Thread: Boeing 787
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Old 11-12-2010, 12:59 PM   #23
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Boeing 787

Tom wrote--" McNerney was an "internal hire" from the Boeing Board whre he had served from 2001 to 2005 before being nominated as CEO. So you are right, he was not hired back, he was hired internally and from the outside"

I will respond to this here, but I suggest that if we want to continue this discussion that we move it to OTDE before John Baker puts a note in our permanent records that we have been breaking TrawlerForum posting rules.

Jim McNerney was named to the Boeing board of directors as you say. When the board finally decided to "retire" Phil Condit their first choice for CEO was Jim. However he had just accepted the CEO position at 3M and he felt that he owed that company at least a period of service. That was when we hired Stonecipher out of retirement. (We'd inherited Stonecipher when we merged with McDonnell-Douglas). When he "retired" again, at that point the board was able to persuade Jim to leave 3M and take over the CEO position at Boeing.

The 787 has been a learning experience for the whole industry, I think. The pessimistic view is that Boeing screwed up big time and has tarnished its reputation. A more optimistic view, perhaps, is that this industry, like every industry, has to continuously advance which it does by trying new things. Some things work and some don't. The 787 program tried something very ambitious that didn't work out so well. There are a zillion reasons why the risk-sharing concept hasn't worked out as planned, from some fundamentally flawed reasons for doing it in the first place to poor performance from suppliers and risk-sharing partners who had promised better.* But, as I mentioned before, if the company and the industry has learned a big lesson about how not to do something, it could result in a stronger company and industry down the road.

My own theory, based on a lot of things, is that there has been far too much focus put on the process and not enough put on the product.* I believe this is the fundamental problem behind almost almost everything undertaken today and is why projects from light rail systems to new sewage treatmant plants to new airplanes get bogged down in technical problems, schedule problems, quality problems, and massive cost over-runs.

You have to have processes to get anything done, be it design and build a boat to designing and building an airliner.* But on the 777 program, for example, the focus never strayed from the product.* If a problem couldn't be solved with the processes in place, the processes were changed, or if time was of the essence, the processes were abandonned altogether and the engineers, flight test people, or whoever, simply focused on finding and fixing the problem.* Today, I think too much effort and time is spent trying to use the approved, cast-in-stone process to solve a problem, even if the process isn't really matched to the problem.

I would be curious to know if you have found anything like this to be the case in your own industry? (If you respond, put it in OTDE.)

All I know about the Airbus electrical issue is probably the same information you have read.* What I read is that there have been instances of the primary flight display shutting off without warning.* Not a good thing to have happen on approach in dicey weather conditions. Of course, the flight displays, control computers, etc. are not made by the airframe manufacturers.* In many cases Boeing and Airbus use components from the same supplier.* I have not heard that similar problems have occurred on Boeing planes, but I'm sure we have people who are very, very interested in what comes out of all this.

-- Edited by Marin on Friday 12th of November 2010 03:46:00 PM
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