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dmi:Design Value Award Winner - Honeywell Aerospace and GoDirect Trade
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Honeywell Aerospace and GoDirect Trade

GoDirect Trade: Transforming the Aerospace Parts-Trading Business


GoDirect Trade is an entrepreneurial, 4-person startup within Honeywell Aerospace. Formed as an independently operating enterprise, it was created to transform the $4.5B used aircraft-parts market. Prior to GoDirect Trade, only 10% of used aircraft-part sales were taking place in e-marketplaces. Despite significant effort, 90% of all sales were still done via traditional “human-to-human” transactions within the “my friends” channel of parts traders who buy and sell within their network of known, friendly entities. To digitally transform the marketplace, the GoDirect Trade team took an Experience Design focus from the start. UX Designers and Design Thinking influenced every aspect of the project. The initiative had design-advocacy and support from the highest levels of the organization. 

A cross-functional team worked to identify user needs and insights in an effort to understand the underlying emotional, behavioral, and social drivers that were acting as adoption barriers to existing e-marketplaces. The team found that industry users had been burned by poor experiences. Ghost listings advertised fictional inventory forcing extra effort by legitimate buyers to sort through the false advertisements. Hidden pricing resulted in significant time lost in negotiations by buyers and sellers alike. Missing documents and proof of certification critical to aircraft flightworthiness and safety were not readily available, slowing legitimate trades. In short, the risk, fear, and doubt experienced by users limited adoption of the digital channel and forced reliance on traditional sales networks. 

The design and policy of the solution had to incorporate the inherent qualities of the known and trusted “my friends” network of buyers. So, transparency and trustworthiness were designed into the experience. Price, availability, and certification documentation are required for every listing. Honeywell’s Trust Trace blockchain service was developed to provide pedigree information for serialized parts and is the first in the aerospace marketplace to leverage such technology. In fact the largest online sale, a $100,000 turbofan aircraft engine, was sold in minutes on GoDirect Trade. 

Culture change has been an unforeseen benefit of the collaboration. The team has filed for eight e-commerce utility patents, a first for many of the team members including contributions from team members that typically haven’t worked on intellectual property, such as customer support representatives. The initiative has promoted a culture of innovation across all business disciplines. Sustainability is also a natural outcome of GoDirect Trade. The marketplace thrives on promoting reuse. An aerospace part changes hands four times on average. Rather than scrap parts and throw them away for good, GoDirect Trade promotes the resale and reuse of parts.
And GoDirect Trade has already seen financial success

  • The initiative evolved from a research opportunity to a revenue generating operation inside 11-months
  • GoDirect Trade has notched $2 million in sales (Jan-Jun 2019)
  • Honeywell Aerospace targets sales of $5M by year end, and $250 million by year 2022
  • GoDirect has 3000 active users across 850 different aerospace companies
  • 16 of the industry’s major players have listed $500M USD in inventory on the platform
  • The average search-to-purchase time is 60 seconds
  • Parts traders are seeing 50% of all transactions conducted without human intervention
  • The average transaction is worth approx. $8,000
  • For the first time a $100,000 turbofan jet engine was sold entirely online

The launch of the GoDirect Trade digital platform has transformed the way people buy, sell, and interact with one another in the aircraft used-parts market. 

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