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Boeing 787 Dreamliner
In the wake of the FAA's decision to ground Boeing's snazzy 787 Dreamliner planes after a series of scary incidents, Boeing's decision to outsource the plane's parts to factories around the world is being questioned. It would be hard to overstate the scope of the outsourcing, which involved 50 suppliers and 135 sites, which had already caused the 787 to be released years behind schedule, and which may have contributed to problems now:
Fifty per cent of the Dreamliner is made from composite materials, including much of the fuselage and wings, which come from manufacturers in Japan, Italy, South Korea, the United States and elsewhere.

Some 70 per cent of the plane is outsourced, said Richard Tortoriello, an analyst at Standard and Poor’s.

“That creates a potential for more problems to occur than if production is centralized, because quality control can be better managed” in a centralized process, he said.

Boeing is insistent that its outsourcing strategy isn't responsible for the problems with the planes, and it has the lobbying apparatus in place to make that case to Congress. But after two frightening incidents in eight days, it may be difficult for Boeing to put a lid on the questions being raised. Simultaneously, Boeing is in a contentious contract fight with its unionized engineers and technical workers, who are taking the Dreamliner's problems as another sign of the company's disrespect for their work:
“Boeing corporate created the 787 problems by ignoring the warnings of the Boeing technical community,” said Joel Funfar, Technical Negotiation Team member. “Now, they propose to double down on their failed outsourcing strategy by outsourcing the engineering work required to solve the problems caused by previous rounds of outsourcing.”
This all has the potential to focus airline customers' attention on the degree of outsourcing that Boeing put into the Dreamliner. And while most people are by now accustomed to—if not necessarily happy about—wearing clothes made wherever in the world workers are paid the least, going a couple miles into the air in a plane sourced from too many places to name may give some people pause.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:38 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (142+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Azazello, Dobber, Brooke In Seattle, Glen The Plumber, Polly Syllabic, BOHICA, jfromga, RichM, jbob, jck, Bronx59, offred, Bisbonian, OldSoldier99, enhydra lutris, Mary Mike, grrr, mattc129, eeff, TexDem, MKinTN, scurrvydog, Kentucky Kid, mkfarkus, Shockwave, Gowrie Gal, TomFromNJ, TomP, Mentatmark, Expat Okie, JeffW, boatjones, kevinpdx, MartyM, doingbusinessas, Lawrence, OIL GUY, Siri, US Blues, prfb, Rhysling, LamontCranston, Clytemnestra, DRo, wader, JML9999, cardboardurinal, emal, Proud Mom and Grandma, Aquarius40, filby, Byron from Denver, sethtriggs, maggiejean, millwood, zerelda, xaxnar, roses, RFK Lives, Flint, SteveLCo, StateofEuphoria, maryabein, ewmorr, chicagoblueohio, jakedog42, ColoTim, sayitaintso, Sam Hill, ratzo, mookins, northerntier, leonard145b, madgranny, HeartlandLiberal, antooo, Miggles, artmartin, Mr Robert, Lefty Coaster, diffrntdrummr, livingthedream, SaintC, elwior, badger, prettygirlxoxoxo, sawgrass727, MikeBoyScout, tofumagoo, California06, bleeding blue, legendmn, Nebraskablue, TX Unmuzzled, BeerNotWar, cyncynical, boomerchick, tegrat, wintergreen8694, Its a New Day, Assaf, Jim Domenico, CalLawyer817, Horsefeathers, FindingMyVoice, Time Waits for no Woman, jolux, ctsteve, Powered Grace, ladybug53, third Party please, judyms9, Possiamo, Jay C, 2liberal, BobboSphere, DisHeartenedMom, native, la58, Sybil Liberty, Annalize5, jedennis, Karen Hedwig Backman, denise b, Jim R, Amber6541, 88kathy, indie17, Just Bob, Liberal Mole, cocinero, swampyankee, unclebucky, rbird, midwesterner, Yogurt721, arealniceguy, Pat K California, dotdash2u, Powell, splashy, Dauphin
  •  I wondered when those chickens (75+ / 0-)

    would come home to roost.

    I was shocked when I heard the first stories about multiple parts being outsourced, and the resulting chaos when they tried to actually assemble them into a plane, so I guess this whole thing isn't really a surprise.

    I suppose the airlines won't stop cutting corners until a few of those planes fall right out of the sky, and the NTSB finds it's because of shoddy workmanship.

    Why does it take immense tragedies to get people to see the truth of what is happening to our country?

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:48:31 AM PST

    •  Because the top executives in charge of Boeing (38+ / 0-)

      now are not "airplane" people, they've never worked at an airplane manufacturing company before and assumed this was just another "widget manufacturing" company they could run.

      Boeing's current CEO got his chops running 3M....what that has to do with making airplanes is....zilch.

      No wonder the 787 has had so many problems, and continues to do so.  The union is right that the current company culture does not understand the value that they bring to the quality of Boeing airplanes.

      As of this morning November 7, 2012 the Includers are ascendant, and the Excluders are in the minority. [samsoneyes]

      by FlamingoGrrl on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:25:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sadly, it usually costs less to cut corners. (8+ / 0-)

      It's cheaper to have their insurance company pay off passenger families after a crash than to provide decent union jobs with wages and benefits to their workforce.  And now, they can try to put the liability off on to the subcontracted companies who made the different parts and have THEIR insurance companies pay off any lawsuits.  

      Win-win for Boeing, lose-lose for humans who fly on their possibly dangerous planes.  And, of course, NOTHING keeps companies that kill people and screw their workers in America from continuing to get their lucrative defense contracts.


      "When people show you who they really are, believe them." - Maya Angelou

      by Pennsylvanian on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:02:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Boeing bent over backwards to screw the unions (26+ / 0-)

      to the exclusion of everything else on this new plane, resulting in losing its focus on product quality. So they created a supply chain that would baffle Rube Goldberg, and it shows.  

      Much of the design work has been outsourced to TWO design centers Boeing built in Moscow.

      Aviation Equipment and Boeing agreed the aircraft component distribution system setting up.

      Boeing cooperates with Russian aero-space industry for over 15 years. There are 2 large Boeing centers in Moscow. Over 1200 Russian engineers perform contracts in the company design center developing principal commercial aircrafts. R&D center is in charge of new technologies designing, testing, aerodynamics and noise research and IT project implementation. Moscow has the largest engineering center outside the USA. During all the time in Russia Boeing has performed 7 billion dollar service contracts. In next 30 years the company plans to invest 27 more billion dollars in Russia, including the 18 billion for titanium goods purchase, 5 billion for the designing services and 4 billion for other goods and services inter alia the ones for space programs.

      Ilyushin doesn't have a as good a reputation for safety as Boeing HAD.

      From MIT:

      Grounded Boeing 787 Dreamliners Use Batteries Prone to Overheating

      The chemistry—and safety—of lithium-ion batteries varies. According to GS Yuasa’s website, the batteries it uses for Boeing’s 787 use lithium cobalt oxide electrodes. These are known for high-energy storage capacity, but other battery chemistries, such as lithium iron phosphate, are more resistant to overheating. Because of safety concerns, many electric vehicle makers have shifted to alternative chemistries, sacrificing some energy storage capacity.

       If its not safe enough for cars why would Boeing use this battery technology for an airliner?

      Electing people who don't believe in government to Congress, is like installing an atheist as pastor of a church. If they don't believe in the institution or its goals, they won't care if it does a good job for its members.

      by Lefty Coaster on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:48:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'd not known the degree this was going on... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rbird, Algernons Labyrinth, Egalitare

      'til now.

      I wish I could say I'm shocked but nothing shocks me anymore. Makes me furious but what has getting furious done to right any of the obscenity this level of greed has produced. We remain observers to the tyranny of soulless automatons, programmed murderers, as they worship at the shrine of the Golden Calf.

    •  Ah, yes, emulating the Nazis... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...that always turns out well, doesn't it?

      Albert Speer, who had zero knowledge of submarine construction came up with this brilliant plan to dominate the seas by utilizing what we now know as outsourcing.  It didn't end well.

      Between 1943 and 1945, 118 boats were assembled by Blohm & Voss of Hamburg, AG Weser of Bremen, and F. Schichau of Danzig. Each hull was constructed from eight prefabricated sections with final assembly at the shipyards. This new method could have pushed construction time below six months per vessel, but in practice all the assembled U-boats were plagued with severe quality problems that required extensive post-production work to fix. One of the reasons was, as a result of Albert Speer's decision, sections were made by companies having little experience in shipbuilding. As a result, of 118 Type XXIs completed, only four were fit for combat before the war ended in Europe.

      Tell me what to write. 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

      by rbird on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 03:26:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry about violating Godwin's Law... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...just couldn't resist, the similarities are so stark.

        Tell me what to write. 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

        by rbird on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 04:07:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Interesting historical note adding new info., at (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          least for me.

          Striking parallel describes technological difficulties in WW2 German war production compared to our similar scattered production schemes and their problems today.

          Don't understand why Godwin's law should trump and suppress all relevant WW2 themes and discussions.

          It's different when German war references are thrown in superfluously for shock value and to derail the discussion.    


    •  Shoddy outsourced work will hurt Boeing long after (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the company who did the shoddy work are forgotten.

      I worked for a major electronics company every one knows. We had lots of underground tunnels between buildings on our site and we got training in how to work in them. The tunnels would get full of methane gas due to rotting leaves, dead rats and other vemin. We had to put devices down in the tunnels to verify there was good breathing air down there before we went down and we had to have a tripod mounted over the hole leading into the tunnel. Most tunnels were accessed via opening a manhole cover. The tripod and it had a pulley with a lifeline attached. The other end of the lifeline was attached to our backs via a harness. I went down that way several times.

      Not my favorite thing to do but I at least did what I had to do in a safe way and knew if I fell or hit a pocket of bad air and passed out they could get me out to save me.

      The company decided the insurance they had to pay and our costs (We were well trained in multiple site security areas.) were to much so they outsourced all of the tunnel work.

      A while after that a contract company working for our company had two employees die in a tunnel. A father and son.  The father went down when his son did not come out.
      I would have too but then I would have been using the right procedures so my son would have never died.

      For several weeks there were stories about the incident all mentioning our company. The contract company was NEVER named that I saw. It was called 'a contract company for' followed by our name.

      Our company was fined by OSHA for not being sure the contract company followed the rules. I never heard if the contract company was fined.

      Our company would have saved a lot of money and bad publicity if they had just kept us doing the job we had done well for decades.

      Our money system is not what we have been led to believe. The creation of money has been "privatized," or taken over by private money lenders. Thomas Jefferson called them “bold and bankrupt adventurers just pretending to have money.” webofdebt

      by arealniceguy on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 05:58:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In the early round of one of the first planes (46+ / 0-)

    being assembled from the parts manufactured all over the world there were some really breath-taking - surprising - examples of the pieces of these planes not fitting together properly.

    It wasn't just "quality control" problems, it was critical stuff like engine part connections being off by inches.  So, tube A manufactured in Italy was supposed to connect to tube B made in South Korea and they didn't.

    •  And that is a configuration management issue (7+ / 0-)

      And the type of problem that also happens in internal manufacturing operations, particularly on a new model developed using a "concurrent engineering" system.

      I will grant you communications between companies can complicate matters but these problems happen often enough inside companies that it's a wrong conclusion to assume the basic problem is "more than one company" or "outsourcing".

      As I've noted elsewhere, the Areospace industry like virtually all high tech industries have "outsourced" critical components for decades and no single company has the technology or resources to do otherwise even if they wanted to.

      Can you name the last Boeing Aircraft that used a jet engine manufactured by Boeing?

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:49:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think Boeing ever made engines... (14+ / 0-)

        ...except maybe in their early, pre-jet days.

        Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

        by JeffW on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:07:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It was a big story not because some (18+ / 0-)

        things in a new model production process were not executed properly - everyone understands that planes are big and complex things to design and build.  The reason it was a big story at the time was that there were so many problems and they were well into their production timeline when these problems were discovered.  They also had laid off a lot of experienced employees and a good number of people believed that the absence of that experienced personnel played a role in the company's problems.  The internal project management process appeared to be negatively affected by the personnel cuts they made.

        Boeing's troubles in navigating the manufacture of this new aircraft are well documented, not because this is business as usual for all technology manufacturers, but because they have had such an incredibly difficult time executing.  Labor is a relevant part of this story.

        •  Are you sure it was an "execution" error? (0+ / 0-)

          Or was it a "management" error?

          The reason I ask is are you saying Boeing did things right and subcontractors did things wrong, or was the system inadequate?

          For a part to be "inches" off of a fit we have the following choices:

          Engineering/configuration management issues (or engineering "execution" if you like)

          - Design errors such as differences in dimensions of mating parts (pretty common when one part is changed and it's mate not)
          - Manufacturer given the wrong information (erroneous or outdated)
          - Design changes specified but not transferred and verified downstream in time
          - Product inspection criteria or methods inadequate or erroneous (for example, temperature of inspection for plastic parts such as carbon fiber composites verses the temperature at which they would be joined later)
          - Critical inspections/verifications not specified

          Manufacturing "Execution" issues

          - Correct information was received but errors in tooling or fabrication made
          - Errors were made in adapting design data to sub-part design, tooling or process, checks did not detect the errors
          - Parts not conforming to specification (e.g., dimensions incorrect our out of tolerance when measured by specified methods)
          - Necessary tests, inspections or verifications not planed or executed

          My understanding of the parts mis-match problem Boeing had with the composites is that, while parts were correctly fabricated at contractors and verified against engineering data, there were errors made in failing to control the range of thermal expansion coefficients of the materials used in different plants, and subsequently, when parts were later joined in assembly at different temperatures and under different loads, there were mis-matches due to thermal expansion and/or strain under load.

          These are engineering issues and assembly methods engineering issues.

          I might be mistaken, but I'm not aware that Boeing concluded any of these suppliers made parts "wrong", just that the designs and systems used to produce them we inadequate in terms of controlling variables of process and materials that would ultimately be problems.

          As I stated, the design and fabrication strategy for this plane did push the system further in terms of the scope of outsourcing or global manufacturing, and that did create some problems with configuration management particularly given the fact the design included use of new technology proven on a smaller scale but not at the scale they would use here (specifically, the extensive use of plastic composites).

          So we have to ask whether Boeing adequately considered the potential problems such an approach would encounter, and I think their own conclusion is that they did not.

          However, virtually all aircraft are the products of supply-chains that have been global for decades so I don't think "outsourcing", per se, is the root of the problem.

          Did Boeings labor issues contribute to the mess? I'm sure it did because at working level, these are the people who manage the process and if you don't have enough, or they are focused on things other than the task at hand, it caiuses problems.

          But the premise of this diary is that "outsourcing" is ultimately the cause of these battery failures and that is frankly ridiculous.

          And I think it's foolish to make ridiculous arguments even when it is here on the front page of Daily Kos.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 01:35:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  But in Boeing's case, much of outsourcing driven.. (8+ / 0-) potential orders.  Countries tell Boeing, "Our carriers will buy your airlines, but you need to buy from some of our companies."

        Not that different from defense contractor strategy in the US.  Place bets in as many states as possible to ensure that your interests are defended when budget cutbacks loom.

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

        by PatriciaVa on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:38:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes but (0+ / 0-)

          At least if you're using all US companies, the management all speak the same language, and share a common culture.

          That's a huge issue with something as complex and with as many critical systems as a large commercial plane.

          •  You don't get the overseas sale if you don't use (0+ / 0-)

            foreign suppliers in many cases.

            The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness

            by CTMET on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:13:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Aka offset programs (0+ / 0-)

          The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness

          by CTMET on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:12:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Your example doesn't fit the scenario going on (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        here with the 787.  

        As of this morning November 7, 2012 the Includers are ascendant, and the Excluders are in the minority. [samsoneyes]

        by FlamingoGrrl on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:27:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Corporate suicide (0+ / 0-)

      Boeing has now taught the rest of the world how to build jetliners. They have no more advantage except a reputation that will go away unless maintained.

  •  I honestly don't think... (34+ / 0-)

    'De-centralized' production is the root problem per se.  The Airbus 380 was built in several countries.  The problem is trying to build a sophisticated modern air-craft on the cheap - outsourcing everything to the lowest bidder - including intellectual property.  How do you hope to fix the problems if you don't even own the know-how to do it?  This the perfect example of Wall Street profit uber alles mentality.

    'Goodwill' between the GOP and the President is as abundant as unicorn farts - Me'

    by RichM on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:56:44 AM PST

    •  Actually the 380 outsourcing was cut-back (16+ / 0-)


      Airbus Industries was going to have a large subcontracting bases for this as well.

      However as a result of the problem they drastically cut back on the subcontractor because of the delivery delays.

      They originally has 3000 subcontractors they cut it down to 500.

    •  Going back several years into the memory (23+ / 0-)

      banks for data stored about the more detailed articles about this out-sourcing and decentralization at Boeing, I think that decentralized production was a big part of the problem, IIRC.  The reason it was was that the company was not accustomed to that approach.

      They chose to make radical changes in their business and manufacturing model and chose to do that with an entirely new and technologically untested product.  If they had made the production changes and tried to build planes that they had already built, they would have been in a better position to manage the process.  Also, the loss of the experienced personnel let go as a result of the outsourcing had to have had an impact here.  

      As it was they went full on into a totally new design with totally new factories and personnel.  They were like a start up, in a sense and they are paying the price for having effectively ditched a lot of people and resources that had built Boeing's good reputation.

      Also, FWIW, Airbus had its fair share of problems with their decentralized production process.  It wasn't like Boeing didn't have any point of reference as to what pitfalls might be ahead when they made this change.

      •  Boeing had outsourced some parts to other (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        inclusiveheart, xaxnar, elwior

        companies that were either a Boeing facility (Spirit in Kansas) or somewhat local.  Once they bought MD and installed several of the key VP's into Boeing the outsource bug hit.  That is what put MD into trouble for many years...  Now that the last of them are leaving the insource bug is becoming vogue.

        "Death is the winner in any war." - Nightwish/Imaginareum/Song of myself.

        by doingbusinessas on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:20:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Chicago based Boeing Company (0+ / 0-)

          The Boeing Company run by MD folks who didn't want to move to Seattle but wanted to get away from St. Louis for the Gold Coast on Lake Michigan seem to have lost control of the design and manufacturing skills.

          Spirit company bought Boeing's facilities, and I believe the management is ex-Boeing also. So Boeing could shed their labor liabilities. As for Asia there was a quote by some Mitsubichi Co. person saying that after designing the 787 wing they had the know-how to enter the composite market.

          Same with the company that designed the 737, 757, 767 winglet retrofit kits. Ex-Boeing, or maybe another attempt to shed labor? Or reward insiders?

          •  It's actually just big company (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DarkestHour, judyms9, mmacdDE, KJG52, rbird

            management-think run amok.

            Boeing used to be run and managed by people that had cut their teeth flying airplanes and maintaining airplanes.  Now it is run and managed by "interchangeable CEO's" that know about running big corporations but nothing about the unique business of building airplanes that fly.

            As of this morning November 7, 2012 the Includers are ascendant, and the Excluders are in the minority. [samsoneyes]

            by FlamingoGrrl on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:31:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well it all looked good on the PowerPoint (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              a2nite, KJG52, rbird

              that the MBA's presented.  Yep.

              Most likely those MBA's are long gone to greener pastures, looking to fleece another industry.

              Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

              by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 01:56:55 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  the Boeing McDonnel merger (0+ / 0-)

          Is known internally as 'when Douglas took over' ; redneck management. Then came Mulally, not sure of he helped or not, but anyway he bailed for Ford before it started coming down. Anyone from Being to comment on this? The engineers union did a white paper in 2001 or so that predicted what would happen if the announced outsourcing plan was followed, and it pretty much did. Now they are near a strike over Boeing wanting to end pensions and go to 401ks for new hires. Personally I think I'll stick to automobiles for a while.

          •  They are about || close to striking. (0+ / 0-)

            SPEEA rejected the latest "offer" the Boeing handed them.

            A good number of the engineers are very upset about what is going on (the outsourcing coming home to roost), not being used to design and engineer the 787, etc.  

            "Death is the winner in any war." - Nightwish/Imaginareum/Song of myself.

            by doingbusinessas on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:40:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  See (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        inclusiveheart, rbird

        Electing people who don't believe in government to Congress, is like installing an atheist as pastor of a church. If they don't believe in the institution or its goals, they won't care if it does a good job for its members.

        by Lefty Coaster on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:44:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Now we agree (0+ / 0-)

        The root problem as I see it is Boeing's lack of diligence in considering the potential problems in changing the engineering and operating model, and I think they have admitted as much.

        "We underestimated". Yep.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 01:39:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I Worked At Kodak (19+ / 0-)

      In the early days of digital photography and printing.  I was intimately involved in printer designs and support.  

      During that time, Kodak built all its digital color printers. They all had Kodak built parts, Kodak designs, and Kodak color algorithms.

      Then, it came time to save money --  to outsource printer building and printing technology.  Kodak outsourced to Japan and to China, the lower the bid the better.  The offshore vendors took over the designs, inserted their own algorithms, and would not reveal the new algorithms to Kodak engineers who had the responsibility to calibrate those printers and to make the media (ribbons and paper) used in them.

      And, now that Kodak has filed for bankruptcy, the offshore vendors (who haven't been completely paid for their prior work) will not cooperate to make ongoing improvements in the printers.

      It seems that offshore vendors (especially those in Japan) have no concept of the US bankruptcy law.  All they know is that they have not been paid, and they want no more to do with Kodak. So getting spare parts and engineering changes will be a very dicey business.

      It's no surprise that Kodak, the inventor of digital photography, is selling off all their camera and printer business, and their patents in a fire sale, and even their printing kiosk business.

      •  I was working in the medical division at this (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        snoopydawg, xaxnar, elwior, ladybug53, Just Bob

        time (Diagnostics group)...  I remember it well.  We were moved from the old building on the east side of Rochester to the new plant in Greece and we started development of the 5000 test/hr machine when we got the word we were up for sale.  Kodak would retain the test slides but sell off the test machine group.  I left about that time, but from what I heard Hitachi was looking in earnest at them.  

        I have no idea what eventually happened to that group.

        "Death is the winner in any war." - Nightwish/Imaginareum/Song of myself.

        by doingbusinessas on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:27:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Kodak is bankrupt... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wader, BachFan, squarewheel

        ...because they were a film chemistry company in the time that digital cameras gutted and destroyed the film chemistry business. They were sort of like Microsoft that way; my understanding is that they kept trying to attach film items to their digital pictures business and simply did not grok the fact that digital was going to obsolete film chemistry almost in its entirety other than for specialized uses.

        I'm sure that the issues you describe didn't help, but...

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:36:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, yes to an extent (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, Just Bob, rbird

          Their copiers were a decent quality for awhile, but they lost a good deal of contracts to more nimble and capable rivals as their own products lost the edge and serviceability as their own interest in that space waned.  Then, they sold off most of that division just when they could have grown the digital publishing business rather handily, given their background and resources.

          They had a series of problems with leadership in the past twenty years, IMHO.

          "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

          by wader on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:58:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Kodak blew it (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ladybug53, la58, mmacdDE, Just Bob, rbird

          the sensors for the up scale cameras are or were Kodak. So management sold the licenses. Way to go MBA business pros.

          The US needs to adopt the old German mentality, we don't sell our companies to outsiders. They can buy the product but you don't sell the facilities. Or stop protecting the patents, once the name changes.

          •  The German Mentality also includes... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mmacdDE, rbird, hashby

            ...a philosophy of making the best product they can. It is ingrained in their culture. The point is to make the best thing - to market and profit from whatever you are making are separate functions of the company. The dictates of making the best product determine how marketing and design work. Those German companies which have strayed from this have failed (Braun)

            VW (which includes Audi), Porsche, BMW, Mercedes - You won't find a manager with influence at any of those top auto makers who would claim that the purpose of their company was to "maximize shareholder value". The purpose of their companies is to make the best vehicle possible in each of the segments they are active in.  

            As others here have implied, Boeing has already jumped the shark. In a way, they were trying to emulate the EADS model - but they failed to understand that communication between, say, Italy and France is a far different thing from communication between Italy and Japan. THe differences are both cultural and physical. You can pop over to Italy from France to fix a budding problem differently and more conveniently than you can travel between Italy and Japan and the US. I'm sure managers think: "Hmm, I've got these modern communications..." Sorry. Hands on project management is still essential - cultural alignment is essential when trying to coordinate between different (out)sources of different parts of your project.

            I've been following the Dreamliner since it was first presented to the public - it must be some 10 years or more now. Lufthansa employees laughed at the concept - the attempt to "mirror" the EADS model - which was born of EU necessity (all those egos and coffers to fill). Boeing had problems from the very fist deliveries.  Their incompetent management did nothing. They are still having some of the same problems they did at the beginning of the establishment of the assembly process.

            This is a US corporate failure. Board-level bullshit -  everything is SNAFU, so no worries, ey?

        •  I don't think that's entirely accurate (0+ / 0-)

          they made a very big push into CCDs, but couldn't quite seem to make a business of it.

          I'm sure that in part you're right - they just couldn't let go of film, but I think they tried.

          big badda boom : GRB 090423

          by squarewheel on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:34:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  and by the way (0+ / 0-)

          they made very good ,very high quality CCDs which might have been the problem.

          since it was not mass market they simply couldn't make enough money to sustain the business.

          big badda boom : GRB 090423

          by squarewheel on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:36:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  US corporations have forgotten (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, mmacdDE, Just Bob, midwesterner, rbird

        how to be really competitive.  They're so accustomed to a favorable business environment here in the US where they have no real competition and lots of protection in the courts.  

        They naively believe that foreign corporations will play by the same rules. They don't. They're much more cutthroat and feel no need to honor US laws. Why should they?

        Our corporate leaders have gotten fat and lazy.  That they're now being exploited by the same foreign companies they stupidly outsourced everything to is not surprising.  

        Perhaps they'll learn some important lessons. Or not.

        Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

        by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 01:53:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Really it is more about showing quarterly (0+ / 0-)

          earnings that is killing the US corporations more than anything else.  They are sort of in perpetual fire sale mode trying to impress Wall Street.

          They do things like launch new products in order to impress investors whilst ignoring core business that keep the companies going and end up losing it all.  

          One of the great examples of the short-sightedness of current business models with respect to labor was Circuit City.  That retailer was doing really well and their success against competitors was attributed to the fact that they had a knowledgeable and experienced sales force.  The people selling and their high level of competence was considered to be a real driver in their sales numbers.  Then the CEO and the board decided to fire every one of their experienced (and more expensive) sales force and replace them with cheap and inexperienced sales people.  I think it was less than 24 months before the company was in trouble and eventually they went bankrupt.  

          People make a difference.  Experience and qualifications make a difference.  In the case of Circuit City we weren't even talking about people actually designing and building what they were selling.  

  •  outsourcing may be (10+ / 0-)

    part of the problem, but the FAA (and, presumably, NTSB) are focusing on leaking lithium batteries. Really leaking, as in through the outer skin of the plane.

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:09:37 AM PST

  •  Kind of putting the cart before the horse (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k8dd8d, NoMoJoe, JayBat, BachFan, elwior

    aren't you? As noted above, early investigations are focusing batteries not the outsourced composite materials.

    "I smoke. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your fuckin' mouth." --- Bill Hicks

    by voroki on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:20:27 AM PST

  •  As a country, we are too cheap for our own good. (20+ / 0-)

    Houses and shopping centers built out of styrofoam and vinyl to a 30 to 40 year life span, bridges for a 50 year lifespan (Tappan Zee), and replacement of escalators that are 15 to 25 years old (Glenmont and NoMa stations) in the Washington, DC Metrorail are prime examples.

    Penny wise and pound foolish.

    •  profit over engineering (and experience) .. (8+ / 0-)

      Without knowledge of specifics, it's easy to imagine all the possible causes of the problem, from the original design spec. for the batts., wiring, circuitry... the manufacturing and testing of the quality of those three components once manufactured.. and finally, the adequacy of testing while replicating actual working conditions (and extremes) once the power system components are assembled and working together.

      As the complexity of our systems (in this case, an airliner) increases, the perceived need to "do it cheaper" increases pressure on all the peripheral requirements to be done more quickly (ie: less thoroughly or eliminated) - since there are so many steps involved.

      The people that have lived through enough of these processes develop a "feel" for when something isn't right - and hone their out-of-the-box thinking to repeatedly save the day, and often the *sses of those tightening the screws above. Once their value to the process is reduced, and they are eliminated, the likelihood that failure is the end product becomes almost inevitable.

      Not that I have any pent up hostility from working in our corporate world., where did I leave my torches and villagers?

      by FrankSpoke on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:10:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Another issue in airliners/aerospace (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FrankSpoke, mmacdDE, Dogs are fuzzy

        Clean-sheet (or nearly so) designs are so rare that engineers can go through a full career without having worked on one.  

        Getting to work on more than one must be quite rare.  The 707/727/737/757 fuselage width has been around over 50 years.

        Yes, I know that commonality between a 707 and a 737-800 is quite small, but it has been evolutionarychange--not clean-sheet.

      •  Profit over all. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, FrankSpoke, Bronx59

        The new mantra of Wall Street backed businesses.

        "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

        by elwior on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 01:15:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  the *establishment's* mantra .. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, Bronx59

          There seems to be no other directive so universally revered by any policy maker, big or small - on or off Wall Street.

          "Well, of course, we couldn't possibly restrict the ability of X to be profitable."

          While they slowly poison, or directly kill, various groups of citizens locally or abroad. Oh well.. the cost of doing business. You are Pro-Business.. aren't you?

          Being short-sighted seems a pre-requisite to every investment endeavor.

          Sometimes I'm glad I don't have kids to inherit the mess this is creating.

, where did I leave my torches and villagers?

          by FrankSpoke on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 02:48:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  And as internet user (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      its easy to armchair engineer airplanes.

  •  But this is nonsense (13+ / 0-)

    Boeing (and all aircraft manufacturers) have outsourced many critical parts and subsystems for decades and as far as I know, have never manufactured the Li ion batteries such as those now causing a problem.

    Do people realize, for example, that neither Boeing or Airbus design or manufacture the engines that propel all of their planes?  Yes, folks, this vital component is outsourced.

    Certainly the 787 program has used an unprecedented level of outsourcing and it has caused some problems that seriously delayed the introduction, but the solution is never going to be "doing everything in house" because no single company has the technology and resources to do so.

    The current problem with the batteries is technical and will be solved by Boeing and the supplier. You will not see Boeing making Li ion batteries any time soon. They will remain "outsourced".

    Therefore, characterizing "outsourcing" as the problem is frankly ridiculous and not going to provide political traction on the issue.

    So this is the rare occasion when I suggest a front pager to edit or delete a diary that is based on a false premise.

    It's simply nonsense.

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:40:29 AM PST

    •  Enjoy the meme (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko, Shockwave, Roger Fox, JeffW, elwior, SpamNunn

      Please, enjoy the meme.

      "If only this airplane was screwed together using good Union labor".

      •  Union workers do have (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        judyms9, midwesterner

        the institutional memory. The engineering staff sure don't, they jump around in short intervals to higher positions.

        In my last job it was all "put on blinders" don't ever apply the experience and knowledge that enabled you to get into inspection.

        At least the technician support was also up from the tool box.

        •  I'll give you that point (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Experience does count, for line technicians, engineers, machinists and everyone else on a project. At the same time, "retired in place" and protected by seniority, aka last hired first fired, or other reasons is bad news.

    •  Completely agree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PD Steve, BachFan, SpamNunn
      So this is the rare occasion when I suggest a front pager to edit or delete a diary that is based on a false premise.

      It's simply nonsense.

      We must drive the special interests out of politics.… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will neither be a short not an easy task, but it can be done. -- Teddy Roosevelt

      by NoMoJoe on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:21:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Disagree - outsourcing is still a factor (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wader, Miggles, elwior, Jay C, rbird, squarewheel

        It may not have created the problem with the batteries - but it is making resolving that and all the other issues much harder. The " flat earth" is proving to have some rough patches.

        "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

        by xaxnar on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:58:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yep, Boeing probably doesn't have anyone in-house (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, rbird

          who is 100% versed in all the details of the affected subsystems sufficiently in order to make a fix.  Boeing has two choices: (a) pay more money to outsource the fix, or (b) get some in-house engineers trained and up to speed on the affected systems.

          •  And the people they are working with (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mmacdDE, Miggles

            Are in widely separated time zones. Just coordinating that is a problem.

            "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

            by xaxnar on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:54:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  so are you suggesting that boeing should make (0+ / 0-)

          lithium ion batteries ?

          that would be ridiculous.

          it makes absolutely zero sense for them to do that.

          the more interesting question is this : why did they use something which is a known firehazard on an airplane ?

          then again, jet fuel is a known fire hazard...

          big badda boom : GRB 090423

          by squarewheel on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:40:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Absolutely; engines are always bought/sold (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DeadHead, Just Bob, koNko

      separately from the airframe.

      It's like saying that the cause of my PC breaking down is because HP didn't make the processors itself, it outsourced them to Intel.

      "Specialization is for insects." -- Heinlein

      by BachFan on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:29:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  These aren't engine problems, though. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dogs are fuzzy

        The fire in Boston was caused by the auxiliary electrical system that was designed for use when the plane's engine is not on.  The fire was so bad that it couldn't be put out by the people cleaning the plane with the available fire fighting equipment - it required the airport fire brigade's intervention.  Would suck if that happened in flight given the difficulties of the logistics of getting professional fire fighters up to a plane at 30,000 feet.

        •  I was responding to koNko's comment above (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          (actually, backing up the comment) which made the point that parts of planes are ALWAYS outsourced.

          Neither koNko nor I said that engines were the problem with the 787s ... please don't drag red herrings across the trail.

          "Specialization is for insects." -- Heinlein

          by BachFan on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:57:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Does Boeing make Li ion batteries? (0+ / 0-)

          It seems there is a design fault at error here; that the might be scenarios where the batteries would overheat when charging, requiring either (a) a cooling system; (b) system lockout from charging under certain scenarios, or; (c) choice of another electrode material.

          Pretty classic design fault. So the question is whether this was the result of the system and/or people who did the work.

          And it's a big mess for Boeing because it sounds like there many not be a quick fix.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 01:54:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Nope (13+ / 0-)

      It's true Boeing has always outsourced jet engines. They also have always had an engine R&D group (I know one of the managers) that has worked with engine manufacturers and done extensive testing and modeling on engine designs.

      What Boeing has done over the last 10 years though (and I know retired Boeing managers involved there also) is outsource their core competencies - things like wings, airframe, and the sub-assemblies and piece parts that go into them.

      And what it seems to me they've done is both reduce in-house engineering and manufacturing expertise at the same they've drastically increased manufacturing problems in all areas (that's been documented), so that they have less time, fewer personnel, and loss of in-house expertise to deal with problems that might have been caught otherwise.

      It's equally nonsensical to believe that a high-tech company can take years of acquired institutional knowledge about complex products and throw it all out the door by outsourcing it to companies and workforces that lack not only the necessary experience, but in some cases the basic education to be able to produce the products or subassemblies they're supplying.

      The 787 seems to be just the latest example of the Yugo, which was based on a functional Fiat design that Fiat could build successfully and became possibly the most dysfunctional car ever built.

      It's only in MBA-land where people and companies are perfectly interchangeable - in the real world, not so much.

      In Soviet Russia, you rob bank. In America, bank robs you.

      by badger on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:39:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

        This is a management issue. And particularly in the case where:

        (a) a decision was made to radically alter the manufacturing strategy, and;
        (b) Do so for a product design where a high content of new technology not previously used on the scale required.

        IOW, they did a lousy job of managing the change and bit off more than they could chew.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 01:57:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then the diary clearly isn't nonsense (0+ / 0-)

          as you claimed in the post I responded to.

          In Soviet Russia, you rob bank. In America, bank robs you.

          by badger on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 12:02:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Blaming the battery failure with "outsourcing" (0+ / 0-)

            Is nonsense. That is what I said.

            To my knowledge, Boeing does not produce Li ion batteries so regardless of how little or how much they would outsource in general, that item is likely to be a "buy" not a "make" in any case.

            And I would add, that regardless of whether Boeing might have some problems related to outsourcing (I'm sure they do with all of their suppliers regardless of commodity or location) not every problem is automatically an "outsourcing" problem, and that is the conclusion the diary and a fair number of commentators here seem to be doing.

            We really don't know the cause of the problems so jumping to any conclusion at this point is a bit premature.

            I think it's a bad idea to automatically equate any problem that occurs with products of multinational supply chains (which would include the majority of complex high tech products produced by just about any company) with "outsourcing" is a bad idea because (a) it totally irrelevant in many cases (b) when it precedes an actual definition of the the problem it speculative, and (c) when proven not to be the case it makes the person advancing such argument look ridiculous.

            And there is no contradiction for me to say this on one hand, and address the problems Boeing made for itself on the other.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 09:00:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Boeing went waaay overboard outsourcing this plane (13+ / 0-)

      You are wrong in making your sweeping claims in this instance and I know that for a fact.  I have an intimate knowledge of both the industry and this company, having worked for Boeing for 32 years.

      Boeing created a supply chain that would baffle Rube Goldberg, and it has cost them dearly in delivery delays and cost overruns.


      Excessive outsourcing probably added 140% - 260% to Boeing's 787 launch costs

      Electing people who don't believe in government to Congress, is like installing an atheist as pastor of a church. If they don't believe in the institution or its goals, they won't care if it does a good job for its members.

      by Lefty Coaster on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:41:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Vertical integration rules (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        But it is out of favor with Wal*Street because they want to outsource everything — including expertise.

        I guess the outstanding example of vertical integration was the Ford River Rouge plant.

        As an example of outsourcing vs. vertical, check out this simple bean comparison at Taco Bell. They cook their own refried beans from scratch, but buy ready-made black beans for some new menu items.

        Pinto Beans, Soy Oil (Trans Fat Free Shortening with TBHQ and Citric Acid to Protect Flavor), Salt

        Water, Black Beans, Onion, Canola Oil, Flavor (Filtered Water, Yeast Extract, Dextrose, Salt, Corn Starch, Corn Oil, Flavoring, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder And Turmeric), Modified Corn Starch, Salt, Chili Powder (Chili Peppers, Spices, Garlic And Silicon Dioxide (Free Flow Agent)), Granulated Garlic, Granulated Onion, Chili Powder (A Blend Of Chili Peppers With Not More Than 2% Silicon Dioxide Added To Prevent Caking).

        "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

        by Crider on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 03:35:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  completely disagree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KJG52, Dogs are fuzzy, badger

      I have friends and family at Boeing who worked on this plane and from the very beginning they all said that the outsourcing on this plane was a problem. Sure, there had been outsourcing in the past, but it was escalated for the the dreamliner to a degree that the production staff found unsustainable.

      My mom flew from country to country during the years in which the plane was past due trying to clean up the mess. Her and those who worked with her voiced their concerns and were ignored.

      Ask the people on the ground and they will tell you that this issue is not nonsense and that a lot of them predicted there would be problems like this.

    •  Who spec'ed and tested the batteries? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Was it a 25-year veteran Boeing engineer steeped in the company's "belt and suspenders" culture? Or was it someone at a subcontractor who doesn't know how easily things go wrong in extreme environments?

  •  Always enjoy (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, Lefty Coaster, elwior, rbird

    reading your posts, and I sure do appreciate your tenacity when it comes to exposing these corporate bastards for who they really are, and standing up for the working class.  A big thank you from me.

  •  Say, I bet I can make those lithium ion batteries (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in my garage. Or at least a reasonable fascimile. And I'll do it cheaper than the Chinese. How about it, Boeing?

  •  USPS banned shipping lithium batteries... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PatriciaVa, elwior, a2nite

    ...earlier this year, so the news of problematic lithium batteries on the 787 not completely surprising.

    US Postal Service to ban overseas shipments of lithium batteries

    some plane crashes have been attributed to lithium batteries in  cargo.

    Battery-Fire Crashes Seen Every Other Year as U.S. Rules Fought

    I'm a blue drop in a red bucket.

    by blue drop on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:03:07 AM PST

    •  Li ion batteries are the worst battery tech... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BachFan, squarewheel

      ...except for all the others. Batteries as a whole are horrible technology riddled with drawbacks.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:38:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  NiMH is fairly reliable. Except for the memory (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, BachFan, elwior


        (and the crappy energy density compared to Li-Ion)

        Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
        I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
        —Spike Milligan

        by polecat on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:25:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  true (0+ / 0-)

        it's a real mystery to me why they didn't go with lithium polymer or lithium phosphate style.

        slightly less capacity but much safer.

        that's the question I want answered.

        that of course depends on whether they are really Li ion

        the media are technical ignoramuses and there's a very good chance we're not getting anything close to an accurate story.

        big badda boom : GRB 090423

        by squarewheel on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:42:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, its a federal law now, but (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayBat, elwior

      Apple and all of the rest of the computer and tech manufacturers ship you your products through all of the major carriers.  Now they say that the batteries need to be disclosed as part of the package and the shipper can decide whether or not they'll ship the package at all.

    •  I think the Mac PowerBook 5300 would catch on fire (0+ / 0-)

      because of the Li batteries.  Had one (didn't catch on fire) and was always kind of afraid of it.

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      —Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:25:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Goodthing they didn't do this... (0+ / 0-)

    ...when they built the B-52H! They'd have been scrapped long ago.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:05:51 AM PST

  •  There was likely some quid pro quo regarding (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PatriciaVa, Miggles, elwior

    sourcing of the plane's subsystems to international vendors especially if those vendors were from countries whose airlines committed to purchase of the plane.

    Also, outsourcing to me means sending work out to countries when the talent and means is already in-house but the company wants to cut costs.  This affects existing employment within the company and is bad for labor.

    Sub contracting on the other hand to me means that a company is integrating components that are not a core competency e.g. Boeing does not have a core competency in jet engine manufacturing so it sub-contracts or sources engines from manufacturers like GE, United Technologies or Rolls Royce.

    Wings are a core competency and should be kept in-house.  Michael Crighton's novel 'Airframe' was based on this concept.

    The responsibility of Boeing is to create a product that adheres to international standards of quality and safety.

  •  Dr Hart-Smith, 2001 calls out Boeing (7+ / 0-)

    An article in the LA times, Feb 15, 2011 starts with

    The biggest mistake people make when talking about the outsourcing of U.S. jobs by U.S. companies is to treat it as a moral issue.

    Sure, it's immoral to abandon your loyal American workers in search of cheap labor overseas. But the real problem with outsourcing, if you don't think it through, is that it can wreck your business and cost you a bundle.

    Case in point: Boeing Co. and its 787 Dreamliner.

    This article goes on to list some of the issues Boeing has had. Near the end of the artcle is this paragraph:
    Boeing can't say it wasn't warned. As early as 2001, L.J. Hart-Smith, a Boeing senior technical fellow, produced a prescient analysis projecting that excessive outsourcing would raise Boeing's costs and steer profits to its subcontractors.
    That prescient analysis is available here, and I recommend anyone really want to under this issue should add this to their reading list. This article was from before the quality issues made the news, but when cost overruns were the concern.

    Just your average every day Autistic hillbilly/biker/activist/union steward with an engineering degree.

    by Mentatmark on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:26:00 AM PST

    •  But it's also possible that the 787 would not have (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mentatmark, GwenM

      ...been viable had it not been for potential orders from the nations where the subcontractors are.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

      by PatriciaVa on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:43:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think that was as much of a (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, Mentatmark

        factor as the overall outsourcing craze was at the time.  Investor pressure to change the business model would have been a bigger driver.  The outsourcing sites that were selected were surely used as leverage to drive sales, though.

      •  It's like the military contracting that spreads (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        their business into dozens of congressional districts.  This guarantees support in Congress when their lobbyists come calling.

        More suppliers, more transportation, more problems with coordination among the technical people.  It's massively wasteful economically and environmentally.  The product suffers.

        Imagine all the people, living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. John Lennon

        by GwenM on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 03:12:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The Seattle Times has been reporting (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayBat, elwior, Mentatmark

      on the issues with Boeing's outsourcing and their labor downsizing pretty comprehensively for years now.  None of this is really new except that some of the worst predictions made by people who thought that the change in their business model was going to cause the company trouble continue to be proven more right than wrong.

      •  The issues that are currently showing up... (0+ / 0-)

        ...aren't something that I would rate as a "big problem". Most aircraft have these types of issues when they first are produced (maybe a little less severe, but...).

        Boeing is going to work with its suppliers, release some ECOs, and eventually these problems are going to go away.

        I could be wrong, but I doubt that Boeing is going to have substantial recurring engineering issues like these issues. I suspect that any issues they have with outsourcing are going to be supply chain and delivery problems.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:27:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped and Rec'd as I said the same thing the... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, elwior, GwenM

    other day when my wife and I were talking about the fact that how can you have some consistency with QC when everything is manufactured and built in so many places?  The manufacturing model suffers when this tactic is employed and the end product is prone to faults.

    Outsourcing:  Not just for Boeing anymore.

    “The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” — Marcus Aurelius

    by LamontCranston on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:31:13 AM PST

  •  Boeing's treatment of workers... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, Lefty Coaster, elwior, a2nite, molls

    is the main reason I opted to not consider them for a job when I left the Navy.  I would have been one of those low level workers who gets laid off every few months...

    "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

    by cardboardurinal on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:39:02 AM PST

  •  Their CEO gets an approximately $20M compensation (4+ / 0-)

    package these days, even without a bonus for meeting developmental/deliverable milestones (i.e., the Dreamliner project has had problems for awhile).

    So, he's rather immune to these kinds of issues and can afford to outsource his way to a lower quality product, at least for awhile.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:43:17 AM PST

    •  One wonders why the customers - the airlines (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, elwior, a2nite

      who basically invest huge sums in down payments do not have more say in how the CEO is compensated when they are waiting around for planes that should have been delivered years ago.

    •  This is what always gets me... (7+ / 0-)

      Here's what happens.

      You pay the CEO enough money so that he doesn't need to work another day in his life & will live comfortably.

      So, the CEO is incentivized to make reckless gambles. If they pay-off, he does incredibly well. If they don't? No worries, he just walks away.

      If he feels like it, 5 years later he & his buddies rewrite history and convince another board of directors to hire him because he's experiened, etc.

      Put another way - when you pay a CEO enough to live 5 lifetimes in opulence, they have no skin in the game.

      Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

      by walk2live on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 01:32:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Being Built is One thing (0+ / 0-)

    Does anyone know who are where these are being fixed at?

    Is that outsourced also?

  •  Boeing has more problems down the road (11+ / 0-)

    They've exported technology and expertise to potential future competitors, financing their learning curve. They've also created a whole bunch of companies that will be underselling Boeing in the spare parts business. Plus, because so many components have to be shipped from around the world, they're vulnerable to increases in fuel costs.

    But at least they showed those uppity workers something.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:06:15 AM PST

  •  Corporate slow-motion suicide in progress: (8+ / 0-)

    1) Treat workers like shit, try union-busting, outsource most work.
    2) Develop and market a new plane using all sorts of risky new technological short cuts, using that shaky new outsourced system.
    3) Act shocked, shocked when the plane turns out to be full of gremlins and gritches, like leaking batteries and intractabe electronic problems.
    4) Watch in dismay as airlines drop your product in favor of Airbus products
    5) Watch in horror as stock price craters
    6) Fuck your workers by cashing out prior to the collapse
    7) Sip your little cocktail on the beach in the Caymans and write your memoirs.

    •  Who cares if it works? We're making money. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lefty Coaster, a2nite

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:32:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are they? (0+ / 0-)

        That remains to be seen.

        They've got about 500 of these planes still to be delivered.

        The airplane building business is based on orders and payments made by the buyers - airlines being the primary customers.

        If the 787 design proves to be too problematic to try to salvage, there is going to be a pretty intense economic consequence.  IIRC, AA took the September 11th bailout money they received from the government and put it towards ordering new planes.  They haven't ordered 787s, but I think they are counting on another Boeing model.

        There's a lot of potential weirdness here.

    •  One more (0+ / 0-)

      5.5 Blame an unfavorable business climate for the reverses.

  •  warned in 2001 in report (0+ / 0-)


    pdf copy available at:

    "The only person sure of himself is the man who wishes to leave things as they are, and he dreams of an impossibility" -George M. Wrong.

    by statsone on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:38:24 AM PST

  •  Other airlines have similar problems (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    judyms9, KJG52

    with regard to maintenance, which is outsourced all over the globe. The FAA has no way of tracking or supervising any of this work, which used to be done by local certified workers.

    "The Democrats have moved to the right and the Republicans have moved into an insane asylum." ~Bill Maher

    by Constant Comment on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:05:27 AM PST

  •  This means that (0+ / 0-)

    when things go wrong, Boeing has to trust another company to fix the problem. Chances are that most of the expertise to sort out what's wrong aren't even employed by Boeing. Instead the experts who find and fix the problems owe their allegiance to someone other than Boeing. And, when push comes to shove that will be a big problem.

    The only trouble with retirement is...I never get a day off!

    by Mr Robert on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:14:39 AM PST

  •  hey now... let's not start putting "safety" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster, elwior, a2nite

    over the rights of investors........

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:21:11 AM PST

  •  I feel like a lot of people here... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BachFan, SpamNunn, Mr Robert, squarewheel

    Have a very unrealistic view of how complex pieces of equipment are made. Outsourcing in and of itself is not a bad thing.  Do you think Boeing makes all of the microchips and control systems in the plane?  Boeing is not in the business of making those things.  Those things require a lot of expertise that Boeing does not have.  Yes, they could hire people who know how to do that, but why?  Other companies have been making them for years and can do it cheaper and better than Boeing.

    Fitting pieces that are made by other companies together is part of every complexly engineered system today, and companies have systems to handle that.  Every modern car is significantly outsourced as well.

    That said, outsourcing because you don't have the expertise to do something and outsourcing because you want the cheapest possible solution regardless of quality are two different things.  So possibly Boeing has gone too far and this is the result.

    But being outraged because of outsourcing in general is extremely unrealistic.

  •  I do have to say (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that in business class, it is a really nice plane.  The humidity is much better than a 747 and I felt much better getting off the plane.  Flying it to Japan I felt fine because we hugged Alaska and Russia and what not, but flying back to LAX we went straight across, and I admit I was a bit nervous.  They will figure it out soon, all new planes have issues.  

    What would Bulworth do?

    by Progrocks on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:36:37 PM PST

  •  Outsourcing is Boeing's method of union busting (6+ / 0-)

    Form follows function -- Louis Sullivan

    by Spud1 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:44:14 PM PST

    •  But it busted the company instead (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, judyms9, Lefty Coaster, Spud1

      The race to the bottom for cheap labor eventually catches up with corporations - shoddy workmanship, materials and overall poor quality.  

      Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

      by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 01:39:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Guardians comment (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, midwesterner

    Why Boeing's 787 Dreamliner was a nightmare waiting to happen | Business |

    Arguably, it is not just Boeing's fault that the Dreamliner wasn't ready. Boeing is a powerful force in Washington. Barack Obama toured a plant working on the Dreamliner last year and chose Boeing boss McNerney to chair the president's export council in March 2010.

    Consultant and former airline executive Robert Mann said Boeing's clout put pressure on the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to speedily approve the Dreamliner, despite its radical design and manufacturing process. The Dreamliner is a huge black eye for Boeing, said Mann. Ultimately he believes the company and the plane will pull through but the industry needs to take a good look at what went wrong.

    Even after all those delays and teething issues the Dreamliner was passed under a very compressed schedule, said Mann. "And there was an electrical failure and an emergency landing during the test-flight programme," he said. "That was blamed on a 'foreign object'."

    Mann said the FAA's mandate changed under administrator Marion Blakey, appointed by president George W Bush in 2008 as Boeing was working on the Dreamliner. "Blakey saw the FAA as a 'customer services organisation,'" said Mann. The FAA was working with the airlines to cut regulation, not to impose it, he said.

    Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

    by ceebs on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:50:04 PM PST

  •  Why Lithium Ion technology? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    K S LaVida

    I don't understand why this is still being used when there is Lithium Manganese, Lithium Phosphate and probably some other technologies to safeguard the electrolyte leaking & shortcircuiting.  

    Granted the design has been many years in the making but is that an excuse not to update your batteries which are essentially "plug and play" replacements for older ones

    Very odd decision to me.

    People, not corporations. Democracy, not totalitarian capitalism. Fuck the NRA.

    by democracy is coming on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 01:36:29 PM PST

    •  Highest density, highest risk (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      democracy is coming

      I agree that the choice of lithium-cobalt was poor.  Lithium-cobalt batteries have a higher density than other chemistries, but they're potentially explosive.  Cell phones and laptop computers, both very weight conscious, usually have them.  But larger applications are usually best served by, well, safer ones.  The weight savings just aren't worth it on a plane.

      Lithium-cobalt batteries need plenty of heat sensors and other electronics inside them to stay safe.  The ones on the plane are, judging by the one picture I saw of one being removed, rather large.  There's not much experience with that size in that chemistry, mostly, I'd guess, because no sane person would use it.  I suspect Boeing will want to quickly retrofit something else there, but it may take a while to come up with a substitute and validate it.

      •  Not a simple retrofit (0+ / 0-)

        Lower energy density means the safer ones will take more space. That means whatever was next to them has to move. By the time all the dominos have fallen it's potentially a lot of expensive redesign, all of which must be retested and requalified.

  •  Thank You! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert

    I've been saying this all along about the new Boeing jets.  Having outsourced everything, there's no way to adequately insure quality control. Period.

    Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

    by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 01:37:53 PM PST

  •  Boeing was also 8 years late on the delivery (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, mmacdDE, molls

    of the plane. In part because of outsourcing but also because of a program started in the 90's to get rid of people over 50 via a variety of means. They then ended up with an inexperienced workforce and a more complicated production process.

    If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

    by shigeru on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 01:41:03 PM PST

  •  Sadly, the spin elsewhere (bloomberg) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

      is in full time CYA.

       Interesting that this article fell off their front page and now they are leading folks to a video - that is trying to blame the Unions.
        In that true disconnect:  outsourcing to Korea is in the linked story, but now that is disregarded to highlight Unions...but then again this is Bloomberg - that changes it's story to match their own perceived reality as the day goes on.

  •  I really don't see the problem here. (0+ / 0-)

    After all, I've never had a problem with riding some 2 miles above the earth in the belly of a vulture-capitalist death trap.  It's the Amurrrrrican way, isn't it?  Just ask President Romney....

    Proponents of gun violence own guns. Opponents of gun violence do not own guns. What part of this do you not understand?

    by Liberal Panzer on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 01:55:23 PM PST

  •  The problem is the new, shaped batteries they (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    are using.  They overheat.  Nothing to do with "outsourcing" related quality control.  

    The GS Yuasa lithium-ion batteries used in the 787 are operating at temperatures above their design limits for some reason, and causing adjacent wires to catch fire.  

    The lithium ion design was chosen because it's the only type of battery that can take a large charge in a short amount of time.

    Ford doesn't make car batteries.  Coca Cola doesn't make high fructose corn syrup.   Boeing doesn't make its own batteries.  So what?  I don't get the point of this diary.

    Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

    by SpamNunn on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 01:58:21 PM PST

  •  I would urge caution, with regard to judging... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SpamNunn, slampros, BachFan, Amber6541

    ...ALL outsourcing as being the same. Some smaller companies make highly specialised sub-assemblies, which larger companies cannot. For example, Messier-Bugatti-Dowty, a French-based company, is one of the world leaders in undercarriage, wheel and carbon-brake systems for airliners.

    Shorts, a well-known and respected Irish aircraft company, successfully made hundreds of undercarriage door assemblies for the 747.

    Not ALL outsourcing is just need an aerospace management who understands the technical problems which need to be solved.


    (former Member, Technical Committee, UK Airport Operators Association)

  •  If management can't fix the problem, FIRE them (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Unfortunately, the workers will take it on the chin as well if Boeing gets a black eye over the 787.

    "The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave." -- Patrick Henry

    by BornDuringWWII on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 01:59:55 PM PST

  •  Knew from beginning Boeing business plan doomed! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, zinger99

    Several years ago, while working for a national title insurance company, we were presented with a plan to outsource our title searches to the Philippines. Commercial Real Estate searches involving property in major US Cities are incredibly complex. The idea of farming out the title searches to Asia was mind boggling to say the least. Fortunately, the plan never materialized. However, those business guys who came up with this hair brained idea to save a few bucks eventually pushed the company into bankruptcy.

    When Boeing announced its plan for the 787 I knew it was a loser. Too bad! Boeing's a pretty good and important US company Unfortunately, instead of cutting their losses and rethinking their plan, they're doubling down on a loser1

  •  Everyone at the top appears to come from the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Amber6541

    finance side of business or gets so wrapped up in finance that they forget the business is about manufacturing.  I think Welch at GE was in on the beginning of the outsourcing fad that ultimately gutted manufacturing in the US.  As this situation shows, gains from outsourced manufacturing are a an illusion and many are finding it out.

  •  AHAH! (0+ / 0-)

    I knew that must be the reason for the 787 failure!

  •  If only (0+ / 0-)

    They'd listened to Jay-Z, they'd only have 688 problems.

  •  Obligatory "Airplane" ref: "surely you can't be... (0+ / 0-)


    "now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." W. Churchill

    by Thor Heyerdahl on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 02:53:09 PM PST

  •  Best way to kill this off? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kwt3200, zinger99

    After they re-approve this turkey for flying, call up an airline that flies Boeing 787 jets for a reservation.  Ask after getting flight info and so on:  "Is the plane a Boeing 787?"  If so, cancel the reservation and let them know the 787 was the reason.  Refuse to fly it, and airlines will get the message, and convey that message to Boeing by not buying that jet.  Otherwise, expect its 20% reduction in fuel cost to make it more and more the jet you fly on--or that's flying over your house and head.

    America needs a UNION NEWS channel. We (unions) have the money, we have the talent. Don't buy 30 second time slots on corporate media, union leaders; fund your own cable news channel and tell the real story 24/7/365

    by monkeybrainpolitics on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 03:02:09 PM PST

  •  Boeing has outsourced... (0+ / 0-)

    major systems for decades: engines, landing gear, etc.

    And in order to win foreign business, foreign governments want work in their countries; you can't avoid it - in any industry.

    BTW, there's a LOT of 787 work in THIS country.

    I'm a former Boeing employee.

    And the left constantly harangues the right for its use of "boogeymen" while you do exactly the same thing.

  •  The article makes a good point but (0+ / 0-)

    the reason for the Dreamliner's problems are not just a lack of centralized quality control because of outsourcing; rather, the central problem here is Boeing's race to the bottom in costs.  Boeing knew full well the dangers on putting litium ion batteries in a pressurized airplane.  They ignored these dangers and "lobbied" the FAA to allow them to do so.  The FAA "relented" and covered their butts with an engineering warning.  The problem with that engineering choice exhibited itself on the very first test flight of the plane.  Boeing decided to ignore the obvious and now they are paying the cost.

  •  Call me crazy... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ....but I'd rather get into a plane made fabricated from Metal alloys as opposed to plastic.

    I'm old fashioned that way.

    But I'm sure it's very high quality plastic, though.

    And plastics, after all, are the future.

    "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"

    by jkay on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 03:11:15 PM PST

  •  Not surprised. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zinger99, Dogs are fuzzy

    This company has been corrupt to the core for many years now. I left after 3 years, I couldn't take being a female working in an openly chauvinistic company (and I mean OPENLY).

    This is karma coming home to roost. Just hope nothing catastrophic happens to passengers. I'd be too scared to fly in one of these myself.

    The place went from building quality airplanes with pride, to greedily seeking "shareholder value" at all costs.

    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace" - Jimi Hendrix

    by molls on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 03:11:47 PM PST

  •  They started inventing outsourcing mid-70s... (0+ / 0-)

    but it wasn't until the 90s that they perfected that evil system of externalizing costs.

    And I thought, in about 1999 and again in 2002, yep, this is going to bite me/us in the butt.


    Ugh. --UB.

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

    by unclebucky on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 03:15:06 PM PST

  •  Related links (0+ / 0-)

    Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

    by Just Bob on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 03:18:02 PM PST

  •  Oh. You know how they do that with... (0+ / 0-)

    "white boxes"?

    You know that conglomeration of things that work not very well with each other that require an operating system like an outsourced swiss army knife?

    You don't do that with an aircraft that can't fail without killing hundreds.

    And now, like that operating system -- you know -- MS-Tiles 1.0, Boeing is about the only game in town and even they are cutting corners, monopoly and all...

    Meh. Boeing.

    Ugh. --UB.

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

    by unclebucky on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 03:18:10 PM PST

  •  Is there any evidence (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dogs are fuzzy

    that this specific problem is due to outsourcing in general, and to the specific outsourced supplier in this instance, or to lithium ion technology itself, which no matter where it's made isn't yet ready for use in commercial planes?

    There have been many problems with this plane, many due to outsourcing, but I'm just wondering if this particular problem is due to that, specifically, or to Boeing's design, manufacturing, sourcing and quality control practices in general, of which this is but one instance.

    It's a beautiful plane, btw. I used to see it flying overhead during trials when I lived in Seattle, over Puget Sound. I'd like to fly in one someday, but, not before they solve all these problems.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 03:25:41 PM PST

  •  Brings to mind an old engineering saying... (0+ / 0-)

    "A camel is a horse designed by committee"  

  •  Design was outsourced as well as production (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dogs are fuzzy

    According to the Seattle Times (can't find the article now) Boeing simply specified what they wanted the electrical components to do and let the subcontractor design them.

    I assume that there were reviews somewhere along the line (the FAA is not toothless as we see) but outsourcing your engineering is a sure road to disaster.   The firm that designed the charging system apparently had a lot of problems in the design stage according to this lawsuit.   They ended up having to argue in court that discrepencies in their engineering drawings were not nonconformities (in a whistleblower lawsuit.)

    The link is from Securaplane's law firm, touting their successfull defense of the company for firing the guy who complained.

  •  anyone know where the final assembly of the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    affected planes was done? washington? sc?

  •  Not sure this is really an outsourcing issue. I (0+ / 0-)

    used to work at another aerospace company and good chunk of parts manufacturing. The thinking was that we were an primarily an engineering company. Certain critical parts were made in house, but we had alot of people out in the field making sure that our suppliers were doing what they were supposed to be doing.

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness

    by CTMET on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:18:45 PM PST

  •  Specifics matter here, this post is not... (0+ / 0-)

    Sorry, but this post is a bit premature and borders on silly. The focus of the problems (for now) is on the Lithium batteries, which were made by a specialty battery maker in Japan (Yuasa) that has been doing this better and longer than almost anyone else in the world. So it's not like Boeing was going to avoid problems with batteries by making them here themselves...that's not what they do.

    This doesn't mean the outsourcing strategy won't need closer examination or won't create more problems down the line, but the current investigation isn't going to shed any light on this issue at all.

  •  It's years late and over budget too boot. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Around here we used to say with pride:  If it ain't Boeing I ain't going."  That was back when when Boeing was a Seattle company.  Now it's a multinational (person?) headquartered in Chicago.  So how's all that going for you  Mr. Boeing now that your a person again?

    They shut down and sold off our machine shops and local parts manufacturing facilities and put it all out to the lowest bidder.  The plane is years behind schedule and now has obvious safety problems.  Do you really want to fly in the most revolutionary plane ever designed built with low-ball parts from God knows where?  Count me out for at least a couple of years.  

    Fly American-Union Made.   Which this ain't.  

    A bad idea isn't responsible for those who believe it. ---Stephen Cannell

    by YellerDog on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:45:15 PM PST

  •  Boeing and outsourcing -- an old habit (0+ / 0-)

    This is a habit the entire aerospace industry got into back in the 1970s, for the sole purpose of spreading just enough jobs across congressional districts to keep a federally-funded project politically viable. A former PR guy from what used to be McDonnell-Douglas/North American-Rockwell (before General Dynamics and Boeing ate them all) explained it to me in an interview describing construction of Space Shuttle components: You spread the jobs as widely as possible so no member of Congress can say 'No.'

    Remains the base of how our military-industrial complex works. Only difference being, it's now also working that way in China, Malaysia, Vietnam and who knows where else.

  •  Some things are too important (0+ / 0-)

    To outsource.

    That's the bottom line.

    Besides, we need jobs here, using people that know what they are doing.

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 01:54:29 AM PST

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