If you had a few billion riding on a project, what would you say if the following happened? Would you still be employed?
May 2007: One of the smallest and cheapest parts on The Boeing Co.'s 787
Dreamliner could become its Achilles' heel as the company considers
production rates to meet growing demand. The potential problem is a critical shortage of fasteners, which are used to hold airplane structures together.
July 2008: Earlier this month, the fuselage of the fourth 787 test plane was
damaged when a worker at key supplier Alenia North America reportedly
used the wrong fasteners. The aircraft is now expected to arrive in
Everett, Wash., for final assembly two to three weeks later than
November 2008: In a setback that could cause more delays to ripple through its
troubled 787 Dreamliner program, Boeing Co. said Tuesday that it needs
to replace thousands of improperly installed fasteners on the first of
the new jets before they can be flown.
Yes, and you don't even need a Dreamlifter to move fasteners around. What happened… this time?
Improper instructions. Installed primarily by suppliers. Sigh… So if those components were being made at nearby facilities in Everett instead of at the four corners of the globe, what would the impact have been? Would it have happened in the first place? Unfortunately those nearby facilities no longer exist, nor do the tens of thousands of workers with hundreds of thousands of years of experience and knowledge.
But on the balance sheet it still looks like labor costs are lower thanks to this new outsourcing strategy. But total true cost? What is the impact of a few Dreamlifters and a bazillion incorrect fasteners?
Many hold Boeing up as an example of lean manufacturing. We've already demonstrated that they don't really understand the supply chain and total cost aspects of lean and the respect for people pillar of lean. Someone should spend a few minutes telling them about standard work and root cause analysis as well.
Mark Graban says
Cutting corners on training employees… that’s a different blunder than poor supply chain design.
Shame on Boeing and the suppliers if the instructions (standardized work) were unclear, poorly written, or not communicated to workers.
If the student has learned, the instructor hasn’t taught!!!
Jason Grijzen says
I’d rag on Boeing about this topic if it hadn’t happened to me once. I was designing utility equipment at the time, and I needed a floor formed for a large mobile crane. The material for the floor was too large to fit in our press brake so I jobbed it out to the company that was selling us the material. I had a brain-fart on the BOM and listed one critical dimension incorrectly. (the thickness, at 3/8″ instead of 3/16″) When that floor came in we could hardly move it around it was so heavy. If we had been able to form that floor in our shop one of the employees who’s been building floors for years would have noticed the error and taken the correct action. But as it was jobbed out, what was ordered was what arrived. It became a monument to my stupidity as we eventually made it into a rather large table. I would cringe every time I walked past that thing.