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Top 10 Tips on Developing A Mobile Command Unit
Author: Jane Gritz, President and CEO of EME
Copyright: Copyright 9-1-1 Magazine, Feature Content,
by Jane Gritz, President and CEO of EME
Plan, plan, plan—As in real estate, the three keys to success when building a mobile command vehicle are plan, plan, plan. Your planning process should involve key personnel from all of the agencies that will be impacted by the new vehicle. If you have already selected your vendor, they can also add value. A solid plan keeps the process on track and on budget.
Pick your manufacturer carefully—There are many specialty vehicle manufacturers that want your business. It is important to take the necessary time to select and evaluate vendors based on the criteria that are important to you. Possible criteria include location, work quality, customer references, specific vehicle expertise, track record/reputation, price, warranty, availability, manufacturing time, and customer service.
Be up front with your manufacturer— Clear communication is important throughout the process, but it is paramount to set your expectations with your vendor before manufacturing begins. Knowing what you expect will make it easier for your vendor to deliver.
Don’t be afraid to ask for advise—You can gain a head start by learning from other’s experience. Check with other agencies in your state that may have a mobile command vehicle. Also attend industry trade shows. Both are great sources of information. Also don’t forget to ask your manufacturer. They have done this before and know what works and what doesn’t. They can also be a great source of information about the latest advancements in technology and equipment.
Keep an open mind—Coming in with a well thought out plan is great, but it is important to remember that things will most likely change as you go through the manufacturing process. Keep and open mind and be willing to make changes and adjustments to your original plan.
Communicate regularly—Frequent and regular communication during the manufacturing process will keep your project on time and on budget. You will also be happier with the end result. Set up weekly conference calls and on site visits to review progress, discuss any issues/roadblocks, and clarify action items to be completed by the next meeting.
Be clear—Clear communication is important during all stages of the manufacturing process. The more clearly you communicate the smoother the manufacturing process will be.
Set high expectations—Most vendors are professionals and realize the impact their work has on improving public safety for citizens around the country. By setting high expectations, most vendors will respond by doing their best work. The end result will be a vehicle that you and your vendor can be proud of.
Be a partner—Looking at your vendor as a partner and not just a manufacturer will help ensure a successful outcome. Most specialty vehicle manufacturers love what they do and by sensing that they are a partner with you in meeting your goals, they will do better work.
Prepare for the future—During the planning process it is important to estimate how long your vehicle will be in service and how your community will change during that time. By planning for the future, expansion capabilities can be built in to your vehicle to allow it to meet the current and future needs of your community.
As Chief Executive Officer, Jane Gritz is responsible for defining and executing EME's vision for designing and building the world's best custom vehicles and emergency response consoles. Gritz began her career at EME (formerly STS) in sales before being promoted to Executive Vice President of Manufacturing and Director of Human Resources. Gritz has also worked as the administrator of Medics Ambulance Service in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and served as battalion chief for Broward County Emergency Medical Services. See: http://www.emeusa.com/