Lisa_Butters_Honeywell.jpg Honeywell

Fast 5: Could Honeywell’s Site Backed By Blockchain Change E-Commerce?

Lisa Butters, Honeywell GoDirect Trade’s general manager, explains why she thinks e-commerce could finally take off in the aviation industry. GoDirectTrade, the e-commerce platform for new and used aircraft parts that went live in January, lists $500 million of parts—from 50-cent fasteners to multi-million aircraft engines.

What makes GoDirect Trade different than other online platforms?

There are 20 competitors out there. What differentiates us are three things. 1. We are the only site that requires sellers to have price, product images, paperwork (quality documentation) in order to list a product. If you don’t have those three things for the consumer, you’re not allowed to list on the site. 2. We are the only site that is a search engine. You can create a customized storefront in three steps within five minutes. 3. We are the only platform that is blockchain enabled. We leverage blockchain technology to manufacture trust between buyers and sellers. We are like a CarFax for aerospace parts. We try to show consumers as much information about a part as possible. That bring even more transparency to the consumer so they can make quick, efficient and good decisions.

How does Honeywell use blockchain to trace the pedigree and documentation of each part?

Blockchain is valuable because it helps build trust between two parties in a digital way. Like a scoreboard at a football game, everyone can look at it and know the score at any time—that’s what blockchain does. Blockchain is a very secure way to have a decentralized database that is crowdsourced by all the people in the network. For serialized parts, we try to store as much information as possible about that part. We connect to other enterprises, repair shops and dismantlers—and using blockchain, we can securely store information, what we call events tied to that serialized part. So when a consumer is looking for an engine starter, for example, and they want to see if it has been repaired by a certified shop, we can show that by collecting information using blockchain data, which is a decentralized, crowdsourced way to gather parts information.

In that particular example, are those players willing to give you that information?

Within aerospace, it’s a really infantile technology. We are barely scratching the surface of how we use blockchain and can harness its power. Blockchain right now is not a prevalent thing that is used across many players and many enterprises. For us to collect that data from repair shops and dismantlers, we have to go out and partner with repair shops and dismantlers that are willing to get onto the network and set up a blockchain node, or submit information through a secure user interface so we can start collecting and sharing data. 

For example, there is an aircraft dismantler and a couple of repair shops that we set up nodes for so they can be on the blockchain network. That gives them the exact copy of the blockchain database, so we all have the same copy. It’s not about Honeywell owning all of the data and then having a walled garden around our data. This is about getting enterprises and smaller players to play in the blockchain space.

How many transactions have completed on GoDirect Trade so far?

We have transacted more than $3 million in sales since January when it went live. That may seem small since this is a $4 billion used parts industry, but for the most part, most transactions are still done via email and phone. Of the $3 million transactions that we’ve processed to date, half has been to new customers—so customers that they have never done business with. So they’re starting to take a piece of the pie from other sellers by going digital. Sellers have to realize that if you don’t sign up for the digital revolution early, you will get left behind. We believe that as the millennial workforce continues to grow—by next year it will make up about 70% of the workforce—and the Gen Zs grow to 40% of the workforce in three years--those two generations will not put up with a solution that isn’t online. And there’s no platform other than GoDirect Trade that offers enough transparency to check out online.

Are there new features coming soon?

Last week we rolled out Seller Wizard, which in three easy steps allows users to set up a full-blown store in five minutes. In addition, we most likely will integrate some major functionality—repair and overhaul services—into GoDirect Trade very soon. If you’re on Amazon and you buy a ceiling fan, the next question it asks is whether you need someone to install it. On GoDirect Trade, that makes perfect sense. People are buying used parts and often they buy something that needs to be repaired. So if they put a used part that needs to be repaired in a cart, the next question could be, ‘Do you want to find a repair provider for your part and send it for repair?’ These are functions that GoDirct Trade will make this quarter or next as we continue to be build out our ecosystem for the consumer.

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