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Fire Appt. Dealer Ethics

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  • Fire Appt. Dealer Ethics

    We went to the town board with the recommendation for a new engine we specked out in March of this year. That engine was for an ALF-Eagle. Being in the area of Wisconsin where we are, We have three of the manufactures' with in a 50 mile radius. Those being Pierce, Seagrave, ALF-(3D), and also Marion Body. Pierce does have it's chassis plant within our coverage area. Alf quoted an Eagle engine while Pierce quoted a Saber engine. We run 3 Pierce engines, 1 General, 1 3D 100ft. ladder and 1 Marion Rescue.
    ALF-Eagle came in as the lowest bid, for an engine that exceeded in all area's of our sealed quotes. This would be a med. duty engine. Pierce came in high quote at almost $8000.00 more,and their options were also $8000.00 more, for a total of about $16,000.00 more than ALF. This would be on a light duty engine.The President of Pierce and some other employee's stated that we should have loyalty to Pierce and their employee's that live in the town. I agree with them to a point, But I also feel we have to get the best quality, value, and the safest engine for the town taxpayer.
    We put a group together and kept every thing above the table, with hundreds of hours of research in this engine. Brought to the membership our department, the members voted around 30 to 3 in favor of the ALF-Eagle.
    What are your feelings and comments about this subject. It scares me to death if the town board makes us go with the Pierce. This being morale and attitude of our membership. I feel Pierce should have given their best price first, instead of trying to make another offer.

  • #2
    From what you've said, it sounds like you went through a reasonable procedure to get to where you are. It's also not surprising that the folks at Pierce expect your loyalty or that ALF came in low.

    I don't know first-hand how they put their bids together, but consider this...wouldn't it be a coup for ALF to put a rig right in Pierce's back yard?? Don't you think that ALF knows that and might be willing to low-ball that particular bid?? Think about the type of ad they could do..."the firefighters of Grand Chute, Wisconsin turn to ALF to protect Pierce's plant". Pretty neat, huh?? I'd do it in a second if I were in ALF's shoes in this case.

    Just an aside...a few months ago a company I know of solicited quotes from selected manufacturers for a possible apparatus replacement. The two manufacturers of primary interest to them were Pierce and ALF. They're only about 20 minutes from an ALF plant. Who do you think came in low on an equivalent spec?? Hint...you'd be protecting their rig while it was under construction, if they went with the lower price. See how that works??

    I guess my point is this...don't get all in a tizzy...you're probably the beneficiary of some good, old-fashioned cutthroat competition. Take advantage of it, whether you save money by taking the low price or you get to feel noble by going with the hometown builder even though it cost more. Either way, it shouldn't keep you up at night..it's just business.


    • #3
      To take it a step further .... if Pierce was such a good neighbor and appreciated the services of "their" fire departments, shouldn't they take that into consideration when they make their bid packages?

      I know of several companies and business owners that kick up the price on something locally because they know that politically they have a better opportunity to get a bid since they are local. I would rather the system consisted of a base price for everyone, and then set prices for options.


      • #4
        I would have to agree with FP&LS GUY, why wouldn't they try to ensure the bid to you if you are protecting them. I would seem to think that if they had their best interest at heart as well as yours and truly stand behind their product they would want it to protect their facility. On the other hand there always is some of the "Good Old Boy" system somewhere in America. I am not making any accusations here, just stating a fact.


        • #5
          I have to agree 100% with Bob.

          If ALF has any buisness savvy at all - they would bid your truck at a loss (big one) just to get it in Pierce's neighborhood. I'll take that one step further and venture to say that Pierce should have (and probably did) know this would happen.

          However, you sent out the same spec (or minimum requirements if you will) for the truck you wanted. You then proceeded with a fair & equitable bidding process where each Mfg. had equal oppertunities (i.e. the level playing field). Now if Pierce let themselves get out bid in their own back yard, well . . . As the saying goes "Dems da berries"

          Personally I say ALF should get the bid regardless of any "Bid Ajustments" from Pierce because they were lowest bidder to meet/exceed spec (following propper Bid process). But that's just how I feel.

          You are in a no loose situation. You will either come in with the ALF that you want now or Pierce will throw in some "Good Ole Boy" magic and the next thing you know you have twice the truck they first bid at the same price.

          Either way you are now out of the "Drivers Seat" and I agree that you should sleep well at night.

          Good Luck with whomevers truck you end up with.

          Take Care - Stay Safe


          • #6
            I know of a fire department that was so loyal to a local business that they would not buy any fire apparatus without a certain engine in the unit, regardless of price. So keep all things considered and don't bite the hand that feeds you and your community. Oh by the way that Pierce plant that is in your district probably employs a considerable amount of your residents in Grand Chute or the Appleton facility and those employees and the Pierce plant pay a reasonable portion of taxes so they are the tax payers you mentioned and I don't imagine they want to under equip the fire department that protects their own interests. If you haven't already check all the numbers one for one and see if it really is the same truck for less money. Are the brake linings the same size, axle weight ratings? You can sure lower your bid price by using the minimum requirement. Good Luck.


            • #7
              Thanks for the great comments they all have good points. Pierce did know going into this that ALF would be aggressive in price. Next point is Pierce has 80 employee's living in our service area. I understand this is their lively hood. What about the other 18,000 people living in the town, don't we owe them the best value for their tax money also. Didn't Pierce owe it to their employee's to give us their best price first. Not to come back after the sealed quotes were in to give us their best price. Pierce has not supported us in our funding drives for a thermal imaging camera or AED's. They also gave great price to another department a year and a half ago on a Saber. Now the price increased $ 100,000 dollars in two years. ???????


              • #8
                What about the other 18,000 people living in the town, don't we owe them the best value for their tax money also.

                Yes, as well as the Pierce employees.

                Didn't Pierce owe it to their employee's to give us their best price first.


                Not to come back after the sealed quotes were in to give us their best price.

                Is that legal in your state anyway?

                Pierce has not supported us in our funding drives for a thermal imaging camera or AED's.

                Their mistake

                They also gave great price to another department a year and a half ago on a Saber. Now the price increased $ 100,000 dollars in two years.

                Because they thought they had a lock on the hometown they weren't going to give you a break.

                They blew it, you're doing th right thing.

                Be an interesting study just to see how many apparatus mfgs have their hometowns...

                The Pittsburg FD doesn't even wear MSA SCBAs. Wonder what happened there...


                • #9
                  I don't always feel that the lowest bid is always the best. But, from what you have said the lowest bid in this case is going to give you the most bang for your buck$.

                  I'm not a big fan of Pierce anyway. They seem to be pricing themselves out of the market on the bids I have seen.

                  Good Luck, I think you are doing the right thing. Manufactures need to remember who controls the purse strings.


                  • #10
                    If you haven't signed a contract yet... YOU are in the drivers seat, so to speak. Yes, I understand fairness... but this isn't fair... it's business.

                    Haven't you ever "haggled" a deal for ANY goods or services, ie; the family POV, the new roof or heater in your home, something at a yard sale? I know it's not the same thing... it's bigger! The people of your town should expect the best truck for the best price!

                    I know that if I go to buy something, I'm not going to say to the retailer, the other store across town sells this for a dollar more, charge me what they do!

                    If Mr. Pierce OR Mr. Alf want to lower their bids, let them. You know they're going to try to jack it up at the back end anyway, (for those "non - speced" items).

                    Good luck!


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