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Fictiv Makes Inc. Magazine's Best in Business List

Image courtesy of Alamy/Brian Jackson businessman holding trophy
The company, which describes itself as the "operating system for custom manufacturing," was singled out for its support of STEM programs.

Custom manufacturing innovator Fictiv is celebrating being named to Inc. magazine’s 2022 Best in Business list in the manufacturing category, particularly for its impact on furthering STEM education.

Fictiv, which bills itself as the “operating system for custom manufacturing,” specializes in connecting its network of 250 manufacturing suppliers and facilitating processes including quoting and quality control. To date, the company boasts more than 22 million parts manufactured for more than 3,200 companies, as well as more than 1.3 million pounds of carbon dioxide offsets. The San Francisco company’s digital capabilities include injection molding, 3D printing, urethane casting, and CNC machining.

Our mission at Fictiv is to simplify sourcing for the custom manufacturing industry,” explained CEO Dave Evans. “We accomplish this through our global network of highly vetted manufacturing partners, connected into our digital infrastructure for agile production, and supported by our team of quality and manufacturing experts.”

Advancing STEM education — science, technology, engineering, and math — and careers is also a significant part of Fictiv’s focus.

fictiv-CEO-dave-evans-285.jpg
Fictiv CEO Dave Evans.

“In the same vein of creating more value than we capture, we’re always looking for opportunities to support our communities — and advancing STEM is a big piece of this,” Evans said. “This year, we were honored to support the Formula Electric team at Berkeley with a sizable donation in complex machined parts for their all-electric Formula vehicle. And more than the financial contribution, Fictiv engineers generously gave their time to help students understand how to improve their mechanical part designs for manufacturability, which is a key skill aspiring mechanical engineers need to learn to be successful in the profession. We want to help the next generation of engineers be successful.”

Being recognized by Inc. is particularly gratifying, he added, because “from day one, our aim as a business has been to create more value than we capture. That means we seek to generate more total value for our customers, our partners, and our communities than we capture ourselves as a business. So, as we pursue our mission, it’s important that we do it with integrity every step of the way and find opportunities to give back and make an impact. This award means a lot to myself, my brother and co-founder Nate, and to the entire team at Fictiv.”

Evans’ past experience in manufacturing has been a significant motivator behind Fictiv’s accomplishments.

“I experienced the pain of how difficult it was to source custom parts as a mechanical engineer myself at Ford early in my career,” he recalled. “That’s what motivated me to start Fictiv back in 2013 — and every day I hear from our customers how Fictiv is transforming their workflow and breaking down barriers it reignites that fire in me.”

It's that drive that has shaped Fictiv’s robust manufacturing portal.

“Our customers can upload a tight-tolerance CNC part with a 2D drawing, get a price with DFM feedback in seconds, configure their order for the best balance of speed and price per their project needs, and then track the progress of their order online,” Evans explained. “Compare this to the old way of sending out RFQs in a weeks-long process with no transparency and handling everything via spreadsheets, PowerPoint, and email. As an engineer myself, the difference and resulting impact to engineering build cycle time is quite astonishing. 

“We’re also incredibly proud of our 95.4% perfect order quality rating. That means more than 95% of Fictiv orders arrive on-time with quality that meets or exceeds our customers’ expectations. That’s pretty much unheard of in custom manufacturing and is a testament to the quality of our partners and our rigorous quality management system we’ve built from the ground up.”

Going forward, Fictiv is “laser focused on helping hardware teams accelerate new product development through solutions that make it faster, easier, and more efficient to source custom mechanical parts,” Evans concluded. “In particular, we see a major opportunity to simplify sourcing for complex, tight-tolerance parts. Historically, this has been a challenge for engineers due to digital platform limitations and slow turn-around with local shops. Our artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms are truly breaking barriers here. For example, our tech can instantly read and quote requirements on a 2D drawing as well as a 3D model.

“We’re going to continue raising the bar here to offer the fastest service and best experience for ordering tight-tolerance parts. I like to say that if you can do tight tolerances well, everything else is a breeze.”

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