February 2006 
Volume 04, Issue 9 
Cover Story

Initiative: Global Sourcing

Initiative: Global SourcingObjective: To take greater advantage of Boeing's economies of scale and move best practices farther into the supply chain

The Global Sourcing initiative aims to capitalize on economies of scale and to move best practices farther into the supply chain. Leading the initiative are corporate sponsor Jim Albaugh, president and CEO, Integrated Defense Systems, and leader Norma Clayton, from IDS. Here are their insights.

Q: What's the impetus for this initiative?

Albaugh: The objective is to optimize our supply chain to improve value to our customers. We need to hold both the internal factories that we run and the external factories that our partners run to the same level of performance, providing both of them with the support, tools and information they need to be successful. By doing so we can improve our competitiveness and better satisfy our customers. This will all translate ultimately into growth and productivity for Boeing. Norma is going to provide great leadership for this initiative.

Clayton: Boeing has seen the role of its suppliers evolve. They do more than simply provide components. Because Boeing is more focused on skills like integrating large components and systems and providing total lifecycle support, the role of the supplier has become even more critical. So it makes sense that we look to share best practices with our suppliers and drive Lean principles through their value chains, as well as throughout Boeing.

Global Sourcing: At the helm

Jim Albaugh

Corporate sponsor: Jim Albaugh, president and CEO, Integrated Defense Systems

Norma Clayton

Leader: Norma Clayton, from Integrated Defense Systems

Q: When people think about the supply chain in the aerospace business, they usually think about factory work. Does this initiative matter to teams in other locations?

Albaugh: Absolutely. An employee's work location, whether it's on or off the shop floor, does not dictate the level of importance of supply chain management and the value Global Sourcing brings to Boeing. There's a lot that goes into supply chain management, from how we write requirements, the kinds of specifications we flow down, how we nest requirements to leverage our purchases, to how we provide oversight to our suppliers. We need to focus on all of these areas.

Q: Is this initiative's work based on meeting a specific goal or schedule?

Albaugh: Norma and the Supplier Management Process Council are working on establishing goals and objectives, as well as metrics by which we can measure our progress. In the meantime, all of us who interact directly with suppliers can help by continually improving how we work with them every day.

Q: What can Boeing employees do to support this initiative?

Albaugh: Boeing's many impressive achievements have stemmed from the great ideas of its people. That fact holds true here. We can all support this initiative by thinking of what needs to be done to improve the way we work with our suppliers. Then we should work with Norma and her colleagues on this initiative to get these improvements and efficiencies put in place.


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