December 2004/January 2005
Volume 03, Issue 8
DELIVERING ON OUR COMMITMENTS
Alan Mulally reviews 2004, looks ahead to next year
BY CHARLES BICKERS
Boeing Frontiers recently sat down with Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Alan Mulally to review 2004's accomplishments and look at the year ahead. Mulally covered a wide range of topics, including the gradual recovery of the global airline industry, competition with Airbus, upcoming negotiations with Boeing's largest labor unions and the outlook for employment growth in 2005.
The Next-Generation 737 claimed another record this fall when employees in the Renton, Wash., factory reduced final assembly time to 12 days. In addition to being the fastest-selling and fastest-delivered jet airplane, the 737 is now the fastest-assembled large commercial jet in history, thanks to Lean manufacturing efforts.
The achievement is impressive considering flow time in Final Assembly five years ago was 22 days.
"But we can't afford to rest on our laurels," said Helene Michael, 737 factory superintendent. "Even Airbus has realized the importance of a nimble and reliable production system. They are starting to focus on Lean to reduce final assembly flow time of the competing A320."
Great in the North
With a relentless focus on providing greater value through innovation and the transformation of its production systems, Boeing Winnipeg is working to become a world leader in the development, design and manufacture of structural composites. Today, 900 employees build composite products for Boeing's Next-Generation 737 and 747, 767 and 777 jetliners, including engine strut forward and aft fairings, wing-to-body fairings, thrust reverser block doors, landing gear doors, bullnose fairings, cascade rings, and miscellaneous ducts and chines.
In November 2003, Winnipeg was selected as a major structures partner to provide lifecycle support for the Boeing 7E7 Dreamliner. Responsibilities include the design, manufacturing and support of the wing-to-body fairing, main landing gear doors, as well as the crown and vertical fin fairings. Additionally, the Winnipeg site holds manufacturing responsibility for the forward and aft pylon fairings for engines provided by Rolls-Royce and GE for 7E7 customers.
'Cooperation is essential'
This is why Commercial Airplanes and Integrated Defense Systems have included Nadcapan industry-managed, not-for-profit programas part of a joint Boeing strategy for the approval and oversight of companies that perform special processing of Boeing's products. This oversight helps ensure quality and allows Boeing to focus on its primary role as a large-scale systems integrator.
History goes with them
An airplane mechanic walks through a plane parked at an airport while watching the screen on a handheld device. He's receiving status reports from key airplane components, including their maintenance history and required repair schedule. Noticing that a part is nearly ready for replacement, he contacts the repair shop at the plane's next destination so mechanics there can ensure there's a new part on hand and can install it when the plane arrives.
Sound like science fiction? This scenario is close to becoming reality. Radio frequency identification tags will store and transmit information about a part: manufacture date, part number, hours in service, repair and modification historyamong other information.
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