Boeing Frontiers
July 2002 
Volume 01, Issue 03 
Top Stories Inside Quick Takes Site Tools
New and Notable

'Customer-in' approach aids Tulsa production

American Airlines and Boeing employees in Tulsa, Okla., recently rolled up their sleeves and worked side by side on three simultaneous Boeing-hosted Accelerated Improvement Workshops. Their aim: to redesign the 777 slat production process. Slats are a wing high-lift system that extends from the wing's leading edge during takeoff and landing.

777 slat moving lineBoeing partnered with American Airlines to take a closer look at the 777 slat moving line production system — and share ideas and best practices. The result? American Airlines received shorter lead times for system components, while Boeing fostered a stronger working relationship with a major customer.

Numerous cross-functional teams and "Lean" production tools were used in the redesign, which looked at the production process from parts procurement through manufacturing-build and customer distribution, according to Darrell Pulliam, workshop participant and Tulsa site Lean Industrial Engineering manager. Key aspects of the revised slat production system are point-of-manufacture parts delivery; point-of-use parts, tools and perishables; assembly on a moving line; and co-located support services, Pulliam said.

During the Accelerated Improvement Workshops, the focus was on developing a point-of-use kitting process, conceptualizing and simulating moving line utilities access, and creating standard final assembly operations, Pulliam said.

The gains made by the three teams were significant. For example: setup time was slashed from 631 minutes to 4 minutes, cycle time was reduced by 57 percent to 166 minutes, and inventory queues were cut from eight to two, according to Pulliam.

Something e-legal is waiting for you

Not everyone is a legal expert — especially when it comes to the often-complex areas of law that impact Boeing activities.

But a "legal-eagle" ally is just a click of the mouse away.

Boeing's law department, in an effort to help employees identify issues before they become compliance mistakes, has re-launched the Boeing eLegal Education Network with an improved version that is easier to use and has improved content.

The Web-based training and information resource is designed to assist employees in identifying key compliance areas and to provide options on how best to manage them. The site houses training modules, hosts a frequently asked questions area, and provides links to the most relevant company policies and procedures.

In all there are 25 training modules on key business topics, including export control, insider trading, government contracts, workplace harassment and competition.

"Compliance issues touch all aspects of the company, and a good understanding of those risk areas can help us run our programs more competitively and effectively," said Doug Bain, Boeing's general counsel. "The eLegal Education Network is user friendly and can help employees better understand compliance rules, evaluate risks, and prompt those with questions or concerns to seek appropriate advice."

Bain said even the best intentions can turn sour if compliance rules are not followed. He gave Frontiers the following examples of compliance breaches that actually happened:

In one instance, two longtime Boeing employees needlessly used data belonging to a competitor, which resulted in the company's having to withdraw from a valuable competition in which it already held a commanding lead. In another incident, an employee unwittingly agreed to a release-of-claims that undermined the contractual basis for the company's substantial claim against the government.

"These events are not isolated occurrences," said Bain. "Such significant mistakes can seriously impact the company, and can even affect those employees involved. Spending 15 minutes a week to learn about issues like the Truth in Negotiations Act and Unfair Business Practices is an excellent investment and far less costly than the alternative," said Bain.

Boeing employees can find their legal ally, The Boeing eLegal Education Network, on the company's internal Web at The first-time-user password is boeing1.


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