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INDUSTRY TODAY 47
also make it a point to talk to the people who actually use the
equipment and incorporate their needs.”
Despite being a specialized vehicle maker, Pruitt emphasizes
that Force Protection products rely on widely available com-
mercial off the shelf components. “That serves two purposes,”
Pruitt explains. “First, it keeps our own production costs down.
And, during the last five years, we’ve worked successfully with
all our suppliers to achieve a just-in-time inventory, which has
further resulted in savings that we can pass along to the cus-
tomer. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, using com-
mon commercial components helps to ensure maximum avail-
ability of spares worldwide. The last thing anyone in a combat
theater wants to hear is that a vital vehicle is in the shop for
repairs and isn’t available until someone can make a part for it.”
Despite the war effort in Afghanistan, many government con-
tractors have experienced reduced orders as many defense
department budgets have been pared back. “Sales last year were
a bit soft, but at the same time there’s been ongoing need for our
products that’s been funded mostly out of supplemental budg-
ets,” Pruitt concedes. “What we’re hearing is that there may be
some long-term budget strategy that may result in more oppor-
tunities, but that remains to be seen.”
He adds, however, “Our long-term strategy is to continue to
develop survivability solutions for military and patrol applica-
tions around the world. Even when American and coalition
armies eventually wind down operations in Afghanistan, there
will continue to be a need for our vehicles to operate in a vari-
ety of different environments, from jungle to urban, mountain-
ous to desert.”
Wherever there are forces to be reckoned with, Force
Protection will be there to protect against them.
FORCE PROTECTION, INC. • PROFILE
Pictured: Force Protection’s worldwide facilitites cover one million square
feet encompassing research, development and manufacturing.