A fledgling online aerospace marketplace, ePlane is spreading its wings, says CEO Gideon Shmuel.
“Aerospace is a traditional B2B market, but when I talk to buyers and sellers, they no longer have an objection to going digital,” he says. “The new generation of younger people are the ones who need to get the job done, and they don’t have a black book of who to call when they need an engine part.”
EPlane, launched in June 2017, is out to increase its share of the global market for aerospace products used in the maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft and aircraft components. The market for such products is primed to scale to $116 billion worldwide by 2029, up from $81.9 billion last year, according to a market forecast report by Oliver Wyman, a global management consulting firm for aerospace and other industries.
The market for MRO products is being served by a growing number of online marketplaces that have emerged over the past several years, including fipart, PartPilot, PartsBase, AeroParts Now and Honeywell Aerospace’s GoDirect Trade.
Aircraft engines listed at $2 million and up
On ePlane.com, an average number of 500 customers each month purchase aircraft parts ranging from brake valves and radio altimeters to aircraft engines, Shmuel says. The average price tag is $12,000, but engines listed for sale can run more than $2 million, he says.
EPlane doesn’t break out revenue figures, but figuring 500 buyers per month and an average price of $12,000, Digital Commerce 360 B2B estimates that annual sales could run about $70 million. Shmuel notes that buyers on ePlane.com process requests for quotes with a combined value of about $500 million a year. “A high percentage become transactions,” he adds.
Among ePlane’s online features and services are:
- Autopilot, which lets approved buyers from airlines and aircraft maintenance firms submit with one click an RFQ, or request for quote, to multiple sellers that ePlane determines to be relevant suppliers with inventory immediate available; buyers can view and respond to quotes received within several minutes on an online dashboard, and exchange purchase orders and invoices with suppliers;
- Inventory management—Sellers can manage multiple, differentiated product catalogs, control the types of buyers who can view them, and integrate the catalogs with their own enterprise resource planning systems for updating their own inventory and customer records;
- Advanced site search, which lets buyers filter and sort search results by such criteria as product condition and location, pricing, available documents and services offered;
- Wish list, which lets buyers list descriptions of products not currently available and receive email alerts and dashboard notifications when the products are available to purchase;
- Multiple online payment options, including credit card transactions and bank wire transfers, with more payment methods to launch this year;
- Market demand data, including information on sales and pricing trends for particular products.
More services ahead
Still operating in a startup phase, ePlane doesn’t charge any fees to either buyers or sellers, acting for now as a free service as it builds its brand. But it’s planning to soon introduce additional services that will carry fees, Shmuel says. These may include logistics, warehousing and fulfillment services; expanded market data on customer demand trends for particular products and product categories; and opportunities for suppliers to advertise their products and services. EPlane has about 55 employees.
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