May 2006 
Volume 05, Issue 1 
Leadership Message

Lean+ helps us take advantage of our bright future

Alan Mulally
Executive vice president, The Boeing Company
Boeing companywide sponsor, Lean+ initiative
President and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Alan MulallyRight now, Boeing may be in the best position we've ever been in.

Thanks to everyone's hard work, Integrated Defense Systems has an industry-leading backlog and Commercial Airplanes is posting record orders. We've improved quality and productivity, and shared some of these gains with our customers to win new business. Our stock price shows that investors really value our plan.

Now we need to bring this plan home, on time and on cost. That requires everyone to stay focused on increasing productivity so we'll deliver on all the commitments we've made to customers.

Our four companywide initiatives are tools to enable that.

Jim Albaugh (sponsor of the Global Sourcing initiative), James Bell (Internal Services Productivity sponsor), Jim Jamieson (Development Process Excellence sponsor) and I (Lean+ sponsor) are working together to incorporate all four initiatives into the daily operating rhythm of our organizations.

All the initiatives are interconnected, with Lean being the foundation of all four.

We already know about Lean since we've been on this journey for more than a decade. We've increased quality and productivity by relentlessly eliminating waste and focusing on continuous quality improvement. Working with our supplier partners and using our resources more effectively, we've done great things, such as reduce 737 final-assembly time by 50 percent since 1999 and decrease total cost for the C-17 Globemaster III by 25 percent since 2002.

Now we intend to take Lean to the next level through the Lean+ initiative by replicating and leveraging these successes throughout Boeing, across our supply chain and throughout our customer base. Techniques that have worked beautifully in factories will produce even greater results as they move into office areas and are embraced by our business partners.

An excellent example of replicating Lean successes is what we've done with moving assembly lines across the company. We started with the 717 and built upon that with the Next-Generation 737. Now we're expanding this concept by transforming 777 production to include a moving line, beginning with systems installation.

This concept is also well in place at IDS, where pulse production (the precursor to moving assembly lines) is being used for the F/A-18, the Apache, the V-22, the Chinook and major subassemblies such as C-17 engine pylons. This is increasing productivity and lowering costs on these key programs.

Alan Mulally quoteThese types of improvements can reach far beyond our factories. The sponsors of our four initiatives encourage everyone to find ways to apply Lean tools and principles to our daily work, and create the greatest competitive advantage for Boeing. Everyone should establish targets for eliminating rework, improving flow time, and increasing quality and productivity. This is how we'll improve QCDSM (Quality, Cost, Delivery, Safety and Morale) and embed Lean into the way we conduct business every day.

Remember, these initiatives aren't a short-term effort. They're an expansion of things we've already learned about, are already doing and will continue to do. As we grow and become more productive, our competition is only going to get more aggressive. So we'll remain focused on continuously improving Boeing every year, forever, making the journey fun along the way.

At Boeing we do a lot of big things, but it kind of comes down to doing a few things really, really well. Using these initiatives, we'll continue improving quality and productivity, meet all the commitments we've made and build on the momentum we gained in 2005. That will generate a bright and prosperous future for all of us.


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