Thursday, July 4, 2013

"Wait For It" or Will Success Will Be The End of "Us"

One Company's success is another Company's downfall, but what if the other company is your customer. That is Boeing's  conundrum.  Back in the day, a movie line during a "Laurel  and Hardy" was often quoted, "That's a fine fix you got us into Ollie", became a Hollywood punchline expressing falling into disaster, when intending so much. 

The piece is about the "fine fix" for the customers of manufacturers are in, when regarding purchasing the latest greatest airplane. The 787 is ten years into development, or 8 years of waiting, if a customer is found at the back of of the line, once the order is booked. If Boeing accepts your cash today on an order, an airline may wait probably 7-10 years out for delivery. Most Corporations plan in blocks of five year increments for strategic planning purposes. However, that wait time maybe fine for some airlines , but not for all.

Those who jump to the front of the line placed orders after ATO back in 2004-06, are just now receiving this year's 787 2013 deliveries. Boeing has booked 930 in total since 2004.


Order Analysis, Table I:  Boeing.com data


 2004 Orders Detail
717737747767777787Total
81521084252272

2005 Orders Detail
737747767777787Total
5504819153197967
 2006 Orders Detail
737747767777787Total
708541076100948

2007 Orders Detail
737747767777787Total
74620361102851197
2008 Orders Detail 
737747767777787Total
4562243959580
 2009 Orders Detail Order Resistance year
737747767777787Total
184573024250
2010 Orders Detail Order Resistance year
737747767777787Total
475137536590
2011 Orders Detail Delivery Starts
737747767777787Total
59474219445882
2012 Orders Detail Production Lowers Wait Time.
737747767777787Total
118472275501338

  2013 Orders Detail 1/2 Year -10 ATO
737747777787Total
67632982790


A total of 930 have accumulated for 787 orders through a 10 year period, where 67 are delivered. Boeing is now producing the 2005/2006 order book, benchmarking the backlog as 7 years in arrears for those last ordered on the -8's. Consider the 863 on books not delivered, and use a scale of 100 units a year production, it would make it 8.63 years if a customer orders today before the customer receives the 787 at its HQ's.

The customer does look at this book and also counsels with Boeing on what can be done to shorten the time Queue.

Airbus loves this position that Boeing finds itself in, and will do anything to get there as well, making it a full market saturation for production. Airbus has not delivered a customer A350 yet, and has another year or so of testing before it first delivers. Meanwhile it continues banking orders in its own long "wait for it" queue, which is now beginning to help Boeing.

Boeing has the high ground as long as productivity increases and its backlog reduces. Significant orders will trigger, once that undelivered number drops below 500, and Boeing can deliver 100 units a year. When the number drops below 500, the 787 backlog falls within most airlines five year strategic plans. Officially, when the production, price, product is locked, The Airplane War Is ON and Boeing has the waiting time advantage over airbus for some time to come. They must get to around 500-600 backlog before Airbus starts delivery. Boeing will deliver 100 787's for each year starting in 2014-16. Airbus "may" start delivery late 2014 or early 2015.

Boeing has the better airplane and will have the shorter wait time. In 2015 Boeing will no longer have a five year plan problem with a ten year wait time with its customers. Boeing's backlog will be within a relevant range of an airlines planning mechanisms, and success of the 787 is well measured by that time.Things change so fast in the airline business, a five year plan is a pipe dream sometimes. A ten year wait is a nightmare! Boeing will have achieved a shrinking of the "wait gap" by 2014. By 2015 Boeing will start to unshackle the big "Q" and take on substantial orders. Boeing will also see a glimmer of a breakeven profit sunrise on the 787.

The profit sun will rise in late 2017 on the 787 model. Reorders will begin again for fleet expansion as more than half the 787 currently on the books are flying. 


Airbus' A350 wait time is just now at parity with Boeing, except that Boeing is rapidly delivering product where Airbus is just entering the flying test phase. The more orders that Boeing delivers now, the more sales it will receive in the future. Right now timely delivery is Boeing's best salesman.

Airbus customers will remain Airbus customers until they physically start losing the market to Boeing Customers. Mixed fleets of brands will singularize once a solution is validated through competition. If Airbus' A350 cannot optimize better than the 787, mixed fleet companies have options in place to use its equipment in different competitive markets. American Airlines and United have tried to position themselves that way. In the reorder book wars it will be interesting what airline will reorder what after the A350 delivers.  

Boeing's success of a full order book hurts current year buyers, because every sale lengthens the wait for any customer. I am sure they have given every customer an opportunity to match its financing for every order that is currently in line 7-8 years out. Yes a company may shorten the wait, by ordering a -10, but that door is about closed. If you really need a -10 sometime in the future, then order it now and receive it sometime in the future.