Streamlined purchasing with Cat® Governmental
Streamlined purchasing with Cat® Governmental

Streamlined purchasing with Cat® Governmental

How one municipality saved money, improved efficiency and standardized its fleet

City of Dayton, Ohio crews rely on heavy equipment to clear debris, silt and muck from infiltration ditches and recharge lagoons that maintain a high rate of infiltration into an underlying aquifer. This sand and gravel aquifer provides water for the city and outlying areas. The city’s artificial recharge system ensures that groundwater levels are high enough for large drawdowns by high-capacity wells, maintaining water service for many area residents.

“We recognized that it is a best business practice to standardize operations whenever possible,” said Gary Schmaltz, fleet manager. “It’s not only construction equipment. We have a primary supplier for tires, for instance.”

Fleet standardization benefits include operation efficiency, greater compatibility of work tool attachments, easier service, fewer parts in stock and a decreased need for software and diagnostic equipment. In an effort to further standardize its fleet, the city put heavy trucks and construction equipment through an RFP process — ultimately selecting Caterpillar as its primary vendor.

“We solicited every large equipment manufacturer to make sure every company had an opportunity. Caterpillar had some pretty stiff competition,” said Schmaltz. “Part of it was a price comparison on a long reach excavator and a wheel loader. The vendors put their proposals together for the machinery and then we scored them accordingly.”


The RFP went beyond the initial purchase price to consider the overall owning and operating costs for the life of the machine. Interested parties answered 13 questions and answers were weighted by the city to determine the primary vendor.

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“This shows great foresight by city leaders,” said Schmaltz. “They used the total cost of operation for the life of the machine and recognized that is the most cost-effective approach for taxpayers.”

Other factors such as product support provided by the manufacturer and dealer were also considered when selecting a primary vendor. Services provided by Ohio Cat® and Caterpillar include operator training each time a new machine is purchased, as well as when new operators are hired, easy access to training manuals online and unequaled parts availability. The Clayton Parts Distribution Center (the second largest in the Caterpillar distribution system) is just miles from Dayton.

“Caterpillar scored the highest on parts availability.”

“We are confident that just about anything that we might need, even in an emergency, is in stock at the distribution center or dealership,” said Schmaltz. “Caterpillar scored the highest on parts availability.”

Resale value was also a factor. Cat machines hold their value better than other brands. “We had a low-hour D3 that we sold for $6,000 less than what we had paid for it 20 years earlier,” said Schmaltz.

Additionally, machine performance, including fuel economy, durability and compliance with emission requirements, was an important consideration.

Standardization and streamlined purchasing means better efficiency

With a standardized fleet, operators can freely move from one machine to another. That means an operator can easily fill in for an absent employee without training to learn new machine controls.

“How do you quantify some of these things? We recognized that if we make it more familiar for the operators, that adds efficiency,” Schmaltz said.

Standardization also means the city can purchase fewer work tool attachments and has the ability to utilize less-used attachments on numerous machines. And as technicians become more familiar with the characteristics of Cat machines, service becomes easier and more efficient.

Cat machines’ durability also helps prevent unscheduled repairs and enables technicians to better adhere to a planned maintenance (PM) schedule that reduces costly breakdowns. Plus, high quality filters, better engine oil and quality parts have enabled technicians to lengthen PM intervals.

“We use engine oil sampling to pinpoint intervals that we can safely implement,” Schmaltz said. “We use these tools to effectively manage our fleet and drive our costs down. A longer PM means fewer dollars per hour of operation and maintenance.”

With fleet standardization and streamlined purchasing, improved efficiency and fleet management go hand-in-hand in Dayton.