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Thread: Seagrave's hometown buys a Marion.

  1. #21
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by FyredUp
    So we should have paid, depending on who else we went with, between $50 and $100k more for our last rescue engine just to buy with in the State of Wisconsin? Sorry but, NO, in fact we would not have been able to buy the new engine that we wanted, and finally got, by doing that. I am not saying don't buy locally. In Fact I do that for most FD purchases whether buying supplies at the hardware store, or fire equipment from Wisconsin based dealers. Heck, I try to that in MOST of my purchases in my personal life. But I will not pay a third more to buy local, that makes no economic sense.
    I agree you cannot be foolhardy with the taxpayers money, and significant differences certainly preclude one from buying locally even when they wish to. The point was merely that there should be more thought about the dollars we spend and where they end up. I know I've talking with countless municipal employees (fire and other depts) that never have given this a thought. My boss has always made a concerted effort to buy as much as we can locally and it's paid off with our city council recognizing us as one (if not the only) dept who truly looks out for the taxpayers both in terms of service and their tax burden. That helps when time are tight.

    We contacted Seagrave, Pierce, Custom Fire, WS Darley, and CFB, all manufactured in Wisconsin. As well as Toyne, manufactured in Iowa, and HME, manufactured in Michigan. I received a call from Seagrave and we had a nice long chat about their products and how much we had to spend. I gave him a rough outline of what we wanted and he said quite apologetically we can't build you want you want for the money you have to spend. They were out. I talked to the Pierce dealer in our area and they came in at $100K over what we had to spend, then went with a lower cost cab and still came in at $50K over. They were out. Not because they don't build a quality product, simply because of price. Custom Fire came in, and the first thing the salesman did was argue with us about the amount of our grant. That set the night off on the right track. They sent 2 proposals both well above what we had to spend and they were out. WS Darley came in and proceeded to spend a good chunk of the salesman's time there insulting us and what we wanted to buy. He was pushing a poly body which we did not want, and CAFs that without giving up too much else we wanted, we could not afford. He told us that if we didn't go with a poly body we were behind the times and using 2 inch handlines with only class A foam was an obsolete, water damage creating way to fight fire. Um, they were out. CFB was within our price range and was very close to what we wanted and they stayed in the process at this point. Toyne brought a nice demo rig in they stayed in the process at this point. HME came in with a nice demo rig and they were very wlling to work with us on what we wanted within our price range.

    In the end HME would build what we wanted for the money we had and they got the contract.


    Originally Posted by FyredUp
    I would put our rig up against any of the manufacturers in Wisconsin in a heads up comparison of features and quality. So why did one of the big names tell us they couldn't do it for the money we had and the other came in at $100K over and then if we downgraded chassis they could come in at $50K over?
    Buying locally has a direct impact on the taxpayers, buying within the state is just smarter business when it's within reason, but likely has a very limited effect on the taxpayers seeing you as "helping".

    I don't disagree that if prices, quality, and service after the sale is there, that buying locally or within the state benefits that economy. But again, over paying simply to buy local is not economically sound.

    Originally Posted by FyredUp
    Personally I would have loved to have had a Seagrave back into our station, and if it met our needs, and price, I would have been okay with a Pierce. But not for more money when the pump, engine, transmission, valves, lights, sirens, and more are all the same from manufacturer to manufacturer.
    Again, it only works when they offer a product that meets spec and is withing a reasonable price difference. I'd say in the same state? 5% might be the max, in the same municipality? 10-20% might be reasonable. The extra dollars spent may pay dividends later?

    What dividends?

    Originally Posted by FyredUp
    The thing that is not answered in all this is whether Clinton ever bid Seagrave. Maybe they didn't for some reason we don't know. Or Maybe Marion came in at a much better price that simply couldn't be ignored.
    Exactly, we really don't know, but it raises an eyebrow, which speaks to my point if the town the truck is built in won't/can't buy one is there something we should know if we're looking to buy one?

    Perhaps. There are always undercurrents that the rest of the world may or may not know.
    Originally Posted by FyredUp
    There is nothing wrong with brand loyalty, or buying locally, IF you can justify it. But to do it blindly is simply foolish.
    Most don't even try to justify either. And while I certainly don't advocate not speccing exactly what you need, at any point in the day, I'm nearly certain that my crew could fight a fire with any properly working engine/aerial on the market and I'd certainly ignore who's badge was on the grill, to ensure I had a full crew or more crew than I do today.

    To me a spec has less to do with any specific brand than it has to do with the completion of a study on what the FDs needs are for that rig and making whoever wins the bid build that rig. If what they build, and what they deliver, isn't what you want don't accept the rig.
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  2. #22
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    Since we're not really far apart if at all on this issue, I'll only make two more comments on your post:

    1. My post was not about your purchase, merely noting that when a community has a manufacturer within it's boundaries and doesn't find a way to make it work, it raises my eyebrow and it appears others agree. Given Seagrave's line, I doubt seriously that they couldn't produce an apparatus that met a performance spec, maybe they couldn't meet lock out specs, but cost aside they have produced a very wide array of apparatus. Now the bid price? Maybe that was just to high? I don't know, but at the end of the day, the situation did result in people discussing it, thus it does lead to questions about the builder and the city, while the facts elude us.

    2. What dividends? Spending a modest amount more to keep the money local means that the dollars spent by your taxpayers, supports the rest of your taxpayers. The people who work in the plant are not left with any sour taste and those in the general public who know little about the business see their tax dollars staying in town, helping employ their neighbors, helping pay taxes that help keep their taxes lower. When it comes time for taxpayers to make hard decisions about budgets, I know which scenario I'd rather have.
    Last edited by RFDACM02; 02-02-2014 at 05:12 PM. Reason: keyboard caused misspelled words

  3. #23
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    Since we're not really far apart if at all on this issue, I'll only make two more comments on your post:

    1. My post was not about your purchase, merely noting that when a community has a manufacturer within it's boundaries and doesn't find a way to make it work, it raises my eyebrow and it appears others agree. Given Seagrave's line, I doubt seriously that they couldn't produce an apparatus that met a performance spec, maybe they couldn't meet lock out specs, but cost aside they have produced a very wide array of apparatus. Now the bid price? Maybe that was just to high? I don't know, but at the end of the day, the situation did result in people discussing it, thus it does lead to questions about the builder and the city, while the facts elude us.

    I agree it leads to questions. We can all travel down a sinister road to what those questions and answers may be, or we can sit scratch our chins and go hmmm...

    2. What dividends? Spending a modest amount more to keep the money local means that the dollars spent by your taxpayers, supports the rest of your taxpayers. The people who work in the plant are not left with any sour taste and those in the general public who know little about the business see their tax dollars staying in town, helping employ their neighbors, helping pay taxes that help keep their taxes lower. When it comes time for taxpayers to make hard decisions about budgets, I know which scenario I'd rather have.

    It has been stated here on FH.com that many people have no idea who offers them fire protection. So it seems kind of illogical to me that we can't expect people to even know who offers them fire protection, but they are informed enough to know who built the new fire engine that just rolled into the firehouse.
    I agree we are not very far apart on this at all.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
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  4. #24
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    Lots of good discussion here, but do we have any real information on why Clintonville went with a Marion?
    We do not rise to the occasion. We fall back to our level of training.

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    Clintonville has not necessarily been a die-hard Seagrave customer, even though they are right down the street. The current Seagrave units they do have in the fleet are relatively standard units. Their aerial was even purchased used from Denver, Colorado. They have Welch and Marion units already in their fleet as well. Welch and Marion are both close in proximity to Clintonville. Many people in that area work for a fire apparatus manufacturer - Welch, Marion, EJ Metals, Seagrave, or Pierce (and 3-D in Shawano, before ALF ruined them). I visited the Clintonville FD once and remember that several of their members worked for Marion, so it will still be a familiar product.

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    FYI - The Chief of the Clintonville Fire Dept. is the National Sales Manager of Marion.

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    Here in the state of New Jersey, that would be considered a " conflict of intrest " and the DCA and attorney general would get involved. There were many apparatus purchased a few years ago with fire officers working for fire truck builders and there companies would get the bid awards with the truck specs geared towards them only. Over one year ago the state of N.J. offered co-op fire apparatus purchasing threw state contract awards to stop any shady deals with builders !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodbridge View Post
    Here in the state of New Jersey, that would be considered a " conflict of intrest " and the DCA and attorney general would get involved. There were many apparatus purchased a few years ago with fire officers working for fire truck builders and there companies would get the bid awards with the truck specs geared towards them only. Over one year ago the state of N.J. offered co-op fire apparatus purchasing threw state contract awards to stop any shady deals with builders !
    While that may be true in New Jersey, I am pretty much certain that that this is NOT the case in Clintonville and did not mean to insinuate such. Just as a point of reference -

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoseline12 View Post
    FYI - The Chief of the Clintonville Fire Dept. is the National Sales Manager of Marion.
    I believe it would be safe to say if they have an issue with the truck, he'll see that it's taken care of.

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    It sure sounds nice to have a sales rep on your fire department when there is a problem with a new rig. But getting back to Seagrave, why are they gearing there business toward only selling high end fire apparatus. They sold program pumper trucks a few years ago, which all fire departments could afford to buy!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ctxffman View Post
    I believe it would be safe to say if they have an issue with the truck, he'll see that it's taken care of.
    One must be very careful if tax dollars get into the mix and the same municipality accepts any federal funds or grants. Most federal funding requires you to be a "Good Corporate partner" which says a lot about who you can buy from, and any connection between the seller and the buyer at multiple levels.

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