Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Boeing Manufacturing Spider

Boeing maybe shifting  its manufacturing footprint for the 777-X. What if it links the Puget Sound area with short rail leads to Everett, for all large parts transit points that are within a day's ride to the Everett super factory. A continuity plan that undercuts using long shipping flights or shipping of large parts on container ship. A wing plant here and a body plant there could supply the Northwest for its legacy 777-X. Think about the possibilities with Moses lake to the East, and the secret project that is going on, just North in Anacortes, Wa. Could this new super plan show like a rail spider within the Northwest, or using docks on protected Puget Sound, eliminating  exposed transworld risks. Boeing could be containing major 777-X operations to the contiguous NW!   I know this sounds far fetched but it takes fuel, transport availability, and the world-wide mitigation of risk for making the 787 fly. This maybe an inhouse move to curb that outsource appetite on its proven 777 winner.

A eye opening article opens this discussion with this Headline:

Boeing secretly testing new automation for 777X

"Inside a boat warehouse in Anacortes, Boeing is quietly setting up tests of new advanced automation methods for building its soon-to-be-launched 777X jet. Everett has a detailed plan to build the entire jet. Another option being studied is to have sections built in Japan."

The "other study" is a plan B of transporting parts in from around the  world. Boeing wants it legacy 777 to evolve in the NW as to what it can do. Shortened lines of concept development and production capacity by anchoring in the NW. Bring subcontractors closer to home in the North West and control your secrets better, than if innovation occurs over seas. Every time an advancement happens for Boeing by others they contract with, those strides may matriculate to Airbus and others when your production model is splayed out over the world." The spin-off opportunities are hard to contain with its suppliers. Boeing would like to control only what it can control in the North West

Step one: Build a better infrastructure in the North West with its spider like connections to Everett. Wings, Bodies and other flight services could converge on the Everett super factory. Small engineered appliances and parts may airfreight throughout the world to Everett. Keep controlling the big stuff from R&D to assemblies, in a steady inflow stream from the NW region. Lesson learned almost dictate this for Boeing's business model on the 777-X. Control best what you can control by bringing it home, and leave the small stuff for you supply partners and Boeing's own flexibility. 

This legacy aircraft will stay a legacy by adhering to this mind set. The 777-X is too precious to farm out as it seeks to surprise and live up to established character as the Giant killer for the A380. "Buy two for the price of..."  well anyways buy two, and carry 800 passengers before the A380 can load its 500 passengers and fly somewhere to unload for awhile. Where two 777-X's have already taken-off with another 800 passengers going somewhere. Airbus, may think that is really annoying having these 777 passenger ships, pick its profit pockets right  front and center of the public, at the terminal near you. Getting on and off on an A-380 is so congested in its specialized 550+ passenger Jetway extension. This is not new to the A-380 frequent flyer. You know them as the "been There, seen it, done it cluster". Now lets get on the 777-X and move further around the world without thinking about what it looks like for the snobs sitting above your head. "Jack", just lay back and enjoy the "Giant Killer Ride" on the 7777-X.