Equipment Specs Checks and Balances

The city of Los Angeles' Fleet Services Division has a Technical Services section, staffed primarily by engineers, that is involved throughout the entire equipment procurement process.

This staff's most important role is to ensure that the city departments acquire the best equipment to perform a particular task, while taking into consideration performance and maintenance requirements.

Another important concern is the feasibility of manufacturing and/or availability of spec'd equipment by the dealer.

The section answers technical questions from dealers that are responding to a bid request and also works with the city's purchasing agent to analyze the bids to identify dealers that have complied with the specs.

This process involves reviewing the vehicle summary sheets provided to the dealer by the factory and conferring with the contractors and/or the factory about discrepancies between the vehicle summary sheets and the specs.

Certain types of specialized equipment require that the dealer submit engineering drawings and/or certifications. Equipment such as a refuse truck requires the engineering drawings to be analyzed and approved by an independent engineer before the city will accept them.

Once the purchasing agent has awarded the purchase order to a dealer, Technical Services sets a "pre-production" date meeting, which will be attended by the ordering department, the dealer, a factory representative and the body company contracted by the dealer.

The factory notifies the dealer and Technical Services when the chassis has been built and is ready for inspection. A "factory prototype vehicle inspection meeting" is held at the factory. The factory provides Technical Services with a build sheet, which resembles the vehicle summary sheet submitted by the dealer.

Technical Services verifies that all components are supplied and that specs have been met. Most components can be verified visually, while others, such as axle ratios and tensile strength of steel, must be accepted per factory guarantee.

Technical services identifies the corrections or adjustments required from the factory and then gives approval for the chassis to be sent to the body company. If the order is for multiple units, Technical Services gives the factory approval to continue production.

Next, Technical Services examines the chassis when it arrives at the body company to confirm that all factory corrections and adjustments have been made. If so, the body company proceeds with the body installation.

This installation subsequently is inspected by Technical Services to assure that it meets specifications.

Before Technical Services approves delivery, the body company must provide proof of the rating of the steel used in the body, test equipment functions and make the necessary adjustments.

Upon delivery, Technical Services performs a final inspection and signs the paperwork. Only then can city personnel assign the equipment a number, affix city emblems and notify the requesting department about the delivery.

Depending on the equipment type, some items may require more attention than others. The bid requests state which meetings, inspections, certifications and supporting documents are required.

However, regardless of the equipment type, Technical Services' diligence assures that the city of Los Angeles' equipment meets its set specs.