Waste Advantage Magazine

Second of three parts: how to write municipal mobile equipment specifications in the new decade

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If you find yourself faced with the responsibility of preparing mobile equipment specifications for their city, county, agency or municipality, and may have had little or no formal training in specification writing or performing mobile equipment market research, these series of articles will help guide you in the project. Last month (Waste Advantage Magazine, July 2010), I discussed how to get started when assigned the task of writing specification, including defining what you need, organizing a quote and a bid, the types of specifications and what to avoid. The second part of this series covers research and putting it on paper.

Where Does the Research Start?
The specification writing process always starts with the equipment’s user. Nothing is more important than the job they are required to do, and how they are required to do it. The specification writer must become familiar with the work and capacities involved, cycles, times, distances traveled or worked, work conditions, job site locations, road surfaces, climatic influences, tire sizes or track widths, blade, bucket or hopper sizes, night lighting requirements, fuel capacities needed, load weights, methods of loading, etc., while being sensitive to standardization of components such as transmissions, fuel filters, wheels and tires among many other components possible for the facilitation of maintenance and other areas of concern. After you have become completely familiar with the work requirements and operating conditions experienced by your user, you can begin the equipment’s market research. The goal of this research is to identify potential suppliers of suitable equipment with product support in a geographical area that is practical to your municipality. At this point, it is reasonable to gather product brochures and information, and do whatever verbal fact-finding is required since questions may still be asked and answered freely. Fact-finding and gathering product information has never been as easy as it is now through the use of the Internet. You can begin a rough draft of your projected specifications to meet the work requirements and may be making notes about areas you need to investigate further. Regardless of the type of specifications you are going to write, the finite requirements of your specifications should not exclude potential suppliers who can, if awarded, furnish equipment that can do the required work for your user in a safe and suitable operational manner.

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