We've been telling you about Boeing's disastrous supply chain convolutions with the 787 Dreamliner for years, and over the past several months it has seemed like they have learned the lesson. The company has even gone so far as to buy the operations of one of their suppliers in South Carolina. Another interesting aspect of that purchase is that the employees of that supplier recently voted to decertify their union, thereby making their operation a very attractive candidate to be Boeing's second major full assembly operation.
The New York Times recently had a piece on Boeing and the pain experienced by outsourcing massive portions of design and subassembly manufacturing.
Boeing acknowledges that the problems have sorely tested the patience of suppliers and customers, and damaged its credibility. Already, 60 orders have been canceled, partly because of the delay.
The company’s chief, W. James McNerney Jr., concedes that Boeing lost control of the process by farming out more design and production work than ever and not keeping close tabs on suppliers. He says the company is retaking control.
But did they really learn a lesson?
Hmmm… that's a little worrisome, depending on how you interpret that statement.
who led the commercial division. He plans to retire at year-end and was
replaced in the division post on Tuesday by Mr. Albaugh. “Clearly, we
made some poor judgment calls in terms of what people’s capabilities
That's an even more worrisome attitude. "… people's capabilities"? Is Mr. Carson implying that the blame lies with employees at outsourcing suppliers? Unless he really means Boeing executives as the "people" then he's just a tad off base.
As always I continue to wish Boeing the best of luck. I admire companies that take big risks with new technologies, such as what Boeing is doing with carbon fiber components. But a little more appreciation for creating value for the customer and respect for people would be beneficial.
Mark Graban says
If people learn from mistakes, Boeing sure seems to be doing a lot of learning!
I think P-D-C-A is not an excuse to just go make any mistake. You need to take well thought out, calculated risks… Boeing seems to have taken huge risks, then they say “well, it’s worth it because we learned from it.”
Jumping off a tall building without a parachute isn’t a worthwhile “learning experience,” I’d say.
W. Halings says
Boeing established suppliers as Independent sources with minimal oversight. Difficulity comes from mixing Foriegn Cultures with Std USA expected morality. Boeing took on the task of TEACHING to forigners TRUTH, HONESTY AND COMMUNICATION. A Monumental undertaking. They failed. Most of this was to garner support from customers. The other motive was to escape their voracious UNIONS. It was a throw of the dice to avoid going out of the country entirely or going out of business. Air bus will follow and gain from the suppliers that learned.
Jim Fernandez says
If what W. Halings said (above) is true; about unions, gaining foreign customer support and to keep from going out of business. Then this shows that there is always more to the story besides simply following or not following good Lean supply chain principles.