The Boeing Co. is a big believer—and participant—in business-to-business e-commerce. Boeing has been in the B2B e-commerce market since 1996 when it launched the Part Analysis and Requirements Tracking, or PART Page e-commerce site. PART Page processes more than 70,000 transactions daily, including orders as well as inquiries about shipping status, inventory levels and pricing, Boeing says.
In June 2017 Boeing rolled out its newest e-commerce initiative: Modification Marketplace, a new website built to bring a more business-to-consumer or “Amazon” approach to B2B e-commerce. In this question-and-answer report B2BecNews conducted in January, Bernard Hensey, vice president of commercial business development for Boeing Global Services, discusses how the aerospace and defense systems manufacturer addresses B2B e-commerce as a strategic priority.
Q: What is Modification Marketplace and when did it go live?
BH: After nine months of testing and implementation, Boeing launched Modification Marketplace in June 2017. The Modification Marketplace is a web-based application that allows customers to instantly see information, price and lead time for Boeing’s available retrofit features. Before these digital files, the content had been captured in paper catalogs. The tool also analyzes prerequisites for task completion and informs the customer before placing an order.
Q: How many parts products are for sale on the Modification Marketplace?
BH: These are retrofit features and there are approximately 1,200 on the marketplace. We also offer nearly 12 million parts through the Boeing PART Page and Aviall’s e-commerce site. The PART Page was recently enhanced to improve the customer experience, provide customers with real-time data such as part availability, prices, part interchangeability and order status information.
(Editor’s Note: Aviall is a Boeing subsidiary that provides aircraft parts, supplies, chemicals, tools and materials and offers more than 2 million parts, including aviation oils, tires, batteries and hardware. The Boeing PART Page, Aviall’s e-commerce site and other Boeing e-commerce sites, including the Inventory Locator Service, can be accessed directly or via MyBoeingFleet.com.)
Aviall’s e-commerce site offers customers a comprehensive part search experience based on multiple attributes such as category, manufacturer and classification that delivers tailored search results.
Customers can also place multi-line orders, conduct document retrieval for material certificates and safety data sheets, and check their order status with carrier-tracking information. Aviall’s mobile app offers an additional platform for on-the-go customers, making it easy for users to view product availability, download documents and contact aircraft on ground (AOG) support. Aviall recently developed the RestockMe app, which gives customers the ability to quickly replenish fast-moving inventory items. The app allows customers to utilize the camera system on their smartphone to scan barcodes for easy order placement. From start to finish, customers can place an order in as little as ten seconds through RestockMe.
Additionally, subsidiary Inventory Locator Service (ILS) streamlines procurement and automates supply chain operations through its electronic business-to-business marketplace, where subscribing customers can leverage ILS’s technology to quickly buy and sell aviation parts, equipment and services. Listing more than 75 million line items of available inventory from their network of sellers, ILS’s marketplace sees over 100,000 part searches each day.
Q: What new efficiencies for parts ordering or re-ordering does Modification Marketplace provide for customers and why was this needed?
BH: Customers can instantly see information, price and lead time for Boeing’s available retrofit features. Modification Marketplace provides customers an immediate, rough estimate of services, real-time updates, ship date and tracking information.
The tool also analyzes prerequisites for task completion and informs the customer before placing an order. Customers can also electronically purchase some features and quickly request proposals for others. This gives our customer the ability to make more informed decisions on their purchases.
Q: How many total e-commerce sites does Boeing currently operate and for what divisions?
BH: Boeing currently operates seven e-commerce sites and platforms across Boeing Global Services. Boeing Global Services was formed by integrating the services capabilities of the government, space and commercial sectors into a single, customer-focused business.
A longer version of this Q&A with Boeing will appear in a February special report from B2BecNews on digital commerce trends in manufacturing. The report will also include the results of a B2BecNews survey of more than 100 manufacturers regarding their e-commerce operations.
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