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AERO - New Tool for Collaboration on In-Service Issues
AERO - New Tool for Collaboration on In-Service Issues

For more than 10 years, Boeing has been working with airplane owners and operators to address in-service issues using Fleet Team processes and the Fleet Team Resolution Process (FTRP) and Fleet Team Emerging Issues (FTEI) bulletin boards. Boeing recently introduced a new collaboration platform that integrates these two bulletin boards within a single application: the Fleet Team Xchange. The platform includes a number of new features and has the capacity to support the future integration of additional collaboration spaces for special working groups.

By Sue Jacintho, Airplane Systems Design Engineer, and
Krijn de Jonge, 757/767 Fleet Chief

The collaboration process involves the exchange of information and knowledge using the Fleet Team bulletin board, meetings, and teleconferences.

Boeing has developed a new tool to collaborate with airplane owners and operators on issues, best practices, and solutions. The Fleet Team Xchange provides enhancements while preserving the core functionality of the previous FTRP and FTEI applications. This article explains the new collaboration tool and provides an overview of its use.

Evolution of the collaboration process

In 1999, Boeing launched the FTRP bulletin board, a tool to gain customer involvement in addressing in-service economic issues. Boeing and operators use the data posted on the bulletin board to determine fleet-wide impact of issues and to pursue efficient solutions together. These solutions include airplane modifications that are addressed in airplane or component service bulletins and sharing of best practices.

Based on the FTRP, Boeing subsequently introduced the FTEI bulletin board to raise awareness of safety issues, engage operators in the resolution of these issues, and supplement the Air Transport Association of America (ATA) lead airline process.

As part of the Fleet Team process, Boeing launched the Fleet Team Digest (FTD) and model-specific teams, meetings, and conference calls. The FTD articles provide the latest information about economic issues, all safety issues, in-service events, fleet improvements, and other major projects. During meetings and conference calls, the model-specific teams review posted issues and responses, discuss which items need to be worked, and collaborate on their resolution.

Ten years after their introduction, Boeing Fleet Team tools are utilized by more than 5,000 users at more than 500 companies worldwide and are among the most frequently accessed programs on the Web portal MyBoeingFleet.com. More than 6,000 FTD articles are available via MyBoeingFleet.com.

(Additional information about the Fleet Team processes can be found in AERO third-quarter 2000 and second-quarter 2007.)

The New Fleet Team Xchange

Fleet Team Xchange, which Boeing introduced in December 2009, is a collaboration tool that integrates the FTEI and FTRP bulletin boards. It offers new and enhanced features and functions specifically designed to address user requests and requirements, while preserving the core functionality of the two previous applications. The issues on the new bulletin board are categorized either as economic (FTE) or safety (FTS). Operators who have used the FTRP and FTEI applications will see a familiar home page when they log in to Fleet Team Xchange (see fig. 1). To enhance the collaboration process, several new capabilities have been incorporated in the new tool, including drafts, a wiki feature, and e-mail.

Figure 1: Fleet Team Xchange user home page
The home page contains three panes similar to the FTRP and FTEI applications: (1) a static pane in the upper left, (2) a navigation pane on the left side of the screen, and (3) a main pane that occupies the majority of the screen. When a team member logs in, three tabs are shown in the main pane: News/Events, Recent Activity, and To-Do-List (4).

A new wiki feature enables users to contribute information to refine issues. Once an issue is published, other users can edit the wiki to add relevant information and solutions.

The new application supports expanded bulletin-board discussions for each issue.

Figure 1

Once an issue has been published by one operator, other users may contribute to and update the content for that specific issue by using the new wiki feature, by adding to the discussion, or both. The users can co-author and co-edit the collaborative issue article (i.e., wiki). Each wiki is intended to capture and retain knowledge and integrate best practices. The discussion thread complements each collaborative article and is intended to capture ideas, experiences, data, and comments that are worth sharing but do not need to be integrated into the article.

Detailed impact data can be entered for each item that is posted. When other operators post responses and their impact data, a summary is shown. Once a solution for a specific issue is available, operators can share their opinion about the value in terms of cost, ease of implementation, and overall effectiveness. Item-level access via e-mail is provided as needed to suppliers and partners.

The Fleet Team Collaboration Process

The collaboration process involves the exchange of information and knowledge using the new Fleet Team bulletin board and ongoing Fleet Team meetings and teleconferences. All operators are invited to participate in the Fleet Team meetings and teleconferences. The solutions that are jointly developed are documented and published on MyBoeingFleet.com, in service bulletins or service letters, and in FTD articles. The collaboration takes place in three distinct areas (see fig. 2).

Figure 2: The Fleet Team collaboration process
Fleet Team Xchange facilitates collaboration among airplane operators and Boeing.

Figure 2

Operator Domain. Within a specific company, team members work together to identify and document economic issues. They may also work together on responses to economic and safety items that have already been published on the bulletin board. While in the Operator Domain, the information is in draft stage and is not visible to other operators or Boeing.

Boeing Domain. Boeing team members work together to provide input to economic issues that have been posted by the operators. They also prepare new postings and updates for items that Boeing has determined to be safety issues. Draft information within the Boeing Domain is not visible to the operators.

Shared Domain. The items and responses that have been published can be accessed by all operators and Boeing. New economic issues are posted as “Discussion” items. During Fleet Team meetings and teleconferences, model-specific teams discuss the posted items. Based on information and impact data that have been posted, the teams also decide which items need to be elevated to “In-Work” status. Safety items are automatically posted by Boeing as “In-Work” items. For items at this stage, the teams collaborate on root cause analyses, documentation of best practices, and development of solutions. Updates are also provided in FTD articles. Once resolved, the status for the items may be changed to “Evaluation” or “Complete.”


The new Boeing Fleet Team Xchange provides enhanced features and improved performance. Boeing encourages all operators to be involved in the Fleet Team process and collaborate by sharing information and knowledge on this new bulletin board, and by participating in the Fleet Team meetings and teleconferences.

For more information, please contact Krijn de Jonge.

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