Many airlines and other buyers of parts have chosen to reduce their parts inventory and instead rely on digital marketplaces to procure the parts they need when they need them.

To better understand the shift toward digital parts marketplaces, Satair recently conducted a market survey of our global customers. 

What we found was that while many buyers are comfortable using digital marketplaces to purchase aircraft parts, there is a need for marketplace solutions that are intuitive, easy to use and trustworthy.

Missing certification a problem

According to the survey, 73 percent of buyers use popular aviation marketplaces to purchase parts.

But more than a third said that their biggest pain point was a lack of proper certification or paperwork. The missing certification was even identified as a bigger concern than pricing.

When asked what they want from a digital marketplace, 20 percent said the platform should be easy to use, while 16 percent said that ensuring seller reliability was their biggest need.

Traceability and certification

Allan Uldahl Riis, the Director of Commercial Strategic Programmes at Satair, isn't surprised that buyers were concerned about reliability. He says certification and traceability are incredibly important in the aviation industry.

“Buyers want to know that they are getting a genuine, certified part. And when they’re buying used parts, they want to be able to see a record of how it’s been used and copies of any applicable repair reports,” Riis says. 

“We encourage all of the sellers who use Satair Market to make all of the paperwork related to their parts easily available for interested buyers.”

Frightening truth of ghost listings

Some digital marketplaces have a problem with what are known as ghost listings. These are parts that a buyer lists as having in stock when in reality they don’t have it. Either they don’t have it at all, or they can only access it through a partner once an order is placed.

“This can be very frustrating for buyers – especially if they don’t have any buffer stock. They spend a lot of time and resources looking for the part, and again entering into a dialogue with the seller, only to discover that the part was never actually available,” Riis explains.

The Satair Market only offers parts from Satair’s own stock or from approved third-party sellers. While Satair cannot force sellers to upload their traceability documents, Riis says the vast majority of them do it voluntarily.

Book a meeting to learn more about Satair Marketplace

Transparency between buyer and seller

Some 36 percent of respondents identified paperwork and certification as their biggest buyer pain point, but pricing concerns weren’t too far behind with 23 percent of buyers saying it can be difficult to get the parts they need for the right price.

Satair Market allows for a transparent end-to-end process between buyers and approved third-party sellers. It's easy to search and find the needed part and to know exactly what they are getting because they can see photos of the part, check its serial number and find applicable test reports. 

Sellers can choose to either display the price of a part upfront or allow interested buyers to request a quote. Buyers can also choose to place a bid for a part – even if there is a listed price.

Buyers can follow the status of their bid and, if it is accepted, they can also track their order all the way through to delivery. If they need to contact the seller about anything related to the process, they can do so directly through Satair Market.

For a fair market value

Riis said these open lines of communication help create transparency for both sides. And this also extends to pricing. Because both buyers and sellers can get an easy overview of supply and demand, both sides are also able to determine the fair market value of specific parts.

“Particularly when it comes to non-factory new parts, the price will be very much dependent on what is out in the market. If there is plenty available, the price will go down,” he says. 

“Being able to easily determine the fair market value keeps buyers from paying too much and also lets sellers take advantage of market scarcity to increase their margins."

Addresses post-pandemic labour shortages

The ability to easily compare prices is especially important for buyers in light of the cash flow and staffing challenges created by the pandemic. Many airlines have shifted to buying parts ad hoc rather than in bulk, but at the same time, there have been job losses within procurement. 

So buyers now often have more urgent parts needs, but fewer resources to address them. A digital marketplace, which provides easy comparison shopping and facilitates some of the correspondence between buyer and seller, can help address both issues.

“Digital marketplaces enhance a buyer’s ability to make an analysis, whereas with a more manual buying process, it’s very difficult to get an accurate overview of all the alternatives from hundreds of potential suppliers,” Riis says. 

“A marketplace that easily connects the systems of the buyers and sellers eliminates a lot of manual, time-consuming work.”