The $14 billion aerospace arm of Honeywell International Inc. is taking off with a renewed focus on B2B e-commerce—and an updated e-commerce site used by about 200,000 customers to order parts and services.
There are about 250,000 to 500,000 parts that make up a typical business jet from aircraft companies such as Gulfstream, Bombardier, or Embraer and up to 7 million for a jumbo aircraft manufactured by Boeing or Airbus.
Many of those parts are made and serviced by Honeywell’s aerospace division, which makes and maintains a wide range of parts for fixed-wing and rotary aircraft, including products from avionics to cabin management and entertainment systems.
Aerospace products are highly complex and complicated. But with more integrated and digital technology now rolling out across the commercial and government aerospace market, aircraft service technicians, mechanics and other specialists need faster access to new and replacement parts—and the technical data that keep those parts plugged in and operating.
To give those aerospace mechanical and maintenance personnel and their purchasing managers faster access to parts ordering and technical specifications, Honeywell Aerospace has been overhauling its main password-protected B2B and commerce-enabled portal: MyAerospace Portal.
The portal was first launched 10 years ago and today is a major B2B e-commerce site and product specification and information site that is used by 200,000 customers to place new and repeat orders for a product inventory of about 1.5 million parts across 20 product categories.
Those categories range from air and thermal management products, auxiliary power units, cockpit systems and displays to sensors, weather radar and wheels and braking systems.
The older version of the portal took too long to complete transactions and needed better integrated e-commerce tools, says David Timothy, Honeywell Aerospace director, digital experience. “Things needed to be faster and better integrated,” Timothy says.
After a year of work, the retooled MyAerospace Portal was rolled out last October. Now Honeywell is moving into the second phase of its portal overhaul, which includes making it easier for customers to place orders for products involving multiple purchasing parties and complicated individual product specifications. “In addition to the ongoing efforts to modernize our platform, we are focused on improving efficiency even further,” Timothy says. “We have architected a method to handle exceptions in a way that works for all involved parties—in short, we can make the most complex orders simple, thus making our online ordering application even more enticing to use.”
The newly updated portal features an a search engine that now remembers customer history and preferences. Interactive graphics were designed to group orders by status, enabling customers to track the status of repairs, spare parts and exchange orders. With more visibility and control over their repair orders, customers can update shipping information and download certifications from a desktop or mobile device, Honeywell Aerospace says.
“Honeywell created these updates with usability, mobility and efficiency top of mind, so customers can complete and track parts orders quickly and effortlessly,” says Heath Patrick, vice president, customer and product support, Honeywell Aerospace. “Our customers provided feedback on how the portal design and navigation could be better, so we acted on it to give them more control over their orders while increasing their overall maintenance productivity.”
Honeywell Aerospace, which says its products and services are found on virtually every commercial, defense and space aircraft, also rebuilt its portal with more individual user features. For example, once logged in a user can order parts online, check order status, get order updates and request help from technical services.
Other updated tools let users gain access to technical publications, view a consolidated account management page or view key details on the search results screen including for commercial and government entity, or CAGE codes (a form of supplier identification), packaging requirements and warranty information.
Updated product pages now enable users to use a shopping cart or request a quote directly from the search results page, Timothy says. “The simple act of including details with the search results allowed for a massive improvement in efficiency and an overall reduction in the time it took to process a single order,” he says. “The value was exponential for larger product orders.”
Honeywell Aerospace won’t disclose certain details about the remake of its B2B portal, including average order size, the annual volume and value of e-commerce orders or the outside vendors used to rebuild its e-commerce and search platform.
But buyer productivity has improved mainly by cutting down on the clicks and screens buyers previously used to complete a transaction, Timothy says. Honeywell claims it reduced the steps needed to complete an online order by 20% and reduced the time it takes to process orders by 50%, although the company didn’t provide specific details.
“When it comes to placing large orders, sometimes other work can get in the way,” Timothy says. “It was important that our users could save their progress to ensure that they didn’t have to repeat work.”
The aerospace and aircraft industry has been a progressive one for B2B e-commerce. In addition to Honeywell, other companies such as Boeing also are updating their B2B websites and portals. 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.