us which make and model we can buy for what price. Or give us a rating scale.

    A rating scale must be correlated to a price statement in my opinion. But they do not do that. FEMA does not demand that we go with the lowest bid, they just emphasis it. So as long as you get the required bids, then FEMA should stay out of the decision of which equipment you choose.

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    I don't think FEMA is mandating the lowest bid, rather the lowest acceptable bidder. If your requirements mean that vendor 1 does not match the bid specs, then they don't get the bid.

    If all things are equal, then yes, it goes to the lowest bidder - and maybe your bid specs should be different.

    If you put it in your application narrative, then yes, FEMA want you to do what you said you would do. Now if you said the lowest ACCEPTABLE bid, then it may be different.

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    Talking

    Our RFP states that we are not required to go with the lowest priced bidder.
    It states we will choose from the most responsible bidder that meets our specifications the closest. All vendors are aware of this going in. We send out a bid sheet that asks specifically if they meet the requirements of our RFP and require them to make note of any & all exceptions that they take to OUR specs.
    On our last two vehicle purchases ,[ ambulance & brush truck] the low bidder just happened to most closely meet our specs and take the least exceptions. There was no collusion or bid fixing involved as they were sealed bids submitted to the town and publicly opened at the selectman's meeting, then returned to us for evaluation and rating . We then made our recommendation to the town on which vehicle bid we recommended and why.
    Used the same process for radios and SCBA which were purchased with AFG funds.

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    Default old gear

    I believe you are required to destroy all old fire gear as agreed to in the grant application. That is the whole idea of AFG--getting old obsolete unsafe gear out of service and replace with new.



    If that were not really the case, AFG could potentially replace the same old crappy gear twice or more.



    If it is in that good of shape, then why did you put in to replace it?? Because the "Jones" have new gear. We need to be fiscally responsible here too. I know we hate to toss good gear, but if it is junk, it is junk.



    Keep it to do search and rescue training to save on the wear and tear of your good gear crawling around on the concrete in most cases.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leedsfighting17 View Post
    there has been a stupid debate in my department about awarding the bid for our turnout gear. I'm hoping someone can end the debate. Here's some back ground.....

    Our department being an incorporation does not have a strict purchasing policy. It's pretty much whatever the board of directors see fit at the time and if they approve it then it goes to the membership as a vote. If it passes both we buy whatever we want.

    In my narative I stated " We have consulted with three equipment suppliers and the quoted cost of all equipment purchased will meet OSHA & NFPA specifications. Upon being notified that Leeds Hose Co. # 1 has been awarded an Assistance to Firefighters Grant, we will request formal bids from these suppliers and purchase the equipment from the lowest successful bidder."

    We were awarded the grant, wrote and dispursed the bid specs to the 3 suppliers mention above. We have not recieved them back yet. they are not due until March 4th.

    So here's the big question. Say all three companies meet the specs. And lets say one company is not the cheapest price but they do offer the quickest delivery time. Is that a valid reason to go with said company over the less expensive one? I say no. Others say yes. What is the correct answer?
    You should have a written purchasing policy to help keep you out of hot water. I believe in most areas, if you receive tax dollars, you must have a competitive bid process to ensure equal treatment of vendors. Only in rare circumstances could you begin to justify sticking with one manufacturer or supplier. One example might be SCBA where you purchase a couple replacements; most folks want to stick with the same manufacturer to minimize maintenance and training and interoperability issues. When you write your policy be sure it gives you discretion to be able to select someone other than low bid based on established criteria. (i.e. Did not meet spec, all references gave poor reviews of after sale service, etc) We firefighters are a passionate bunch and by God we like our Dodge, Ford, Chevy and all other trucks are worthless. We must not allow our passion (opinion) to cloud our judgment when spending tax dollars entrusted to us by our neighbors.

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