At this point, just about everyone has heard about the supply chain issues that are affecting almost every product and just about every industry—everything from cars and electrical components to onion rings and chicken. It should be no surprise that these delays are impacting everyone in one way or another. Though it is looking like the situation will improve at some point, it will take some time until everything gets back to normal, and just when that will be is unknown due to many factors, including the backlog caused by these shortages.
The big question is, what do you do right now if you need to replace an aging fire truck?
We offer a few tips to help you through this difficult process:
- Do a full review and assessment of your current truck. You might want to consider having a mechanic or a fire truck manufacturer come in to review the vehicle. Have them look for the following:
- Paint issues
- Mechanical issues (engine, pump, plumbing, etc.)
- Structural issues
- Condition of the water tank
- Condition of the chassis
- Items or options that could be added to the truck to make the truck more efficient and/or safer
- Afterward, schedule a meeting to discuss the findings. Make sure to ask about the following:
- Any issues with the vehicles
- The cost to repair
- The cost for add-on options
- The cost for a new replacement unit
- You will also want to review the following question with the mechanic: Would a refurbishment of your existing unit hold you over for a couple of years until the supply chain issues are resolved? Reviewing the following points will help you make a sound decision:
- Is it cost effective?
- How many years would this buy you?
- Can you wait a few years without a refurb prior to buying a new truck?
- Is it imperative that you replace your existing truck right away?
- Another option is to turn to the used market; however, before doing so, there several issues you will want to consider. Used trucks are currently hard to find, either because many departments are holding onto their old trucks or departments are buying them as soon as they go to market.
Before purchasing, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- You’ll want to have the truck thoroughly inspected prior to making a decision.
- You will need to go through the same process for a used truck as you did for your existing unit.
- A used vehicle may not fully fit your requirements, but it would be a temporary fix.
- Consider buying a new truck but be flexible with your specifications for a faster delivery. Meet with a fire truck manufacturer for their recommendations on things like the chassis, lighting, and pumps to ensure a quicker delivery. Be sure to inquire about demo or stock units (though they are in short supply right now too).
Though these options may not completely meet your requirements, the sacrifices might be worth it to you in order to get your shipment sooner. During these tough times, it just might come down to compromise.
These days, delivery dates are currently moving targets, and manufacturers receive notices for shortages or delayed deliveries on a weekly if not daily basis. Understand that your fire truck manufacturer is doing everything possible to get your truck to you as quickly as possible.
- Keep in mind that, in some instances, there may be increased costs. Suppliers may issue price increases to the fire truck manufacturer that may have to be passed on to you. For example, there could be a discontinued part for which the replacement could cost more.
At the end of the day, the decision rests on the individual fire department. They must make the determination that works best for them and brings the most ROI.
You aren’t alone. Do not hesitate to contact Metalfab for any information, suggestions, or advice to assist you in making the decision that is right for your department.