An Aerospace e-procurement marketplace

The client was a startup e-procurement marketplace company owned by a $1.7 billion a year key player in the air transport industry. Most of the parent companies services however, were connected to old technology. Therefore, the parent company was in the process of re-inventing itself, by developing an ASP business model with the startup company as the centerpiece itís offering.

Business Challenge

The startup e-procurement marketplace company was created to address the procurement problems of the air transport industry. Ultimately, the startup was to incorporate all capabilities necessary to become the one-stop e-procurement marketplace for the air transport industry. However, the initial objective was to provide an e-procurement marketplace for buyers and sellers of aftermarket parts and spares. The e-procurement marketplace would provide an Internet mechanism for procuring, administering the orders, and document management of technical documentation of a parts lifecycle.

The initial concern of startup company was to achieve speed-to-market with a functionality rich e-procurement marketplace. To establish itself as a leader in the industry and garner a significant market share.

Collaboration Effort

Initially, rpti was brought on to provide project management and technical services. rpti resources contributed to the development of the startup companyís product in the following areas:

        Project Manager

        Design

        Oracle DBA

        Oracle PL/SQL developers

        Unix System Administration

        Quality Assurance team members

        Content Management

The first decision was whether to buy an of-the-shelf e-procurement platform and customize it, or to build a complete product from scratch. After performing feasibility studies, gathering requirements, and performing product evaluations, it was determined that the products available at that time did not address the workflow issues specific to the technical procurement process. Therefore, it was a collective decision to build the product from the ground up.

Based on a number of factors it was decided that Unix would be the network platform, Oracle the database, ColdFusion the application interface and application server, Netscape the web server, and Siebel the Customer Relationship Management software. 170 System was chosen as the document management software that would address the online traceability feature where suppliers could make available their part documentation to the buying customer. Spec2000 was a requirement to send orders to the OEMs. Extricity (now Peregrine) was chosen to be the integration platform to connect startup company to other business processes such as ERPís and other Internet business websites that provided services that complimented the technical procurement objective.

Often times in startups, resources have to wear more than one hat. This opportunity was no exception; as the project turned into a company, rpti was called on to assist in the development of internal departmental processes and procedures as well as to help establish the Customer Service department. An innovation rpti contributed was online training. This provided the personal touch of an instructed course, but also saved the company money with some of the smaller companies needing the same hand holding as the larger ones. We also exploited the capabilities of this tool to enhance the customer service experience as well as providing communication for integration projects that span great distances. Other areas of significant contribution by rpti were business development, training, pre-sales technical support, account management, customer implementations, sales, and presentations at trade shows and at specific customer sites.

Results

In less than one year we helped the startup company deliver an e-procurement market second to none. The e-procurement marketplace won the coveted Flight International Aerospace Industry Award, and garnered very favorable press releases from trade shows and conventions. The air transport industry was excited about the startup company. Headquartered in Chicago, and offices in Seattle, London, and Singapore, and offices soon to come are Paris and Dubai, the startup grew from 25 airlines and over 100 suppliers on the site. Aerospan is headquartered in Chicago and now has offices in Seattle, London, and Singapore. Offices soon to come are Paris and Dubai.

The startup company was one of the first to deliver an e-procurement marketplace to the air transport industry, and it had the most complete set of functionality of any marketplace to-date. We successfully completed the first Aerospace integration of 2 e-procurement marketplaces. We have entered into a proposal for integrating a clientís ERP and legacy application. rpti is currently being considered as the startupís exclusive business process integrator for the Middle East and Africa.

Because of our early success, two airline consortiums (together they represent 65% of the buying power of the air transport industry) have expressed an interest of using the startup as their technical procurement engine.

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