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2002 Speeches

Nicole W. Piasecki

VP - Marketing and Business Strategy

Boeing Commercial Airplanes

"Longer Range 747 & 777 Event"

Longer Range 747 & 777 Event

Seattle, Washington

February 04, 2002

Good evening. I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome you to Seattle and to this event. It's an honor to meet such a distinguished group. I'm grateful to have this opportunity to get to know more of you, and to share a little of myself, talk about our vision for the future of air travel, and discuss the ways that Boeing expects to pursue our vision in the years ahead.

At the same time, I know you have a vision too-and part of that vision involves a brewery tour and dinner. So I'll keep my remarks as brief as possible. It's never a good idea to get too verbose in a room full of hungry, thirsty people. I may be brave, but I am not foolish.

I'd like to start tonight by sharing a dream I had over the weekend-a dream about the way we travel and want to travel. I know my dream must be a direct result of the vision we all share at Boeing. So I want to share my dream with you tonight-and since deciding to share my dream meant changing my remarks completely over the weekend, I hope you'll forgive me for relying on my written notes to tell the story.

Here is my dream, about an airplane flight:

First of all, let me set the stage. I am married and have two small children-both boys, Nicholas and Benjamin. Does anyone else here have little boys? I probably don't even have to ask-just look around for the people here who look like very tired long distance runners.

Anyway, in my dream I am taking a trip with my family to Shanghai-my husband and I both have business there, and we are bringing our young sons to introduce them to the many interesting wonders of Chinese culture. As with all my real-life trips with my family, I am worrying about many different things in the dream. I want the trip and our plans to take into consideration my husband Peter, who is a management consultant with a schedule as busy as mine, and the boys. So when I start this trip in my dream, I'm not just looking at it as a businesswoman-I'm also considering the business and personal needs of my spouse, and I'm also looking at it as the mother of two very energetic and easily bored little guys. Just like I do in waking life.

For this flight to Shanghai, we are booked together on a 7 p.m. flight aboard a 777-300ER. I guess that should tell you how much this event tonight has been on my mind, even in my sleep!

The day of the flight is a Saturday, so we can arrive on time to attend an event in Shanghai on Monday-I don't know what the event might have been, but it could easily be an event like this one-needing to arrive on Monday and speak Monday evening-like now. So anyway, back to the dream. It's Saturday. My family and I are enjoying a relaxing day at home and don't have to worry about heading for the airport until 6 p.m. or so. We are able to have our normal Saturday routine, pack up a few extra last minute things, and spend Saturday afternoon watching the movie "Shrek" with the boys. They love that movie. As I said, we head over to the airport around 6:00.

We arrive at the terminal about twenty minutes after 6:00, check in and clear security with our biometric smart cards. The cards store our security information, as well as our reservations and gate number. Check-in is hassle-free and in a few minutes we're at our gate-we just breeze through and head for the gate.

During the half-hour wait for the flight, Peter zips into the Airport Arcade to buy a Nordstrom tie for his Monday lunch meeting, meanwhile I read to the boys and check out the weather in Shanghai on my smart watch. I see that the weather is expected to be sunny and warm when we land.

The four of us board the 777-300ER just before 7 p.m. We see the pilot as we board, and when she greets us I recognize her as a pilot who I met when she was doing some training at FlightSafetyBoeing. We exchange some pleasantries, then the four of us take our seats and get settled in. In the dream I happen to know all about the airplane we're on. My family would tell you I usually do know a lot about the airplanes we fly on. Back to the dream, I happen to know that this 777-300ER was the result of a carefully structured transaction in which Boeing took some airplanes back in trade-some 747-400s on which passenger-to-freighter modifications were made.

I know that Boeing leased back the modified airplanes to this same airline-that's my last job still with me, even in my dreams! The airline is now also operating these freighters and one of the boys looks out the window and points. He says "Hey Mommy, look-there's a 747!" Like most kids who have been to an airport or watch TV, the boys instantly recognize those 747s! I watch out the window as the freighter is being loaded with tulips from the Skagit Valley up north from here, with fresh Washington apples, with Microsoft products, with Starbucks coffee, and with Boeing airplane parts. It must be headed to one of the seven cities around the world where Boeing has regional distribution centers.

Our 777 taxis down the runway. The boys are playing videos, and both Peter and I get online to work some e-mail and read a few reports. We're able to work on our laptops safely at any time, using broadband wireless access provided by Connexion by Boeing, because this is an "e-enabled" airplane.

I send the last of my e-mails and check out advance coverage of the upcoming Olympic games on ESPN. The boys decide they're going to watch a movie. They choose "Shrek." Again. We have a nice dinner and I pay a few bills and balance the bank account while Peter explains to our sons what the "ER" in 777-300ER means. Again. They draw pictures of the airplane and show them to me, and I remember the time I was about five-years-old and I drew a picture of a helicopter. I showed it to my father and he said, "How can this helicopter fly? You forgot the rotorblades." Looking at one of my son's pictures, I hesitate to tell him that airplanes can't fly without pilots. Then I think about how much work Boeing is doing with Unmanned Air Vehicles, and I decide to keep quiet.

It's a very smooth trip, no turbulence. The boys settle down and are ready to sleep, and after I explain to them that the bunks in the overhead crew rest are only for the crew, they settle for the comfortable seats and quickly fall asleep, visions of pilotless airplanes dancing in their heads. Peter and I watch CNN in real time, and I smile when the stock report shows Boeing up another 4-and-a-half. Peter and I fall asleep too, me with visions of market share dancing in my head.

Our 777-300ER flight speeds steadily through the night. The airplane is guided by GPS in the new ATM system. The flight management computer guides us, which allows more flights point-to-point with greater safety, security, and higher capacity in the system. We're all fast asleep. I know sleeping in a dream while I'm asleep is redundant, but redundancy is a part of this business.

We land the next morning-which is Monday because of the time zone changes-in Shanghai. The sun is shining and we go quickly to baggage claim where our luggage awaits us. We electronically pre-cleared customs at check-in, which is good because the boys are pretty jazzed about being here and I don't think they'd like waiting around. We catch the high-speed city-link train and I catch up on a few more e-mails on my wireless laptop. I laugh over an electronic postcard from retired Boeing legend Seddik Belyamani, who has been vacationing with his family around the world in search of the perfect Hawaiian shirt. He wants to know if I'm ready for retirement yet, but I tell him that I can't yet because I just started my new job as President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Hey, c'mon-it's my dream!

Before we know it, we're getting off the train two blocks from the hotel. The boys are pointing every which way at all the new sights.

I reflect for a minute about how in 1920 a simple trip from Chicago to San Francisco took about 20 hours. Here we are, nearly halfway around the world, having completed a flight that's more than three times as far in about 12 hours.

We check into our hotel, again using our smart cards, and begin to plan the day. Our total door-to-door time from Seattle to Shanghai has been about 14 hours, with a total air time of about 12 hours and wait time of only two hours counting travel time to and from the airport. On the ground and in the air, the trip has been both enjoyable and productive. Peter and I have managed to sneak in some work, the boys are happy and engaged, and we're all reasonably well rested and enjoying our time together as a family, creating another memory.

Well, you're probably thinking "that is some dream trip." But what I reflected on later in the day after my dream-and the reason I decided to completely re-do my presentation at the last minute for this evening-is that the best part is that it's not really a dream at all-well, okay, maybe the part about my sons going to sleep right away is a little far-fetched, and the high speed train serving Shanghai is still being completed. But this dream is very real and within our reach right now, today.

And it occurred to me that describing such a dream illustrates far better than a bunch of charts just how amazing air travel is today, and how amazing airplanes like the 777-300ER truly are. There is nothing hypothetical in what I've described-the technology exists and the inventions have already happened. All we need to do is have the courage and the will to make this dream a reality. The parts are all there-we just need to take the final steps as an industry and put the pieces together.

That's what we're trying to accomplish at Boeing, in a nutshell. We want to make the dream a reality. We want to help the world build a safe and efficient global air transportation system, a system that delivers that single quality that is at the heart of all that we do as an industry: connectivity. Whether it's bringing people together from all around the world, or providing the cargo capabilities that help make e-commerce and international trade work efficiently, we rely on the global air transportation system for connectivity.

For several years now, Boeing has worked to become not only the biggest, but more importantly the most balanced of aerospace companies. A dream flight like the one I described requires the right airplanes-like the longer range 777s and 747, and the Sonic Cruiser-but it also requires the right products and services encompassing the entire air transportation system.

I mentioned just a few in my scenario-Connexion by Boeing. Air Traffic Management. FlightSafetyBoeing. Creative use of financing options like trade-ins and lease backs. Airplane modification services. Fleet management, helping airlines to balance opportunities in both passenger and cargo service. The global air transportation system is so all encompassing in breadth that a global enterprise is clearly needed to offer these and other customer-focused solutions that advance the system. The Boeing enterprise is essentially a broad portfolio of many companies, many enterprises, encompassing the breadth of capabilities needed to lead the way-to lead the way to the safe and efficient global system we all dream about. We're not that far away as I said, but we need to keep progressing toward delivering on the dream.

Delivering on this dream is, of course, very challenging. We face many constraints. Air traffic continues to grow, airport congestion is a problem, and the infrastructure is strained. Accommodating long-term growth, alleviating congestion, and making sure the infrastructure keeps pace is a tall order. We've lived in a very different world since last September, and those differences have translated into extreme difficulties for airlines and the economies that support them. But we will not retreat, we will not relent, and we will not give up on this dream.

What are we doing in Boeing Commercial Airplanes to turn our dreams into realities? Well, unless you plan on spending the entire week, we can't get into all the details! But I can tell you that we have a huge, global team focusing on four key areas-what we call the 4 Ps: Performance, Products, Process, and People.

We believe that our business strategy and plan can be distilled down to those 4 Ps, and if we keep our focus on these four areas, we'll all realize our dreams for air travel tomorrow. Performance, Products, Process, and People. Let me talk just a little about each of these critical areas of focus.

People first, because at Boeing we believe in putting people first. Our business touches people all over the world, and we know one thing above all else: in the end people want to fly where they choose, when they choose, and how they choose. Our job is to help make that happen-to bring people together, to provide connectivity to the world, to help bridge the gaps between cultures, to help people and nations understand each other better by bringing them together. We believe this is a profound vision-that in the end bringing people from all over the world together makes ours a better, more peaceful, more enlightened planet.

We believe that building relationships and bringing connectivity to the world is the key to reducing the differences that too often divide us.

We also feel strongly about our people, the team that works toward achieving our vision. We've worked for years bringing together the best team possible. I hope some of you remember Alan Mulally's words last year as we've had to endure the pain of employment reductions like almost everybody else in this industry. Alan expressed the anguish, sadness and dismay we all felt about having to lose members of what he called "the finest team in the world." We value our people above all else, and we believe-with good reason-that we've assembled the best team on the planet. We work hard, and we want to be the best. We are a skilled and motivated team.

We've also taken two simple words from the English language-Working Together-and turned them into a synonym for the best that people can accomplish when they unite and work as one team. We've institutionalized those two simple words. And People are the key to Working Together.

Second, Process. We try to work smart. We've learned-sometimes the hard way-that it's really important to focus on the things we do that matter most and that we do best. One of our great strengths is detailed customer knowledge and focus. The 777 is a good example-we literally sat side-by-side with our customers to design that airplane, and we've been working that way ever since.

We also know that one of our core competencies is large-scale systems integration-nobody does that better than Boeing.

We can't possibly build every single fastener or sub-assembly-any more than we can go mine and refine the metal that ends up in the airplanes. But we are really great at taking our knowledge of how to bring together all the parts and sub-assemblies and using it to roll out great airplanes. That's the part of the process on which we should stay focused.

Finally, from a process standpoint, we've been pursuing the difficult goal of becoming a lean global enterprise for several years now. We have customers, operations, suppliers, and partners around the world, and we are a global economic development engine.

We've revolutionized airplane manufacturing with continuously moving production lines and simplified designs that are easier and faster to assemble. We're becoming more and more lean in our processes.

We're also becoming more and more "green" in our processes and business focus-because ultimately, lean manufacturing is about conserving resources. Natural resources, and human resources. Working leaner means working in ways that are for the good of all of us.

Third, Products. It seems like a long, long time since we thought of ourselves as just hardware suppliers. Today we think of ourselves as providers of airplanes, services, and customer solutions. Our concept of our "product" has changed considerably to keep pace with the evolution of the industry and the needs of our customers. Tomorrow you'll be hearing more about the newest airplanes-the longer range 747 and 777s. We continue to be proud of our great airplanes, and the Sonic Cruiser also promises to keep our name associated with cool new airplanes and innovations.

But we also provide a comprehensive array of Commercial Aviation Services, focusing especially on the latest electronic tools and online technology. Since acquiring Jeppesen Sanderson Inc. in October, 2000, we're able to offer airlines an "Electronic Flight Bag" that includes a full range of electronic flight information services, including navigation data, computerized flight planning, aviation software products, aviation weather services, maintenance information, and pilot training systems and supplies. Another great tool-our Portable Maintenance Aid-lets mechanics and other maintenance technicians take a laptop right out to the airplane and troubleshoot with the huge knowledge base of Boeing customer support right at their fingertips.

Through the single web portal of, our customers have access to the information that is essential to the operation of Boeing-delivered aircraft. This includes access to maintenance documents, engineering drawings, flight operations data, the PART page to order spare parts online, and other valuable, useful information that helps airlines operate more profitably. And through our Global Airline Inventory Network-GAIN-we can manage an airlines supply chain for expendable airframe spare parts used in Boeing airplanes. This helps both airlines and suppliers a more efficient supply chain.

With the Preston Group we acquired a couple of years ago, we're also able to offer airports the Total Airspace and Airport Modeller Plus software and consulting services.

This is called TAAM Plus, and it is a fast-time gate-to-gate simulation tool that can model things like daily airport traffic and help aviation authorities identify efficiency improvements and plan for the future.

As a company, the addition of Connexion by Boeing, ATM, Boeing Capital Corporation and the heightened role of Phantom Works all show where we're headed-toward helping to build a safe and efficient global air transportation system.

If we can achieve our goals relative to people, process and products, we believe the fourth P-Performance-will reflect our successful direction. We have the objective-and demanding-goal of being in the top quartile of the Standard and Poor's 500, with steady growth. That's an arduous challenge-and we're very motivated to meet it.

The other aspect of performance I want to emphasize is more profound. A critical substantive way in which we will assess our performance is satisfaction-customer, employee, investor and community satisfaction. Customers who prefer Boeing, employees and investors who realize top quartile company performance, and being good neighbors where we work and live-these will show us that we've attained our goals. The Rolling Stones once told us we "can't get no satisfaction"-at Boeing we believe "we can so get satisfaction!" Performance will tell the story.

So tonight I ask you to keep an eye on those 4Ps-people, process, product and performance. They are the key to our success in building a safe and efficient global air transportation system-and the key to the day we all take a commercial flight and realize that we are living our dream.

Thank you for this opportunity to share a few thoughts-and a dream-with you this evening. Have a great time as our guests tonight, and I hope that tomorrow you enjoy learning about our longer range products-the airplanes that make dreams come true. I would also like to extend our invitation to come back again and spend more time with us-we love to share information about our products, our services, and our global aerospace enterprise. See you in the future!