XML brings aero savings

Pratt & Whitney, the world's largest aero engine manufacturer, is to implement an XML-based parts ordering system that could provide huge savings in staff time

Pratt & Whitney, the world's largest aero engine manufacturer, is to implement an XML-based parts ordering system that could provide huge savings in staff time, the company said last week.

The XML-based system from Enigma will allow customers to view Pratt & Whitney parts catalogues online. Visitors to the site will also be able to click on any part in the catalogues to access further information such as technical manuals and "pedigree information" - used spare part histories common in the aerospace industry.

A further click generates an XML file which is sent to the back office for order processing.

David Brantner, director of e-business for Pratt & Whitney, said, "This represents a dramatic change in productivity for our customer support staff.

"Until now, we had a Web site but this was not linked to background information. And sales transactions were carried out by electronic data interchange Searching for pedigree information, in particular, was very time consuming for our support staff.

"There will be no great savings from the IT point of view - the big savings will come in business processes. The big challenge is for the sales support staff to learn to work in a different way."

Graham Wylie, marketing manager Europe for Enigma, outlined the advantages of an XML-based system. "With XML we can build data from many sources into one format viewable by all in real time."

Pratt & Whitney will begin the initial implementation in December, with a full roll-out expected by April next year.

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