Equipment Specs: How to Get What You Pay For

As a fleet manager preparing to purchase equipment, you have planned, conferenced, studied, asked questions, attended equipment shows and informed yourself as best you could. Now, it is time to write the specs for your new equipment order. How do you know that what you request will be what you get?

The short answers: Deal with reliable manufacturers that warranty their products. Weigh quality against price. And, most importantly, realize that your expertise lies in using and maintaining the equipment not in designing or building it.

When I assumed the position as head of the city of Los Angeles' refuse division, I realized that I needed help with my equipment purchasing. This procedure did not resemble buying a family car: There were no lots, showrooms or advertisements to browse. Fortunately, I received a lot of guidance from a group of experts in the fleet management bureau and their technical services personnel.

As I learned how to spec, I realized that my expertise was in knowing how I needed this equipment to function. Building on that knowledge, the manufacturing representatives educated me as to what was possible to put into or on a vehicle.

Thus, I learned that equipment manufacturers and equipment users are allies. In order to reach the ally status, however, manufacturers and users first must understand one another.

To start forging this road of understanding, World Wastes asked a representative from an equipment manufacturer, Wayne Engineering Inc., and from an equipment buyer, the city of Los Angeles, for advice on how to ensure that the equipment delivered to the buyer will perform the required tasks.