Boeing Frontiers
August 2003
Volume 02, Issue 04
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My View

E-enabling ourselves as a business

Phil Condit
Chairman and CEO

Phil ConditIf Boeing can design radically transformational large-scale networked systems to help our customers be much more efficient and effective, we have to ask ourselves these questions:

Can that apply to us? Can we e-enable ourselves as a business and not only help ourselves work smarter and happier but also create a competitive advantage for the company? Can we build an employee-centric network that would provide the information each Boeing person needs to make good decisions and free people from things like going to coordination meetings and filling out forms so they can focus on higher-value and more enjoyable work?

I believe the answer is yes to all of these questions.

Boeing Shared Services Group, led by Bonnie Soodik, is providing the pioneering e-enabled systems and services. For example, a significant number of Boeing people have begun working "virtually," making it possible for us to reduce some of the expense of occupying large office facilities. While going virtual is not possible for everyone, it works pretty well for people who travel a lot or who do jobs that can be done on computers from anywhere.

But there's much more to this. We are making progress on understanding the technology and defining the architecture.

Some of the first signs of this potential are things like eBuy@Boeing and the ability to move design data back and forth electronically among Boeing engineers located anywhere in the world. But these are just the beginning. And before we go much farther, we need to think in terms of an entire e-enabled, networked Boeing architecture and roadmap.

That's the job of Scott Griffin, our chief information officer, and his team. We've learned with the Boeing Integration Center that we are better off designing the architecture and then building the elements than if we build a bunch of isolated elements and then try to tie them together.

If we do this right, eventually we'll operate our enterprise in a networked fashion, where the people who need and are authorized to have the data have it when they need it. The buyer will operate in a truly networked supplier-management system. The individual worker, team or manager will be freed from routine transactions but get information to make better decisions more quickly.

Just think about an enterprise where there are no needless transactions and necessary transactions happen automatically.

Think about the advantages to your everyday work. The knowledge and information that any individual has in this kind of system will be substantially better. As a result, you will be more in charge of what you do, use your skills more effectively and spend less time performing basic coordination tasks—because the network will do the coordinating.

Through the network, the factory worker will know where the parts are, what's late and what's not, and have the tools to help reschedule. Everyone will have the information to make those kinds of decisions with less supervision. Through the help of the network, the engineer will be freed from much of the clerical part of the task and able to focus on design.

Laurette Koellner, Executive Vice President and Chief People and Administration Officer, is exploring how this information-rich networked environment can enable adaptable organization structures and empowered decision-making processes.

The Boeing employee portal,, offers tremendous potential to simplify our Boeing lives. While still in its infancy, the portal will serve as our gateway to the employee-centric network. On an individual level, the TotalAccess community is evolving into a "one-stop" source for all your personalized human resources information, including your pay, benefits, savings, personal data, career planning and retirement planning. Much of this functionality is there already. More is coming. Future upgrades include a pension-forecasting tool and integrated health, life and disability insurance information. No longer will you have to wait for somebody else to look up human resources information for you.

Transforming Boeing into a networked, e-enabled enterprise represents significant change both in the way the company does business and the way it interacts with employees. I believe these changes will make Boeing a more nimble and more effective global competitor.

If we can do this, and do it well, we may very well develop capabilities that create other new market opportunities or that others will want to buy. We'll make our products better; we'll make our products cost less. And we'll enjoy our jobs more.


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