Airplane part supplier GE Aviation has launched its TRUEEngine blockchain network via Microsoft Azure. According to Coindesk, the ledger, which is based on Ethereum, will help it track and trace the supply line.
It joins a similar announcement from JP Morgan Chase earlier in the month, which was the first company to launch a blockchain ledger on Azure. In airlines, the quality and reliability of parts it's obviously a huge concern, and GE Aviation's network should provide more peace of mind.
Unlike car parts, airplane engines change hands regularly over their lifetime. GE estimates 60% move around, which can make keeping track of their journey difficult. Currently, the company provides jet engines to approximately 60% of the global airline industry, so quality control could not be more important. As well as commercial airlines, it provides parts to the military.
“Our vision is being able to trace parts as they are manufactured and the engine when it's shipped. Then how that engine performs in the field, when to repair it and then re-enter it into the field,” said GE Aviation blockchain CTO David Havera. “If you think about it, a quality event in the aircraft engine industry is catastrophic. And to research that takes months of manual time. Driving efficiencies, accountability and visibility into the process of making an engine will make us all safer.”
parts that cannot be certified can also not be resold, so such a system should save the company money. GE says it has tens of millions of inventory sitting in its warehouse from the past 20 years because of this issue.
“So what we have done brings cost optimization and significant safety improvement, but now we are exposing a new business model,” said Microsoft's Mike Walker, senior director of applied innovation and digital transformation. “We are creating a profit center for what I lovingly referred to as ‘the boneyard' in Texas, where essentially they put all these parts where they don't have the GE Aviation genuine paperwork – and you can do that for all the other boneyards out there, too.”
However, though this is GE's solution, it will be sharing it with others in the future. Specifically, those who buy their engines, such as Delta and BA. GE will be rolling the Azure blockchain solution to four airlines, with more planned for the future.