Improving aircraft supply-chain logistics through e-commerce

E-commerce, particularly business-to-consumer (B2C) sales, is not a new phenomenon. U.S. Census data reveals nearly $200 billion in spending on e-commerce purchases for this year alone, and eMarketer projects worldwide e-commerce spending will surpass $3 trillion (U.S. dollars) by 2019. While most major retailers have flocked toward online product sales, more traditional business-to-business (B2B) industries have been slow to adopt the many facets of this evolving technology.

Improving aircraft supply-chain logistics through e-commerce
Improving aircraft supply-chain logistics through e-commerce

E-commerce, particularly business-to-consumer (B2C) sales, is not a new phenomenon. U.S. Census data reveals nearly $200 billion in spending on e-commerce purchases for this year alone, and eMarketer projects worldwide e-commerce spending will surpass $3 trillion (U.S. dollars) by 2019. While most major retailers have flocked toward online product sales, more traditional business-to-business (B2B) industries have been slow to adopt the many facets of this evolving technology.

Part of the aversion to e-commerce among B2Bs has been a lack of knowledge surrounding the technology and misinterpretations of its benefits, according to research conducted by Frost & Sullivan, a market research firm in San Antonio, Texas. Confusions could potentially result in a multitude of missed opportunities for both businesses and customers. Among aerospace distributors, properly implemented best practices within existing supply chain logistics are sure to yield noticeable improvements to inventory accuracy, shipping efficiency, and overall customer satisfaction.

Improving aircraft supply-chain logistics through e-commerceImproving aircraft supply-chain logistics through e-commerce

Inventory figures
E-commerce involvement within supply chain logistics has a positive and direct effect on inventory accuracy. Through sales and other tracking methods, this technology can inform distributors when stock levels are low and provide predictions for future needs so that problems of excess products are virtually eliminated. E-commerce technology can also assist in warehouse storage and organization.

For customers, e-commerce platforms equate to a more streamlined and in-control purchasing experience. Accurate inventory levels mean automatic improvements in product arrival predictions and the minimization of inconveniences like order cancellations and backorder notifications. B2B aerospace suppliers can even utilize e-commerce capabilities to provide real-time warehouse stock levels and projected restocking dates and figures. These benefits all add up to more accurate supply-chain logistics for every sector within the aircraft industry.

Parts arrival
B2Bs can utilize up-to-the-minute shipment tracking information, including predicting weather delays and other disruptions, to optimize supply-chain logistics for customers. With improved inventory figures, aircraft parts can be held in locations closer to purchasers. For aerospace parts distributor Kapco Global, e-commerce has played a critical role in meeting and exceeding customer expectations.

“E-commerce has allowed us to better predict and anticipate the needs of our customers. This has allowed us to ensure that applicable aircraft parts are held at locations closer to their final destination, which in turn reduces shipping time and cost for our customers,” Kapco Global’s Director of Business Process Management Bud Miller explains. “In addition, these technologies have aided in pinpointing areas of product portfolio expansion, such as with our recent partnership with Netherlands-based Avio-Diepen.”

Expanded customer benefits
E-commerce capabilities should go far beyond the online shopping cart experience to provide value added time-saving efficiency features to customers.

“Our e-commerce platform, Kapco kart, not only has made purchasing aerospace parts easier and faster than ever, but also has given our customers 24/7 access to important account information like order history, invoices and product certs,” Miller adds. “By including these self-service extras, we’ve been able to better meet the needs of our customers and hopefully improve their overall efficiency as well as ours. Kapco Global believes the customer experience is the new frontier. This area will be where a significant amount of innovation will take place in the future.”

As distributors work to improve processes, the implications of e-commerce are simple — optimized supply-chain logistics equate to an overall better customer experience.

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