The supply chain industry is evolving at a significant rate. Previously, companies have experienced difficulties managing their supply chains due to the lack of tracking capabilities and transparency.
Companies can solve these issues and maximize efficiency in their supply chain by using blockchain technology. It can potentially eliminate many common problems viz., product counterfeiting, or disputes over payment terms among suppliers and customers.
Industry experts predict that 2022 will be an important year for this emerging trend; it marks when significant players within the industry will adopt blockchain-based systems into their operations on a large scale because they see its benefits firsthand.
For businesses to stay competitive globally, they must find innovative ways to implement blockchain tech into their supply chain operations. This is where 14bis Supply Tracking https://www.14bis.aero/enters the stage.
Based in Burlington, Massachusetts, 14bis Supply Tracking provides innovative, trustworthy, and comprehensive supply chain and logistics solutions to the Aerospace and Defense industries.
In the following interview, Eleanor Mitch, the Co-founder and CEO, sheds light on the current landscape of the supply chain industry, how 14bis Supply Tracking continues to strengthen its foothold, and her vision for the company’s future.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Please brief our audience about your company, its USPs, and its journey so far as a leading name in the aerospace tech niche.
14bis Supply Tracking (14bis) is a Deep Tech company founded in 2017 and has focused on its beachhead market Aerospace and Defense to provide digital, physical, and hybrid asset tracking software products. 14bis started by exhibiting at the 2017 Paris Air Show in the first-ever Start-up Showcase. From that, the company was selected for its tracking products to participate in the first cohort of the Air Force’s Tech Accelerator with Techstars.
Winning multiple awards (SAP and Lufthansa Group Supplier Award, Defense TechConnect, MassVentures START), the company has secured commercial and defense contracts with key organizations. Now, in 2021, 14bis has three products available to customers: Maintenance and Reliability Tracker, Supply Chain and Logistics Tracker and a Connector product.
Tell us about your range of offerings which make your company a symbol of excellent quality and service.
Based in Burlington, MA (USA), 14bis software products track digital, physical, and hybrid assets, providing interoperability (hardware and software agnostic). Customers receive complete and secure asset chain-of-custody over disparate software systems as data flows securely, eliminating data gaps and provides actionable knowledge and insight. Digital assets can be different data formats and types (semi-structured, structured, and unstructured data).
14bis asset tracking products provide data analytics with enhanced identity management and data security across heterogeneous environments. At present, 14bis products provide an 80% savings in time spent updating data between systems and inputting paper-based documentation data alone. Results: streamlined business processes and informed decision-making with reliable, accurate data and analytics.
Considering the current pandemic and its impact on global economies, what challenges did you and your team face during the initial phase of the pandemic, and how did you pivot your operations to overcome those challenges?
So many commercial businesses had to shift to the work from home (WFH) model, so some contracts were stalled as we all tried to sort out how to continue the business. Though working in software, we were not inordinately challenged by the pandemic and WFH shift. We spent the pandemic focussing on maintaining excellence for our existing customers and were able to take advantage of the commuting time saved by WFH to advance on building our products.
A major advantage of the shift from in-person to virtual we experienced was in trade shows, engagement, and networking opportunities to virtual attendance. It has allowed us to expand our presence at numerous webinars and online events. Allowing us to build relationships previously constrained by the availability of resources. It has allowed larger access for engagement with industry, leaders, and potential clientele not as easily accessible pre- pandemic.
Being an experienced leader, share your opinion on why the adoption of modern technologies is necessary for the aerospace industry and how you have leveraged these technologies to deliver comprehensive services to your clientele?
Modern technologies can help the aviation industry operations, security and increase the market opportunity for ecosystem participants. According to Oliver Wyman’s 2021 “GLOBAL FLEET AND MRO MARKET FORECAST 2021-2031”. The aviation industry is going to have to spend about ten years catching up to pre-COVID levels. For this reason, aviation must seek opportunities in modern technologies to drive growth and optimize processes and security. In addition, advances in autonomous vehicles will open new opportunities for new actors that may be capitalized on.
As a deep tech company leveraging blockchain technology and analytics, we see an opportunity for new market players. We have focused on building products and solving core customer problems to help our customers access new insights from secure, verifiable data.
Modern technologies are the crux of our product development and business, so we are true believers in the ability to leverage them for the benefit of the aviation industry. However, we also spend a great deal of time understanding and ensure the usability of our products. After all, just having shiny new tech won’t solve core behavioral or process issues without the ability to help adoption and make it easy for users to use and comply with requirements.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the aerospace tech niche?
Spend the time speaking with people in operations to understand how things work and what real needs are. It is great to be excellent at a certain technology; however, without a deep understanding of user needs, the technology will not provide the promised benefits.
How do you envision scaling your company’s operations and offerings in 2022?
We have started scaling existing products for Defense and Aerospace clients and are planning to launch another product by Q1 2022. We received investment from Mass Ventures (START Award) in addition to existing contract renewals, so we are currently hiring more talent to strengthen our operations capabilities to continuously support or grow. Our goal is to provide a variety of products that meet core end-user needs. Our core geographies are the US, Europe, and Brazil.
About the Leader
Eleanor is an entrepreneur, business strategist, and governance and digital law expert. Her extensive international experience spans sectors and verticals from technology to sustainability to government.
Among Eleanor’s many academic achievements, she is an alumna of the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Alumni Advisory Group of the Wharton Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL); a Fulbright U.S. Scholar as an invited professor and researcher; and has been a Tutor for Oxford University’s Blockchain Strategy Programme of the Saïd Business School. Eleanor speaks French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese alongside her native English.
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