Boeing Frontiers
May 2002 
Volume 01, Issue 01 
Top Stories Inside Quick Takes Site Tools
Q and A
ALAN MULALLY, President and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Alan MulallyFrom standing-room-only town hall meetings to testimony before the Washington State legislature—even fielding calls on drive-time Seattle talk radio—Alan Mulally is leading an open discussion about the future of his business and how he sees each member of the Boeing Commercial Airplanes team participating in its ongoing transformation. Here’s what Mulally recently told Boeing Frontiers about his efforts.

Q: What is driving the need for this discussion and the case for change at Commercial Airplanes?

A: In our rapidly changing global economy, the companies that change and adapt will survive, grow and prosper. Those that do not will become less relevant. Boeing Commercial Airplanes has a great history and brand, and we are uniquely positioned and capable of adapting and creating an exciting future with new opportunities. We have come so far in the last few years. We are now accelerating our transformation and relevancy, and we need and want everyone involved to be successful.

Q: What do you believe is the state of Boeing Commercial Airplanes as a business today?

A: We have improved our business plan performance dramatically over the last few years: customer relations, quality, cycle time, productivity, financial performance, and teamwork have all improved. We have earned our right to take the next steps to further transform our business and accomplish our vision of “people working together as a global enterprise for aerospace leadership.” Our vision points the way and provides us a clear roadmap to guide our transformation.

Q: When you articulate the Boeing vision in various settings, you are very clear about the compelling need to continue developing a global team. Why?

A: Further developing our global enterprise enables us to align our business with our customers businesses and include global talent, innovation and capital in our business plans. Thirty-three percent of our sales are to our customers in the Americas. Thirty-three percent of our sales are to our customers in Europe and Africa and the Middle East. Thirty-three percent of our sales are to our customers in the Asia-Pacific part of our world. We are a global company and this has been a key to our success in the past, and we want to enhance our global operations to service our customers going forward. Sixty-seven percent of the dollar value of our products and services is contributed by our partners and suppliers around the world. We plan to keep focusing on our vision and core competencies of detailed customer knowledge and focus, large-scale system integration, and a lean global enterprise.

Q: You frequently talk about including “everyone” in developing and executing your business plan. What specifically are you asking Commercial Airplanes employees to do?

A: First, we are the only ones who can create our vision. We must believe that our vision promises an ever-increasing competitive Boeing that can adapt to our changing world and prosper going forward. Then we must commit our talents and energy to transforming Boeing from where we are to our vision. Second, this transformation means change for each of us. We will be a smaller Boeing as we focus on large-scale system integration. We will have moving airplane production lines with streamlined flow of larger subassemblies that improve our quality, and productivity. We will work closer with our partners and suppliers to align ourselves with our global customers to include innovation, financing, and participation. And fourth, we will be improving our individual and teamwork skills each year and forever. Our vision expects and endorses change to continuously improve. And embracing change and moving forward is the most important decision that we each must make.

Q: How do you answer the question “what’s in it for me” for employees who are anxious about change?

A: First, our future career opportunities start and end with Boeing Commercial Airplanes improving its products and services each year, forever. Second, a lean global enterprise led by a smaller more focused BCA will be better for everyone involved. Our partners and suppliers can support more customers and stabilize their business and employment. And a smaller, more-focused Boeing Commercial Airplanes will be more stable and productive through the global economic cycles.

Q: You and your leadership team have committed lots of personal time and energy to this subject. Why?

A: It is so important that we all continue to have this discussion about our future, our vision and our core competencies: where we are, where we are going, and how each of us can help, adapt, grow and move forward. We are the leaders in commercial airplanes because our customers prefer our products and services. But, as each of us knows, our customers have choices. And I believe that creating our vision will enable us to deliver better value to our customers so that they continue to prefer Boeing in the future.

Complete information on the Commercial Airplanes business plan is available on a new Web site at

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