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  • Free choice of equipment?

    Is it possible to name a specific model/brand on a bid when purchasing equipment with grant money?Or do you have to define non-exclusive specs for the equipment and then must accept a bid simply because its cheaper? This is ok if the equipment is good but I'm just thinking that I wouldnt trust some of the cheaper equipment thats made overseas. After all lives are at stake. How do you make sure that you get the equipment you really want? After all "good quality" is not a valid spec.
    Last edited by koechler; 08-11-2010, 12:32 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by koechler View Post
    Is it possible to name a specific model/brand on a bid when purchasing equipment with grant money?Or do you have to define non-exclusive specs for the equipment and then must accept a bid simply because its cheaper?
    With our grant, the stipulation was that all purchases were made in accordance with our local governing policies. We obtained permission from our Town Council to purchase specific brand items because some were unique to a single manufacturer and because another offered specifc options that we felt justified the preferential selection of that manufacturer over another competitive manufacturer.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
    sigpic
    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    • #3
      The solution I've seen is to get two quotes for the same brand/make/whatever equipment from two vendors. So long as you can justify needing that particular brand (I have a hard time seeing it justified as far as apparatus, bunker gear, etc).

      Even if it's a manufacturer that protects dealers regions, they will provide a factory direct or an industrial vendor quote.

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      • #4
        Write a "generic" bid spec or request for proposal leaving out brand names, request bids from vendors, have justification in writing as to why you choose the bid you did.

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        • #5
          When we went out to bid on turnout gear & leather boots this past year we included in the specs that all gear must be American made.
          It still allowed us to accept multiple bids, but let us buy the American made leather boots that we wanted instead of chinese imports that were almost the same cost. We made up the difference in price with our own funds.$25.00 per pair didn't seem to be a big difference to stay with American made products. The best part is they are made in a factory that is only 30 miles from our station. Buying locally and supporting American jobs owned by an American Company. The gear is made about two &1/2 hours from us in the next state.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by islandfire03 View Post
            When we went out to bid on turnout gear & leather boots this past year we included in the specs that all gear must be American made.
            It still allowed us to accept multiple bids, but let us buy the American made leather boots that we wanted instead of chinese imports that were almost the same cost. We made up the difference in price with our own funds.$25.00 per pair didn't seem to be a big difference to stay with American made products. The best part is they are made in a factory that is only 30 miles from our station. Buying locally and supporting American jobs owned by an American Company. The gear is made about two &1/2 hours from us in the next state.
            Ed that is the last company that makes them in the US and family owned also. Isn’t that right? I like to buy local when I can but it is hard to find much of anything made here. In WW-2 all the factories converted to making equipment to supply our troops. Could you image that happening today? What companies they are, are all owned by China or Korea. We are in a mess and getting worse everyday.
            See yea.

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            • #7
              Buy american made

              Originally posted by dfd701 View Post
              Ed that is the last company that makes them in the US and family owned also. Isn’t that right? I like to buy local when I can but it is hard to find much of anything made here. In WW-2 all the factories converted to making equipment to supply our troops. Could you image that happening today? What companies they are, are all owned by China or Korea. We are in a mess and getting worse everyday.
              See yea.
              DFD:
              We had sales reps bring us samples of five different boots to check out and the globe boots were the only ones made in the good old USA. I will be going up to the factory in a week or so to be custom fitted as I have very wide [EEEE] feet. Makes it easier to walk on the snow without snowshoes. :-} They are a family owned business and produce most of the boots for the military at the same factory.

              We have a paragraph in our purchasing policy that states we will buy American made if at all possible. If we all tried to do this who knows how many American jobs we might save.
              It is hard ,but not impossible to find quality products still made here , Sometimes we just have to pay a little more for a US product , than for the cheap imported [email protected]

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              • #8
                Koechler--unless your department or municipality requires you to accept the lowest bid, there is no need to do so. AFG asks that you get multiple bids but will be okay with "lowest and best" if you can document why you made the selection. Would be good to do that with facts instead of opinions whenever possible.

                If your local procurement policies are more stringent ("lowest bid", period) then you need to follow those.

                earl

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                • #9
                  Make sure that what you think is "american made" is really made in the US. I saw a radio bid go out requiring US made, the purchaser thinking that the US company he wanted to deal with actually built their stuff in the US.

                  One of the competitor bids raised a ruckus when the customer used that as the reason to go with that company, turns out very little of their product is made in the US, and certainly not what they were buying.

                  Rebid.....

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by islandfire03 View Post
                    DFD:
                    We had sales reps bring us samples of five different boots to check out and the globe boots were the only ones made in the good old USA. I will be going up to the factory in a week or so to be custom fitted as I have very wide [EEEE] feet. Makes it easier to walk on the snow without snowshoes. :-} They are a family owned business and produce most of the boots for the military at the same factory.

                    We have a paragraph in our purchasing policy that states we will buy American made if at all possible. If we all tried to do this who knows how many American jobs we might save.
                    It is hard ,but not impossible to find quality products still made here , Sometimes we just have to pay a little more for a US product , than for the cheap imported [email protected]
                    Thorogood leather (except the Pro HV) are made in the US. The Pro HV is made in China and has more features than any other leather boot I'm aware of for the $. Features or price? Can't have both. All their boots have steel toe cap and plate unlike the plastic used in the Globes (which I think are way overprice).

                    Good luck if you plan on rubber boots. I think all of these have been moved off shore in the last year or so.

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                    • #11
                      Alright. This all makes sense. I wasnt sure if you could be forced to just accept the lowest offer no matter where the equipment comes from. The cost of ownership of good quality equipment just often seems to be lower.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by koechler View Post
                        Alright. This all makes sense. I wasnt sure if you could be forced to just accept the lowest offer no matter where the equipment comes from. The cost of ownership of good quality equipment just often seems to be lower.
                        You just need to be able to state that the bidder most responsive to your bid specifications was awarded the package based on meeting the requirements better than the other vendors.

                        You cannot write a spec that states a name brand product as the only one being acceptable with just a few exceptions. Such as additional equipment to match up with gear you already have or a specific radio to be required because thats the only one that will work in a proprietary system.

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                        • #13
                          Be careful whatever you do. I am working with a group in IN right now - the bid specs made it clear only one company could bid - for no reason more than personal preference. Two of the other vendors are raising all sorts of trouble.

                          Add to that it is over different digital modes in radios, and these folks have a mess!

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                          • #14
                            From the PG:

                            Ensure all procurement transactions are conducted in a manner to provide, to the maximum extent practical, open and free competition. Grantees are expected to promote competition and ensure advantageous pricing by soliciting bids from multiple vendors and to select the lowest bidder able to meet the requirements. Procurements shall be made from the bidder whose offer is responsive to the solicitation and is most advantageous to the grantee when price, quality, and other factors are considered. The grantee must follow its established procurement processes when purchasing vehicles, equipment, and services with AFG funds. If the grantee has no established procedures, it should obtain at least two quotes/bids for the items being procured and document the process used in the grant files. Sole-source purchasing is not an acceptable procurement method except in unusual circumstances. Grantees who fail to adhere to their own procurement policy or otherwise fail to fully “compete” any transaction involving Federal funds may find that their expenditures will be questioned and subsequently disallowed.

                            Specifications developed for solicitations shall clearly set forth all requirements that the bidder shall fulfill in order for the bid or offer to be evaluated by the recipient. However, those specifications may not be so narrowly constructed or contain features which unduly limit, restrict, or eliminate competition unnecessarily. See also Item 7 below regarding conflicts of interest.

                            Grantees shall, on request, make available to DHS, pre-award review and procurement documents, such as request for proposals or invitations for bids, independent cost estimates, etc., if a) the procurement specifies a "brand name" product, or b) the proposed award is to be awarded to other than the apparent low bidder under a sealed bid process. Grantees found to be using proprietary specifications may find that their expenditures will be questioned and subsequently disallowed.
                            Just need to keep everygthing above board and document the process.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by LVFD301 View Post
                              Be careful whatever you do. I am working with a group in IN right now - the bid specs made it clear only one company could bid - for no reason more than personal preference. Two of the other vendors are raising all sorts of trouble.

                              Add to that it is over different digital modes in radios, and these folks have a mess!
                              Blake I am interested in that. Without getting in to names or locations what’s the deal on that? I know they have to buy what the states say. In Al. it is APCO-25. Most of the well known companies can sale that format but if you listen to some salesmen they will try to convince you otherwise. They just want to make a sale and really don’t care what happens to you afterwards. That is why you do your home work before you send out the bids.

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