219 Design, a product engineering firm based in Silicon Valley, helps clients develop products and solve complex engineering challenges that can include anything from developing robotic mechanisms to advanced GUIs for laser eye surgery systems. The firm takes an interdisciplinary approach to design, with a team of engineers that span mechanical, electrical, software, firmware, product development, and UI/UX, offering full in-house product design.
“This allows us to break down barriers and work as a cohesive team,” said Miguel Piedrahita, founding partner of 219 Design. “It provides a lot of value to our clients, who benefit from an experienced team all under one roof.”
“Running a design firm is very rewarding but also challenging,” said Piedrahita. “Over the years, we’ve definitely faced every type of communication problem we could have with suppliers.”
Before they discovered Fictiv, the process for sourcing, vetting and managing suppliers and getting quotes was cumbersome and time-consuming.
"Often, we would have to vet new suppliers on the fly during a project, which introduces risk to the timeline and budget."
“Depending on the processes we needed done, I would check our internal list of suppliers to see if there were any vetted suppliers for what I needed,” said Piedrahita. “If there wasn’t a vetted supplier, then we needed to find one to try, by reaching out to our network and by doing internet research. Often, we would have to vet new suppliers on the fly during a project, which introduces risk to the timeline and budget. We tended to focus on domestic suppliers because the time and cost of finding overseas suppliers can be so challenging.”
Miguel estimates that during the prototype/manufacturing phase of a project, one engineer would typically spend 25 to 100 percent of their time working with suppliers on getting quotes and managing the process.
“Our team was doing a lot of work that didn’t necessarily play to their strengths or their passions,” said Piedrahita
“We spent a lot of time managing vendors, sending a part out, saying, ‘Can we get a quote on this?’ and then waiting a few days, depending on their workload,” said Francois Brahic, 219 Design product design lead.
When DuPont approached 219 Design about developing a drone to showcase DuPont’s advanced clear nylon material, Zytel 330 NC010, for the opening of DuPont’s new Silicon Valley Innovation Lab, the design firm didn’t have connections with injection molding suppliers who could produce the parts. Fictiv was able to instantly match them with a vetted partner for fast turnaround.
"Fictiv was amazing, They were able to instantly match our order with a vetted injection molding manufacturer in China that could work with this material and turn it around quickly."
The objective of the project was to use advanced DuPont materials and processes to improve performance, streamline assembly, and shed weight.
“Fictiv was amazing,” said Piedrahita. “They were able to instantly match our order with a vetted injection molding manufacturer in China that could work with this material and turn it around quickly. We were able to get tooling cut in about two weeks, and parts arrived here literally a week later. That was really key in helping us hit our deadlines, so we could start integrating the drone and building everything up.”
“The biggest value to me is how available the team at Fictiv is,” said Brahic. “It’s amazing to be able to walk around the corner and have a conversation about our project. It’s great to be able to engage directly.”
Miguel and Francois say their team’s workflow has improved since they began using Fictiv as a manufacturing destination.
“The biggest value to me is how available the team at Fictiv is."
“For certain types of smaller or quick-turn projects, working with overseas suppliers used to be a total non-starter because of all the logistics of sourcing, vetting, and managing overseas suppliers,” said Piedrahita. “Fictiv bridges that gap really well, so that we’re able to quickly get very high quality parts, but at lower costs, using overseas suppliers.
Working with Fictiv has also saved the team “a significant amount of time,” according to Piedrahita.
“We don’t have to call various vendors to check on the status of quotes or parts or go to China to visit candidate suppliers,” he said. “It’s also a huge time saver for finding new vendors for new processes, which frees up time to do higher-value work for our clients and allows our engineers to focus on the more interesting and rewarding aspects of their work.”
219 Design plans to expand over time and take on bigger and more complex projects.
“Since starting to work with Fictiv, we’re able to take on projects with more complex manufacturing requirements,” said Piedrahita. “We’re excited to continue working with Fictiv. We’ll be able to help our clients transition to manufacturing more effectively than ever before, and our team will be able to focus on the most rewarding aspects of their work, with less time spent on supplier sourcing and management.”