Photos courtesy of Cardinal Scale Manufacturing Co.

When issuing a request for proposal (RFP) for truck scales and associated weight recording software, buyers must make the decision of whether to divide up their request into discrete bids regarding hardware and software or keep their proposal in a singular request for quote. To streamline the process, it typically makes more sense to source a truck scale and its software from a single-source supplier.

One of the reasons for this is that it is often more practical to seek a venerable supplier that can provide all aspects of the weighing scale application that will be required for the project, including both hardware and software, when approaching the bidding process of appropriating resources.

The RFP process

The RFP process requires gathering and refining the essential requirements for developing the RFP. This includes evaluating and selecting the most capable scale vendors, engaging with nominated scale vendors and evaluating their capabilities, making the evaluation regarding the winning vendor and developing contractual paperwork and agreement for the winning vendor.

This process requires a great amount of time and work to give the due diligence required in a large project like a full-length truck scale and related truck scale software RFP. Duplicating this process will require even more time, work and effort if the RFP is broken up between the truck scale software and hardware into separate bids.

Making an assessment

Most major truck scale manufacturers have the capability of producing not only the scale platform but also the accompanying software that works in conjunction with it. Additionally, most manufacturers also have the capability of providing technical support and customization for their software. 

Truck scale manufacturers each have different design highlights and functionality that is to be supported by the requisite software. Typically, any weight-related software can be mixed and matched between truck scale manufacturers. Of course, several aspects of a truck scale need to be assessed before making a decision on a provider. A truck scale manufacturer’s weighbridge and supplementary hardware should provide longevity, durability, be easily fixed should problems occur, and the hardware system should be simple and easy to use.

Scale dealers and end-users should expect proactive support from manufacturers, and some truck scale manufacturers even provide remote scale monitoring that will alleviate most of the guesswork and onerous troubleshooting associated with electronic systems. Digital load cells offer many advantages for end-users, including rapid replacement times that reduce downtime, lessen issues with lightning and allow for cloud-based remote monitoring.

Software needs

Regarding software, truck scale manufacturers should have a strong support presence. Access to engineering and technical support should be fairly quick and easy to obtain for operators. Additionally, there should be multiple avenues for scale owners to access technical support, such as through email, live chat and phone.

An end user should also know the method of payment regarding subscription, one-time pricing or the price included with the purchase of the digital weight indicator. Most importantly, the software, in conjunction with the indicator, should be relatively easy to use, should be simple enough to train other employees on and integrate easily with peripheral items like unattended weighing kiosks and printers. Truck scale software is typically easy to configure for the user’s needs and supports truck weighing applications related to recycling, transfer stations, landfills, agriculture, aggregates and warehouses. Operators can access PC weight records and reports on period histories, material totals and customer information. The main types of truck scale software are mostly of the plug-and-play variety once connected with the owner’s truck scale(s). With the hardware and software connected, the weight will register on screen and then the scale house operator can set up their truck IDs and materials.

“By utilizing the same manufacturer for both the truck scale weighbridge and the vehicle weight recording software, operators can ensure a streamlined approached that will allow them to get up and running with their equipment faster. Plus, this allows operators to have a single source for customer support interactions and yields better integration between hardware and software components.” - Caleb Tidball, marketing coordinator, Cardinal Scale Manufacturing Co.

By utilizing the same manufacturer for both the truck scale weighbridge and the vehicle weight recording software, operators can ensure a streamlined approach that will allow them to get up and running with their equipment faster. Plus, this allows operators to have a single source for customer support interactions and yields better integration between hardware and software components. Also, by bidding out the scale and software together, manufacturers who provide both products can provide pricing all in the same bid package for a more comprehensive bid.

For these reasons, bundling these two types of products together in the same RFP will save operators time and hassle over the course of the bidding and purchase requisition process while simultaneously laying the groundwork for a better user experience.

Caleb Tidball is a marketing coordinator for Cardinal Scale Manufacturing Co.