Front Page
Boeing Frontiers
December 2003/January 2004
Volume 02, Issue 08
Boeing Frontiers
Special Features

Where parts play a starring role

A look at CAS' mammoth Seattle Distribution Center

Photos by Ken DeJarlais

The Seattle Distribution Center plays a key role in helping Commercial Aviation Services support its customers. Located near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the SDC is a 700,000-square-foot facility that houses more than 250,000 different parts and handles almost 1 million orders annually. Other Commercial Airplanes spare parts distribution centers are located in Seattle, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Singapore, Beijing and London, as well as Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Their strategic locations minimize shipping costs for customers and reduce the time it takes for customers to receive a Boeing spare part.


A Boeing airline customer orders spare parts through the Boeing PART Page, which is housed on the Boeing Web. The Boeing PART Page is used by more than 1,000 customers and handles more than 700,000 transactions each month. In this situation, the customer needs two airplane parts for an "airplane on ground," an aircraft that cannot fly until repairs are made. AOG parts are ready for shipment in two hours or less, which allows Boeing customers to get their airplanes back into service as quickly as possible. Where parts play a starring role
Where parts play a starring role The first spare part order is for a part that is housed in the small parts carousel. The order from the customer comes directly to the carousel operator. In this instance, the operator will locate the part and place it, with the associated paperwork, on the automated conveyor system. The conveyor will deliver the part to Dispatch AOG for immediate handling. The conveyor travels through all parts of the Center and, in total, is over two miles in length.
The conveyor delivers the part to Dispatch AOG. The dispatcher packages the part, processes the paperwork, notifies the customer that the part is on its way, then moves the part over to the shipping area for loading. Where parts play a starring role
Where parts play a starring role Meanwhile, an order for a large part from the same customer comes into the high-bay area, which houses larger airplane parts. The operator, using a hybrid machine, retrieves the part from the high-bay shelves and loads it onto a forklift machine for transport to the packaging area.
Depending on the size and weight of the spare part, a wooden crate or cardboard box is constructed. In this case, the part is a thrust-reverser sleeve, and a wooden crate is built to house and safely ship the part to the customer. Each year, the Seattle Distribution Center manufactures wooden crates requiring enough plywood to cover 19 U.S. football fields. Where parts play a starring role
Where parts play a starring role All packaged parts are moved to the shipping area, where workers place them on trucks for delivery to the customer-in the case of an AOG part in less than two hours.
These parts can be picked up by the customer, delivered to freight-forwarding facilities and air carriers by Boeing, or routed through several cargo-handling companies in the region.   Where parts play a starring role
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