In 2013, Fictiv’s Founders realized a major bottleneck was limiting new product innovation and custom part sourcing and manufacturing. Sourcing parts from a fragmented ecosystem of suppliers was a primary pain point and business risk for product manufacturing companies. With the absence of needed infrastructure, the process of finding and vetting new suppliers, getting quotes, and keeping track of orders among hundreds of low-volume suppliers was slow, inefficient, and full of miscommunication and errors, putting the entire market at risk.
So, in 2013, Fictiv was created to solve this issue. It’s an intelligent operating system for custom manufacturing that makes it much faster, easier, and more efficient to source and supply custom mechanical parts. The intelligent OS, supported by best-in-class talent, puts together a network of highly vetted and managed partners across the planet for fast, high-quality manufacturing, starting from quotation to delivery. Since its inception, Fictiv has manufactured over 20 million parts for early-stage companies and large organizations, helping them to innovate and get products to the market faster.
A Steadfast Leader
Paola Vu serves as the Business Unit Director of Fictiv. She oversees the Energy, Infrastructure, Aerospace, and Transportation sectors and consults with Executive Leadership, Engineering, Global Supply Chain and Procurement leadership teams to help speed up their new product introduction, reduce their development time to market, and modernize their supply chain.
She loves working with intelligent and passionate people to solve complex problems at the global level. She has the greatest respect for the supply chain and the human relay enabling and empowering global trade. After witnessing the massive complexities of digitizing the international shipping and logistics space, she was inspired to move up the supply chain to tackle the digital transformation of the more complex and widespread manufacturing space.
Paola studied Politics at the University of San Francisco and couldn’t deny the energy and excitement of the second wave of digital technology sweeping the entire Bay area. A veteran of the tech industry, Paola has spent the last decade building and evangelizing Digital Transformation technology, focusing on increasing efficiency in more traditional industries. Before joining Fictiv, Paola was an early team member at Flexport, where she consulted on global logistics and international trade.
Using Communication to Mitigate Resistance
Throughout her entire career, Paola has worked in a predominantly male environments, and she is well aware of the pressure to fit in with the boys’ club. Over the last decade, with more exposure to female leaders, Paola first worked for female C-level executives at Fictiv, and soon realized that she could bring several unique and beneficial qualities to organization building and management. She says, “A big priority is building trust through great communication (and over-communication when needed), but oftentimes it’s where I see the most resistance.”
Paola mitigates this resistance by explaining to her teams why strong communication fuels trust, implementing simple structures for effective meetings, and continued reinforcement by highlighting the positive results of increased team health and performance.
Maintaining Work-life Balance
Since early 2020 the world has witnessed the pandemic’s emergence, and in a swift response to the pandemic, Fictiv went fully remote. During the first year, Paola didn’t have a great work-life balance as she opted to be constantly available for her team in order to mitigate their burnout and ensure success. It took her another year to learn how to implement the best work-life balance for herself and ensure good health, eating well, sleep, exercise and logging off within reasonable hours. Paola feels this balance is of utmost importance for sustaining success, but it’s not an easy skill to master and something she is constantly working to improve.
A big priority is building trust through great communication (and over-communication when needed), but oftentimes it’s where I see the most resistance.
Getting Ready for the Future
In the future, Fictiv aspires to transform the traditional contract manufacturing industry beyond new product development as the world’s first Digital Contract Manufacturer for custom parts. The firm is well prepared to further expand its manufacturing services with the prototype to production capabilities and strengthen its tech-enabled operations to offer world-class guided expertise as a strategic partner to its customers at all stages of the product life cycle.