DRS Technologies has opened what it has dubbed "the Amazon.com" for military spare parts, launching a website meant to make ordering a new nozzle or valve as easy as buying movies online.
October 8, 2015 Inside Defense--DRS Technologies has opened what it has dubbed "the Amazon.com" for military spare parts, launching a website meant to make ordering a new nozzle or valve as easy as buying movies online.
DRS Direct, as the site is called, looks like a typical online shopping site, except instead of selling sweatshirts or books, it sells motor condenser fans, control boards and compressors.
"We're selling our spare parts online," Andrea Krumpelman, who handles business development at DRS, told InsideDefense.com this week. "We don't believe anyone else out there is doing it."
The idea for the site was submitted through an innovation contest held by the company's environmental systems business, she said. The group who came up with the idea "won by leaps and bounds," Krumpelman added.
The site went live about a year ago, and DRS has been monitoring it since, seeking ways to expand the products it offers and the customers who use it. (The company declined to say how many sales have been made through the site.)
While anyone can go to the site and make a purchase, the sale is not completed until DRS runs it through its processes, including any applicable International Traffic in Arms Regulations or controlled information restrictions.
Krumpelman and Wade Milek, senior business development manager at DRS, told InsideDefense.com that the site improves efficiency for both the customer and DRS.
DRS Direct streamlines the company's buying processes and cuts down on the paperwork and the delivery time, Milek said. It also can make finding the right part easier for the customer, he said.
Still, they acknowledged that the technology represents a cultural change for the military, which is accustomed to ordering parts by phone. Additionally, Krumpelman said the site requires a credit card, which not all customers typically use for their purchases.
"We're kind of shifting the paradigm," she said.
However, Milek said the company sees significant opportunity in DRS Direct, noting that other materials, such as technical information, could be distributed this way.
"It's opening up more ideas for how to leverage the technology," he said.
The consumer world has "proven this is the most efficient way," Milek said. The "military eventually will get to these kinds of practices." -- Marjorie Censer