About the team
Industry: Industrial Robotics
Product: Software and hardware solution for custom robots
Year Founded: 2014
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Reason to try: Quality issues and delays with previous suppliers; looking to increase supply chain reliability
Favorite features: Great communication, high quality parts with competitive overseas pricing
Result: 14,500 parts manufactured, leveraging CNC machining with multiple surface finishes, gear hobbing, Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing, and injection molding
The Challenge: Losing Business Because of Supply Chain Friction
With previous suppliers, HEBI was faced with significant quality, cost, and speed tradeoffs that created friction in their supply chain.
“We talked to some shops and heard the same story,” said Rollinson. “For some, their prices were low, but the lead times were too long. Others had fast turnaround but high prices. Some shops were more automated but couldn’t manage the specific details for tolerances or surface finishes.”
“We’ve passed up several hundred thousand dollar sales because we couldn’t produce the parts quickly enough.”
Ultimately, those issues started to affect the business beyond just the parts that they were able to get in the door.
“We’ve passed up several hundred thousand dollar sales because we couldn’t produce the parts quickly enough,” said Bob Raida, Chief Operating Officer at HEBI Robotics. “Addressing those supply chain issues directly impacts the bottom line because we can deliver quickly and take advantage of new opportunities.”
For Andrew Willig, a Mechanical Engineer at HEBI Robotics, the lack of communication was an issue that made manufacturing, especially overseas, a challenge.
“Typically, it took about a full day to hear back about lead times or where my parts were in the supply chain, all due to the time difference overseas,” Willig said. “Now, working with Fictiv, we can get instant communication. It really helps us quickly iterate, talk through things on our parts that may need to change, and even get updates on parts and shipments.”
Solution: Supply Chain Consolidation and Flexibility with Fictiv
Through Fictiv’s digital manufacturing ecosystem, the HEBI team was able to access a wide range of high quality part manufacturing capabilities through a single streamlined source.
“Being able to use Fictiv for gears is very exciting for us because we know that they’re going to hit their lead times and we’re going to be in constant communication to see where our parts are in the supply chain.”
To date, the team has received 14,500 quality parts from Fictiv, ranging from tight tolerance CNC machined parts with multiple surface finishes, to low volume injection molded components, to quick turn 3D printed enclosures, to custom machined gears. Orders were matched with both domestic and overseas partners, to optimize for cost or speed based on HEBI’s priorities.
It’s especially relieving for the team to have a high quality source for custom gears.
“Gears have been a big bottleneck for us. We’ve had major challenges with quality and delays for gears, and when they aren’t up to quality standards, the entire actuator can’t be built,” said Willig. “Being able to use Fictiv for gears is very exciting for us because we know that they’re going to hit their lead times and we’re going to be in constant communication to see where our parts are in the supply chain.”
Investing in a Partnership
In addition to quality and speed, Rollinson said that the care and attention to detail that the Fictiv team has demonstrated gives him confidence in a long term partnership.
“From the start, Fictiv was really working with us to understand what we need.”
“We chose Fictiv because, from the onset, you could tell that they were approaching the relationship as a partner,” he said. “Fictiv was really working with us to understand what we need in terms of lead times, pricing, quantities, details of tolerances, and finishes, all while working with the quirks of these very precise parts with unique requirements.”
Economic Impact of the Fictiv-HEBI Relationship
4 key Fictiv solutions have made a positive economic impact on HEBI Robotics’ supply chain management.
- Fictiv’s Bolt-on Supply Chain Strategy: Fictiv acts as an extension of HEBI Robotics’ supply chain, taking on a significant portion of the supply chain management overhead to reduce operational costs.
- Seamless Transition to Bridge Production: Fictiv’s ecosystem enables access to high quality suppliers at low bridge production volumes, de-risking the critical transition for new product introduction.
- On-Demand Strategic Sourcing at Scale: Fictiv’s agile manufacturing capabilities reduce capital requirements for held inventory.
- Rapid Sourcing for Accelerated Development: Fictiv can help teams cut down development cycles and increase revenue potential for new products.
“We’re a small team of 12 people, and Fictiv is a core part of us being able to execute on that,” said Rollinson.
Rollinson said Fictiv has been able to meet HEBI’s needs for specific types of manufacturing processes, like injection molding, and parts, such as transmissions with small, custom gears. He added that Fictiv has helped connect HEBI with vetted manufacturing expertise and consistently provides transparency regarding price.
“Everything we make is relatively small, and we have very particular needs for materials,” said Rollinson. “The tolerances are important and unique for compound gears. Fictiv is important for knowing where we are on the cost-quality tradeoff.”
HEBI Robotics realized almost $600,000 in total benefits after working with Fictiv for a year, according to Fictiv’s calculations, which were made using the ValueCloud from DecisionLink to create a model and business case parameters. Fictiv applied the model to HEBI Robotics’ specific set of company information and benefit statements.