On May 10,2021, HighCom Armor Solutions, Inc. announced that it had been awarded a Sourcewell contract. HighCom, along with four other companies, will benefit from this five-year contract after the arduous selection. Sourcewell will facilitate the path of these only five companies so that they can provide the accessories, equipment, and defensive services of the highest quality, such as body armor. In this way, buyers will be able to access through Sourcewell the products of HighCom, which meet rigorous standards in addition to having the best price guaranteed.
Body Armor News has contacted HighCom Armor Solutions CEO Michael Bundy for an interview about his contract with Sourcewell.
Interview with CEO Michael Bundy
What does Sourcewell Contract mean to HighCom Armor Solutions? Will the contract change or affect the company in any means?
Michael Bundy, CEO of HighCom Armor Solutions: We are completely humbled to receive the opportunity to contract with Sourcewell for the supply of Body Armor with Related Accessories, Equipment, and Services segment. Over the past two decades we have continuously built upon both prime and sub-prime contract awards, and we are honored to be one of only five body armor companies out of 17 who were chosen for this new segment to Sourcewell’s long-standing and successful cooperative procurement programs.
Being awarded this contract award enables our partners, as well as State, Local, and Educational “SLED” organizations the opportunity to purchase high quality ballistic resistant products from qualified and reputable suppliers. Sourcewell exists for one reason and that is to help government, education, and nonprofits work more efficiently. Additionally, this contract significantly streamlines the procurement process for those eligible organizations with a robust RFP evaluation and bid award process already completed by the professional team at Sourcewell. This process meets the procurement guidelines of all 50 states and allows agencies and organizations the opportunity to save time and money not only in the products, but in the administrative aspects of bid writing, posting, and evaluation.
What does it mean for HighCom to be one of the main providers of body armor in the US, and now officially one of the providers of governmental supplies?
MB: Being awarded this contract means we continue to fulfill our mission of saving lives by offering some of the most advanced ballistic resistant protective solutions to those serving our communities and our nation. It also means our dedicated team of professionals throughout the country can focus on supporting customers specific protective requirements and product life-cycle management, while offering lower prices on advanced equipment versus spending time responding to written RFP’s that may be missing key details the Sourcewell team has already covered in the contract award we now hold. Spending our financial resources as a U.S. manufacturer on advancing material science, processing technologies, and manufacturing automation is of much greater value to these SLED organizations than the administrative cost of responding to thousands of RFP’s being posted monthly. We are now able to focus those dollars into further design and innovation where it counts by continuing to create lighter, thinner, and stronger performing armor solutions. The ongoing expansion of our body armor within the United States Military, Law Enforcement, Fire Rescue, and other First Responders market segments has and will continue to positively impact the future of HighCom Armor and more importantly our valued partners and end users.
Was this award something that you expected?
MB: We go into every RFP expecting to win, our only competition is ourselves. However, to say we expected or were complacent could not be further from the truth. We were not familiar with Sourcewell until one of our valued partners brought it to our attention and we were able to research and come to understand how incredible the program was and the value it delivers to this underserved domestic market.
We saw the Sourcewell contract not as an expectation but as a tremendous opportunity for collaboration between a world-class cooperative purchasing government agency and HighCom in order to expand our top-rated customer service and support to a broader market of agencies and organizations throughout the United States.
We engaged Sourcewell with the purpose of integrating the contract similarly as our other contracts, and that is to act as a contract vehicle for participating entities to use towards a guaranteed lower price acquisition on quality body armor and personal protective equipment. Our intent and goal with this contract are to drive Sourcewell to the top of cooperative procurement programs for the segment of Body Armor and related accessories. The opportunity to do this with our USA made body armor and protective equipment is a big reason why we feel so honored and humbled by the award.
What does it take for a body armor company to be one of the main providers of the US? There must be a lot of work behind it.
MB: The U.S. body armor market and industry overall carries some of the strictest requirements on quality and compliance and there are so many unethical and unsavory businesses that only care about a profit versus delivering the greatest value, fit, and comfort for the end user. Quality is our cornerstone and while ISO 9001:2015 is a great certification to have going the extra mile with the BA 9000/2016 certification cements our position among leaders of this industry and guarantees our First Responder end users they are getting products that meet exceeding standards when it comes to material origins, inspection, assembly, testing, and compliance practices. Saving lives has never been about the money to us, having an opportunity to ensure an officer’s life is saved by our product is the greatest reward we could ever dream of.
What does it mean to work with Sourcewell? What can HighCom and Sourcewell learn from each other and benefit each other?
MB: An opportunity like this is rare and comes along rarely for manufacturing companies in the United States these days, so to keep it short this ranks among some of our greatest achievements in the past two decades and we are laser focused on achieving great things with Sourcewell in the years ahead! It is a great question to ask, what can HighCom and Sourcewell learn from each other. In our opinion a great deal. Our team is constantly focused on education not sales, so this opportunity through the Sourcewell contract is all about education.
We want to work closely with the contract team at Sourcewell to educate the market about cooperative contracts and the value they offer to budget conscious organizations. Freeing up tax dollars from administrative procurement processes to redirect into community support and development is a key advantage of this program. Additionally, the opportunity to support state and local agencies and organizations with knowledge on product technical capabilities, performance, quality, testing standards, and most importantly the short- and long-term care and maintenance of our body armor and lifesaving equipment is what we have built this organization on.
What advice would you give to startups in the industry to achieve what HighCom Armor Solutions has achieved?
MB: Ensuring we are continually focused on being a leader in research and development is key as a body armor design and manufacturing company. Our Military, Law Enforcement, and First Responders are facing an ever-changing landscape in the weapons and threats they face on any given day. Ensuring the confidence of our end users so they can focus on the mission at hand versus whether they are protected or not is our most important job.
Meeting and exceeding government regulations and performance standards across any armor product is critical to the future of our company and we would encourage anyone looking to get into this space to consider a foundation of trust, honesty, and ethics before you even pickup the phone to call on your first customer or sit down at the drafting table to design your first product. This industry has plenty of fly-by-night cheaters and unscrupulous companies and it does not take long for them to come and go, but to build a foundation of trust and respect in this industry does not come overnight and patience and perseverance is key for any business to rise to the top.
And last and the most important advice I would offer is to never forget the fundamental purpose for working in this industry, and that is to save lives. Every single person on our team, from operations to sales, marketing to finance, fulfillment to production, everyone is focused on saving lives. We know the materials we are dealing with save lives, as well as the end protective products we are putting out there, and anyone who wants to enter this industry and succeed, needs to make sure they never lose sight of the front-line operators to ensure at the end of their shift they get home safely to their families.
Which are HighCom most popular products?
MB: We have hundreds of products and thousands of SKUs across five product categories. We offer solutions from ballistic resistant rifle armor to soft armor, covert and overt protective panels, as well as a strong line of carriers and vests. We offer ballistic resistant helmets and shields along with various gear and accessories. HighCom’s most popular products are likely in our rifle armor protective plate line, as well as ballistic resistant helmets. We have several models that are deployed within big and small Law Enforcement and Military organizations throughout the world. Our Guardian 4s17, 3s9, and AR1000 are likely near the top of the highest number of deployed rifle inserts throughout the United States under both the HighCom brand as well as partner OEM brands with more than a million plates distributed worldwide over our 24-year history.
Picture: HighCom AR1000 rifle plates
One notable recognition is our armor has never had a failure, a penetration, or recall, which is extremely rare for anybody to be able to say from a manufacturing and distribution standpoint. It also speaks volumes to the quality standards and performance requirements we are proud to adhere to. And because of our reputation in manufacturing some of the strongest and best armor products available on the market, we also are one of the largest OEM providers of armors for other successful brands from some of the largest body armor companies in the world. This brings a great deal of pride to our team, knowing these top-rated companies have HighCom Armor technology underneath their labels speaks volumes to our ‘leading the way’ mentality.
Did the award influenced/inspired HighCom to launch any new products?
MB: The award from Sourcewell itself has not driven the development of new products but certainly will in the months and years ahead. However, we are and will continue to commercialize and release new products in support of this and our other contract vehicles including GSA, NASPO, and the BVP. In 2020/2021 we have launched three new lighter, thinner, stronger rifle armor solutions along with our female soft armor in Level IIIA and soon to be released Level II packages. We are privileged to partner with DSM on these innovative solutions that are now being delivered to First Responders throughout the United States as we speak. The Guardian ICW (in-conjunction-with) line of solutions provide some of the world’s lightest and thinnest rifle armor solutions for higher threat concerns and ultra-concealable protection demands of end users with specialized deployment purposes.
We encourage all to come check out what HighCom has going on by visiting our webpage at www.highcomarmor.com. Sign up for our newsletter for up-to-date product and educational information on the market, industry, and product use and care, as well as the opportunity to learn more about our company, team, and especially these exciting contract vehicles like Sourcewell.
Sourcewell is a self-sustaining government organization, partnering with education, government, and nonprofits to empower student and community success. As the request for proposals offered by Sourcewell to HighCom Armor indicates:
“Sourcewell is a State of Minnesota local government agency and service cooperative (…) that facilitates a competitive public solicitation and contract award process for the benefit of its 50,000+ participating entities across the United States and Canada.”
About HighCom Armor
HighCom Armor is a name recognized within the defense space as a trusted and valuable resource for high quality and cost-effective protective systems. The company’s engineering and operation teams have designed and commercialized numerous solutions according to NIJ and MIL-SPEC body armor standards and testing protocols. Thousands of customers from the United States Military and Law Enforcement to governments and agencies around the globe have come to depend on HighCom Armor’s advanced ballistic armor manufacturing processes.