The aspect of fleet management Nathan Wachtendonk, fleet manager for the City of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Department of Public Works, finds most interesting is writing specs and purchasing equipment. Witnessing the equipment he’s purchased help taxpayers every day inspires him to continue to improve his spec’ing practices. As this tends to be an involved process, here are a few of his tips for those who are looking to select the best vehicles and features.
- Listen to your drivers and operators – ask for their input to ensure you are including features they actually need and will use. They know their equipment better than anyone, and are the only people who will be able to tell you how effective the tool you provide them is at helping them get their job done as efficiently as possible.
- Price isn’t everything – Don’t just look at the purchase price up front, but the maintenance costs as well. How is it constructed? Will issues pop up down the road that will end up costing you more over its lifespan than something that was slightly more expensive but built sturdier? Do your research and don’t let money blind you.
- Relationships yield results – Get to know your vendors, dealerships, and parts network on a deeper level. Forge ties so you know exactly who to go to when you have a question or want to discuss a future purchase.
Just like anything, the more you spec, the better you’ll become at it with time.
“Spec’ing is something that comes to you with practice,” he said. “The more experience you obtain, and the more you look to solve little hiccups, the more you are able to adapt your vehicles and equipment better to your own operation.”