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  • #16
    After all that, I guess the real answer to your questions is, why not? Platforms get built with dual monitors on the bucket all of the time, giving up to 6000gpm worth of flow. There's no reason not to build a truck with enough capabilities to grow. Too often people build trucks that only satisfy today's needs, not tomorrow's. The public doesn't like having to buy things twice, I don't like to do it myself.

    Same reason I don't understand why people build 75' aerial tandem axle trucks. If you need a 75', you'll probably need a 100' within 8-10 years, sometimes even sooner. With inflation and price increases, why waste the money now on a truck that won't fill the known need? Plan for the future and get the truck that will grow with the community. So many go with single axle 75' quints because the tandem won't fit down certain roads. What happens when you call the mutual aid 100' tandem because you need it? Buy the truck that the fires or tomorrow will demand, not what is convenient today. The roads will need to change at some point, get it done now, rather than after the buildings burn to the ground.
    Brian P. Vickers
    www.vickersconsultingservices.com
    Emergency Services Consulting
    Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
    Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

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    • #17
      Content deleted by author.
      Last edited by Firefighter807; 07-08-2009, 07:11 PM.

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      • #18
        A spec that is not detailed allows the builder to enter into a lot of grey areas, and win. After the fact you cant say " Thats not what we wanted". A spec that is too general is just asking for problems. a custom pumper is not custom with a 20 page spec.

        the last rescue pumper i did was 90+ pages and the last crash truck was over 100 pages.

        you need to be specific to get a custom piece

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        • #19
          I think we're talking two different things. The list that the builder presents their spec to us is different than what we give to them.

          If you aren't too entirely concerned with certain components, then don't mention them or spec minimums. So what you send the salespeople can be less than a page, but what they will return is 90+ pages. That's normal. But there is no reason that we need to write all of the standard legalese, their spec writing programs spit that stuff out. All too often people get too involved in detailing little things that can't be changed anyway. Most discharges can't be moved because of engineering designs. So outside of adding front or rear inlets, a discharge here or there, crosslays vs speedlays and the sort, there is no need to spend time (i.e. money) worrying about how the officer side discharges line up. They have to provide drains for every discharge, so don't worry about asking for them. Worry about where they are putting them if you want to spend time on drains.

          I'm floored by the $700K pumpers that people are putting together, and for no other reason than they wanted to decide where every single bolt on a truck was. The simple answer is that the more things you customize, the more expensive the truck gets. Ask for what you can't live without, and let them write a spec. If you decide that something needs changing or moving, let them know and redo it if they want. All of them use a software program to price and write the specs for them, a couple of clicks and they have a new spec. There is no need for a truck committee to write 90 pages.
          Brian P. Vickers
          www.vickersconsultingservices.com
          Emergency Services Consulting
          Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
          Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

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          • #20
            Content deleted by author.
            Last edited by Firefighter807; 07-08-2009, 07:10 PM.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Firefighter807
              Since no manufacturer will shear sheet metal to suit you and compromise their building practice, get the idea out of your head that you have the ability to make a truly CUSTOM rig.

              Not exactly. We had Pierce do several custom modifications on our quint. One was two 80" wide compartments with roll up doors. They said that had never been done (by them) but they did it for us, no problem. We also have a Quantum aerial body on a Dash chassis, something else they had never done. Another was rescue style compartments on one side.

              Guess it all depends on the company.

              The trick is to not listen to the dealer. All the ones Ive dealt with over the years want to spec rigs under certain parameters as it makes their job easy. Stick to your guns and take it to the engineers at the factory. You will be surprised what they will do for you (as opposed to the dealer).

              As for having detailed specs, let me give you an example of why its important. Our old quint ('88) didnt have discharge gauges for the preconnects. Why you ask, cause we didnt spec them. We just assumed they would be there. Nope, not in the spec, not on the truck.

              We learned the hard way. Dont assume anything, spec it.
              Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

              IAAI-NFPA-IAFC/VCOS-Retired IAFF

              "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government"
              RUSH-Tom Sawyer

              Success is when skill meets opportunity
              Failure is when fantasy meets reality

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              • #22
                Very true on not listening to the dealers sometimes, the engineers at the various plants that I know love to get requests for new things in. It makes their job more fun to have to do what they wen to school for as well as play around with things to see if they can get it to work without compromising safety or another component.

                As far as the discharge guages, back in the pre-computer day I'd agree that you'd have to put down everything you want where you want it. Now most of the spec software out there for the manufacturers is preprogramming to do most of the tedious work, like assign a guage to each discharge. That ensures it is on the component list, then that's what the engineers take and make a drawing out of. So our role has changed to proofreading, not spec writing. Any salesperson that's dumb enough not to ask "are you sure you don't want this?" for common sense items like that isn't worth dealing with. Nearly all of the ones I've ever dealt with would have asked me why I didn't want guages. It's much easier to start simpler with a list of must-haves, and like to haves and leave the little stuff until later when they spit out a spec/component sheet. It's all computer generated, so a few clicks to change and you have a new set of files. Our quint & heavy rescue didn't involved any paper unless I printed them out, everything was done with Adobe PDF files. Make a change, new PDF, emailed over, proofread. Repeat as necessary.
                Brian P. Vickers
                www.vickersconsultingservices.com
                Emergency Services Consulting
                Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
                Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

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                • #23
                  Firefighter807,

                  Why dont you think departments should put out for competitive bids? If a manufacture knows that you are going to use them without bidding, then they will over charge you.
                  How much do you think you can negotiate off the price.

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                  • #24
                    Here here

                    Originally posted by Ledebuhr1
                    Firefighter807,

                    Why dont you think departments should put out for competitive bids? If a manufacture knows that you are going to use them without bidding, then they will over charge you.
                    How much do you think you can negotiate off the price.

                    I agree with Firefighter807.... The competitive bidding process is a farce. It forces manufacturers to cut costs in an effort to be low bid....Then, inevitably, the customer gets ****ed off at the Pre-con table when he finds out that wheel chaulks weren't included in the bid price, because they weren't asked for! It's a no win situation.

                    Secondly...what's wrong with a company making a decent profit? You think building fire trucks is easy?

                    Reasearch the brands. Make an educated decision.

                    How would you feel if you saved up enough money to buy the Harley you always wanted...then, on your way to the Harley dealership, your wife grabs your wallet and says..."you can't have it back until you get 3 prices on other brands!" ..... Then, the damned Yamaha delaer comes in $8,000.00 low on some piece of sh*t, and your wife tries to cram it down your throat!

                    Jaded.....

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                    • #25
                      There's nothing wrong with profit, every business needs to make one or they go out of business leaving people with no paychecks. But go back to Post #2 where I mentioned the $20K one dealer stuck in because of the brand specific bid request. They still made money after getting the order for the $148K truck. If your bid is written right you can still choose who you want to build the truck, unless you say you are going to take low bid. I've been involved in a bunch where service requirements and post-sale metrics were just as important as price. Taking low-bid because it's low-bid is the farce. Such "great deals" built the space shuttle, but not the M1 Abrams tank. Hence the reliability difference.
                      Brian P. Vickers
                      www.vickersconsultingservices.com
                      Emergency Services Consulting
                      Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
                      Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Rfp

                        As I've pointed out in several threads, we had the good fortune of going with RFP's or Requests For Proposals. It took a lot of convincing of different entities to let us do it that way, but on the whole, I think that we came out on the deal. It wasn't nearly as structured as the formal sealed bid process, but the various companies knew going in that they would have to compete for the business.

                        One big difference is that instead of having to wait for a set time and date, we were able to begin looking at the proposals as they came in. We were able to review them with their providers and make sure that we understood what each proposal did and did not include.

                        It did impose on us one huge responsibility, that was, not to reveal to the competitors what any of the competing proposals were. Doesn't sound like much, but I can tell you that to elicit details from each one without revealing what the others were offering was tough. One reason was that each time you read one guy's proposal it raised points and/or questions that had to be asked of the others so that we would have a clearer understanding.

                        Even though this is turning to be a custom piece, we didn't ask anyone to do anything they weren't capable of. It's a matter of did they want to.

                        Six companies took a shot at it (see "Toyne wins"). Four of the six really did well. Two of the four were right there. We didn't take the lowest of the six or even the four, but lowest of the two that were right there got the business.

                        The whole point here is, I guess, the process. Ledebuhr and others make a valid case for bidding. Canuck and others make a good case for going in the opposite direction. We weren't married to anyone but we did have several preferences and some "no ways." So using RFPs gave us a lot of flexibility and we like to think that we came out on it. Stay tuned.

                        Stay safe out there, everyone goes home!

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                        • #27
                          Chiefengineer11,

                          When you put out your RFP's, did you state what the department wants and the price range you could afford. Then saw what each builder would give you for a given amount of money,(there proposal)

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                          • #28
                            Actually, no. Our spec did tell them what we wanted, sometimes generally, sometimes very specifically. We had a figure in mind, but we didn't share it with them. Quite honestly, I don't know if keeping the figure to ourselves was the best way or not. I tend to think that it was, because we didn't tie them to anything. We felt that they could come into a range that with some massaging, we could make work.

                            I certainly can't fault anyone who wants to say "We have $x to spend and that's it." There're as many good reasons for doing that as there are for doing it the way we did. It does give a bidder something to go on. I wouldn't presume to try to make a blanket case one way or another. But in that case though, I wonder if the bidder would want to scrimp in one place whereas the buyer might do it somewhere else.

                            We certainly did get some sticker shock We thought we had a good handle on what the price would be. As it was, we had to massage $30,000 out somewhere. They had some suggestions and we had others. Some of theirs were good and we went with them. Others we disagreed with and did something different.

                            What I really like about the whole process was that we were able to go back and forth with the various builders and arrive at the best deal without having to go through a bid, then throw them all out and rebid thing. We really think that in the end, we saved everyone a bunch of money.

                            Even so, we did go above what we thought we were going to spend, but we were able to cost justify what we did, and we were able to scrounge the extra 10 or so Kbucks. We did keep in a lot of premium components that would have cut the price considerably, but we're trying to look at total cost of ownership over the 20+ years that we'll have this piece. We applied that principal to the '89 Duplex/Quality that we have, and it's paid off well.

                            To me, it all comes back to doing homework in advance. Learn as much as you can about physics, hardware and anything else. Know the turf and what it takes to get around it. We're fortunate to have knowledgeable people on most of the stuff that goes into a vehicle. We also have some good money managers. Combining all that made for what we think will be a good vehicle.

                            Ledebuhr, I hope I've answered the questions that you asked without dancing around them too much.

                            Stay safe out there, everyone goes home!
                            Last edited by chiefengineer11; 08-09-2006, 08:43 PM. Reason: Clarifications, additional info.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by chiefengineer11
                              We applied that principal to the '89 Duplex/Quality that we have, and it's paid off well.
                              Everything except that galvanneal body!
                              "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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