Spec’ing is an important part of the fleet procurement process. Without the right specifications, you may end up with the wrong vehicle for the job. At the Government Fleet Expo & Conference, Jeff Tews, CPFP, fleet services manager for the City of Milwaukee, will give a presentation on developing the best specifications for your fleet.

We spoke to Tews about his upcoming session, and why it's important to make sure your specs are up to date.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

A: I’ve written specs for the City of Milwaukee for well over 20 years before taking on the challenges of the fleet manager position.  Now I do both!  Like many people, I came up through the ranks starting as a mechanic (way back when), then working through the management ranks.  I worked with many people from end user customers, drivers, technicians, vendors and purchasing professionals, and strongly believe that everyone has an important role in developing quality specs.

Q: What topics will be covered at this session?

A: We will discuss when to use specs, the different spec types, how to develop the best type for your needs, how to work up quick and concise equipment comparisons, and then how to write the spec to get everything you need, while avoiding things that don’t work well.  We will also touch on several new ways to purchase the equipment that you decide is needed.

Q: Why do good specs matter?

A: In these times of shrinking equipment budgets, a solid spec can ensure purchasing the absolute best piece of equipment which will provide a long service life, lasting beyond its expected life cycle if necessary.

Q: We’ve got a collection of specs we always use – aren’t those good enough?

A: Using the same specs over and over may save time, but seldom leads to improvements.  A good collection of specs can easily grow stale in a year or two, often missing out on new or improved technologies introduced every year.

Q: How often should specs be updated?

A: A good vehicle or equipment spec should be updated periodically.  There are new changes and features on new equipment being introduced sometimes several times each year, especially in areas such as lighting and controls.  A good guideline is to at least review a spec before going out for quotes or bids, which for many governmental fleet units could be once a year.

Learn more about writing specs from Tews at Fleet Foundations: Developing the Best Specifications for Vehicles and Equipment on Tuesday, June 18 at 4:15 p.m. The Government Fleet Expo & Conference takes place June 17-20 in New Orleans. Learn more about GFX, check out the full schedule, and register on the event website.

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