There are many different methods of procurement that a municipality, fire department, or commercial entity can follow to purchase a new fire apparatus.
Not nearly as commonplace as 15 years ago, fire departments would pre-select a manufacturer to purchase from, and negotiate pricing and specifications on a specific apparatus. Changes to municipal purchasing rules and maximum dollar value thresholds have made this type of procurement rare in the municipal sector today. It is still utilized to a degree within the private sector.
Most common in today’s purchasing market, the fire department and purchasing department create a bid document consisting of bidding requirements, purchasing and payment terms, and apparatus specifications. The document is publicly advertised on one or multiple electronic bid web sites, and possibly on the municipality website with a closing deadline. Bid responses are reviewed by the purchaser, and a decision on the successful supplier is made from the review results.
A multi-year purchasing agreement is becoming more commonplace within larger fire departments that have a number of apparatus to replace over an extended period of time. The bid process follows much the same process as a single truck bid, with pricing protection and escalator clauses for subsequent purchasing years. Varying from two to ten years, a multi-year contract allows the fire department to standardize on apparatus, and saves the time and expenditure of having to tender each year for their apparatus purchase.
Sole Source Contract
In the event that a fire department requires a specialized apparatus that is only available from one supplier, a sole source contract can be utilized for procurement. The onus is placed on the fire department to demonstrate to purchasing that the particular apparatus is not widely available, and that only one manufacturer is able to offer that specific type of equipment.
Consortium purchasing is relatively new to the Canadian fire apparatus market. Introduced five years ago, this option for procurement is becoming more popular and attractive to municipalities. A consortium buying group publishes relatively generic specifications and offers them to public bid, allowing all manufacturers to participate. A review is completed on the bid responses, and supply contracts are awarded to the successful manufacturers with the consortium. These contracts are made available to municipalities through membership with the consortium. Purchasing through a consortium contract saves the municipality time and money, as they do not have to expend the resources to go through the competitive process themselves, as this has already been completed by the consortium group. This allows the fire department to select a manufacturer from those that have been awarded contracts and work directly with them to specify and purchase an apparatus that suits their specific needs.
Commercial’s team of Apparatus Specialists are well versed in all aspects of the purchasing process and are available to assist you at any time. Contact us today.