De Facto Specification
Small fleets have a dilemma when it comes to life cycling, a small geographic area will traditionally allow for a longer lifecycle in years but the technological life of an asset is getting shorter and shorter. As new equipment comes out with more efficient engines or more capable features we often find ourselves stuck with a 10 year old machine that is still looking good and working great. It would be fine to keep these units but dependability of an older asset is always a precarious tightrope act and certain departments do not have the luxury of that risk. De Facto Specification deals with this problem in a unique way.
I have recently pitched the idea of De Facto Specification to our police department. In the past we have purchased police administration staff cars that were intended for police use and not much else (Chevrolet Impala). These assets find themselves getting thier lifecycle stretched to the point of no return due to their low mileage. This extended life cycle ultimately renders the police administrators (non pursuit vehicles) in a vehicle that is 10 or more years old along with the normal problems of an older vehicle. The idea was we specify these administrator vehicles as a SUV or a crew cab pick-up with the idea that they will enjoy a 3 to 5 year lifecycle in the police department then be transferred to another department to live out their days as a highly productive asset in the public works or water distribution department. Depreciation can be factored in and the annual cost can be managed so that the public safety budget does not bear any undue burden.
The trade off is; administrators don’t have the traditional sedan but they are always in a new unit. The benefit is that assets being transferred are already “broke in” and don’t have the improvidence of loading chunks of concrete sidewalk in the bed of a brand new truck or the unavoidable abuse of a suv on a meter route.
Hand-me-down equipment is already a family tradition in our small town but using the De Facto Specification to enhance the usefulness of equipment through the entire lifecycle will be a huge benefit as this small fleet meets the big challenge of life cycling.