In my opinion there are solid reasons to buy from the big 3 manufacturers. Some smaller companies do a great job too like central States, Smeal, KME, Boise Mobile Equipment, SVI but the reasons to buy from them usually hover around affordability and they usually make specialty apparatus.
If you want quality apparatus buy from Pierec, E-One and American Lafrance or their subsidaries like Saulsbury etc.
Look at how long these companies have been arund and asky why they continue to outsell and out produce all the others pretty much combined. They have the factory support, the dealer network, parts inventory and they usually have the manufacturing time down as well as costs since they make so many at one time. Its the same reasoning that Ford makes and sells more cars than say Ferrari. Ferrari is costly to make and very specialized.
The big 3 also do a lot of their own leasing and financing and are generally more financially independant.
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Thread: The big 3!
03-04-2001, 07:47 PM #1natemarshallFirehouse.com Guest
The big 3!
03-05-2001, 08:14 AM #2tc1chiefFirehouse.com Guest
Ill agree with you except for one you listed as the "Big Three". I have had experiences with Oren, Grumman, Howe, John Bean; Pierce, E-One, Mack, and ALF. In my opinion its great for firefighters that Grumman/Howe and John Bean have went out of business, because I haven't had anything bug grief out of these trucks. I know that this is going to start a war but I wouldn't hit a bull in the butt with an E-One, the experiences of our County's departments is not pretty. I just took delivery of a 2001 ALF and love it just as much as the 1979 and 1980 they were great to work with.
03-06-2001, 11:17 PM #3fireman_387Firehouse.com Guest
I would'nt be afraid of buying from a small company, they usually can build exactly what you want in a apparatus, not tell you what you "must" have. The biggest problems with apparatus today are electrical, and that usually doesn't require parts.
One thing to remember when the big 3 say they are sole source manufacturers, ask them do they make the engines, transmissions and electrical systems to power the apparatus? Their response will be NO.
My last chief was specking out a new truck a few years ago and in discussion he brought up the fact that if we completed our fleet with e-one we would get great service out of them. My response was that all we liked having a fire house full of e-one was one more and we weren't getting service from the company now. The new unit was delivered, several warranty issues were brought up before end of 1st year and nothing was done. Three years and four alternators later still no return call
03-06-2001, 11:27 PM #4Capt. ZadaFirehouse.com Guest
I do not consider the current ALF to be a long time manufacturer of fire apparatus. The ALF Company went out of business. Daimler-Chrysler-Freightliner-White-Sterling- bought the ALF name and began building apparatus. It may be a good product, but it isn't the old ALF.
03-29-2001, 03:46 PM #5S. CheathamFirehouse.com Guest
I have to agree with Capt. Zada on the issue of ALF being in the top 3. I think you should include Seagrave instead of ALF (Think of all the FDNY pieces). Also what fireman387 said about small companies is correct. We are a very pro-Pierce department, however, last year we put out bids on a pumper/tanker. We came up with some general specs and the manufacturers met with us to show their wares. We were specing a 2000 gal tanker on a single rear axle. Pierce said it could not be done and tried to sell us a cookie-cutter type truck. 4-Guys out of Meyersdale, PA talked with us and said they would check with the engineers. Because of new plastic tanks we were able to get what we wanted.
I think you will find also that most of the independents are the only true "custom" manufacturers. They will build what you want them to build, not what they want to produce from an assembly line.
We still love our Pierces and the next standard pumper or aerial will probably be a Pierce, but when it comes to something specialized, don't count the independents out.
With any product you have to check the manufacturer's history and ask for some references. You wouldn't want to buy a truck from a company only 5 years old. Just check them out thoroughly first.
03-29-2001, 04:28 PM #6tc1chiefFirehouse.com Guest
Capt. Zada and S. Cheatham, I want to appolagize to you, I didn't mean to suggest and I agree with you that ALF is not actually a long term manufacture at its present stage. But may I say that the craftsmanship of my new unit exceeds the former ALF units 110%. A lot of people cautioned me about going with the new ALF, in fact they told me it would never work that they would not be in business over a year. After checking on the history and status's of Delmier/Chrylsler and found both to be outstanding in my opinion. Ive contacted them once for waranty work and it was a breeze to get it fixed in station. I think they will be around for a long time to come. When we were specing the unit Pierce approaced us and also bid and the unit that they bid was a "cookie cutter" that wouldn't fit in the station, on the wrong chassis, inadequate GVW, no cascade compartment, and different engine and transmission. I use to believe that Pierce Mfg. was one of the best but no more... ALF bent over 3 different times to accomodate my needs during construction and once doing waranty work...
William C Allison II
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