Meet Dave Evans, CEO at On-Demand Custom Manufacturing Platform: Fictiv

Dave Evans

Fictiv is a digital manufacturing ecosystem built for the 21st century. Our technology, team, and supplier network combine to make sourcing custom, quality components easy and fast. The Fictiv software platform streamlines engineering workflows and automates otherwise time-consuming tasks that drive up costs and slow down innovation. Our technology is designed to increase engineering team efficiency, augment R&D efforts and accelerate new product development.

Fictiv’s platform is powered by a proprietary computational geometry AI that delivers instant price quotes, lead times, and detailed design for manufacturability feedback. To augment this digital, self-serve experience, customers can also get expert guidance from Fictiv engineers on design manufacturability and assurance from Fictiv program managers to ensure requirements are met and timelines stay on track.

Our team and technology coordinate an expanding global network of manufacturing partners that are highly vetted and credentialed. These partners work with Fictiv’s team on the ground to deliver top-quality CNC machined, injection-molded, 3D printed, and urethane cast parts. Every part from every partner is inspected by a Fictiv quality engineer.

Fictiv’s people, platform, and manufacturing partners work in concert to help companies rationalize their supply chains and consolidate an otherwise fragmented and unwieldy supply base. The globally distributed nature of our network is, by design, far more flexible and resilient than a traditional supply chain — so we shift sourcing and production quickly and efficiently when disruptions occur.

Fictiv is the supply chain solution that frees companies to focus on building new products that serve their customers instead of sourcing the parts needed to build those products.
Fictiv: Custom Manufacturing On-Demand from Prototype to Production

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

I’m a mechanical engineer by training, and in 2013 I was leading Ford’s Silicon Valley Innovation Lab. When I started, I thought my time would be spent designing, iterating, and building new technologies for one of the biggest automotive companies in the world. And while we did get to make new things, I found myself spending a lot of time performing low-value admin tasks such as sourcing, vetting, and managing vendors.

I started out trying to source parts locally, but the quoting process and lead times were too slow to keep up with our needs. Next, I tried online vendors, which solved the speed issue, but the quality wasn’t good enough. Finally, we tried buying and operating our own production machines, but then we were full circle, spending our time managing and operating machines instead of on engineering innovation.

It was an incredibly frustrating experience, but also an illuminating and motivating one. My time at Ford spawned the idea and the drive to create Fictiv, which means “created by imagination.” The name Fictiv embodies the founding vision to break down the barriers that hinder engineers and prevent new hardware products from reaching the hands of customers.


How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

Fictiv, like many other companies, transitioned from a mostly co-located workforce to a remote one during the pandemic. The good thing was that we were built for this, given that our platform is online and our company ethos is about building flexibility and resilience! It was challenging to make that shift, but it expanded our ability to recruit new employees and pushed us to successfully automate more features of our manufacturing platform while actually improving our quality success scores. In Q4 2021, we had a 99% quality success rating on manufactured parts, grew our team by 81%, and doubled our core business revenue.

The pandemic also heightened people’s awareness of supply chain issues, which helped drive demand for our services — we manufactured over 4 million parts last year! And we beefed up our enterprise security with SOC 2 certification to back our new enterprise workflow services. Those services accelerate new product development, cut cycle times for engineer-to-order products, and increase efficiency in maintenance, repair, and operations of production-line tooling.

What can you hope to see from Fictiv in the future?

Fictiv is a harbinger of the future of manufacturing. Large, complex organizations are struggling to facilitate innovation within their existing structures and systems, and old-school supply chains simply don’t serve them. They need to be able to facilitate collaborative workflows to develop the new products that are so key to their growth and success.

I hope (and expect) to see supply chains become the latest adopter of cloud computing in the near future. Instead of companies employing massive operations teams to manage their own sluggish and costly supply chains, they’ll work with partners like Fictiv to get them the parts they need faster and cheaper through agile, resilient, cloud-based supply networks.

So, Fictiv will continue to grow and build better engineering workflows that enable big, enterprise organizations to operate more efficiently — and move at the speed of startups and cutting-edge R&D outfits.