Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Boeing's FAA Audit, Its A Plan B

Since I was a Governmental Auditor and Audit Supervisor for a near 20 years, and they always say write about what you know. I will do just that, write about this impending Boeing/FAA audit at Charleston. Please note that Boeing has a plethora of problems ongoing at Charleston. It is "rumored that mid stage of the assembly process is a disaster. It is also rumored that assembly staff are not able to get its arms around the 787 in a sufficient manner. Even though they can eventually produce a 787 at the end of the day or year, they have much to account for in that assembly process.  The FAA is going in as if it were shooting fish in the barrel and then reporting they killed its limit.


Performance Audit Chapter 1:

Here is my take on this seven day audit? Seven days, are you kidding me, or what? 80 Auditors all dressed in, well, auditor garb.  Seven days to collect the facts from testing processes and systems and documentation that Boeing produces 787's. Seven days to interact with executives, 300 or more extras hired to assist the auditors from Boeing personnel. Egad, this sounds like a performance audit that targets a few areas under suspicion for problematic reporting, and aviation compliance. The FAA knows what it wants, and they have brought in the swat team of auditors and are kicking the doors down in Charleston, SC. 

Boeing please spin it as you will, but the FAA knows the answer before they ask the questions. The audit tests they are conducting are just validation of what they believe are happening on the factory floor. Even though Boeing is producing presumably safe 787's, they want to mop up the floor of those Boeing Keystone Cops blowing the whistles on the floor.  Because great assembly units are colliding in the factory and misplaced tools are ending up in the wrong sections of the factory, the FAA wants to know how a respected organization as Boeing, organizes the factory in this slapstick comedy of errors, before a 787 test flies around Charleston, SC.

The FAA senses, or more importantly fears that Boeing has trouble in Charleston where Boeing is getting this thing put together in a concise fashion. This audit is to prove and validate the building process and the voracity of Boeing's documents. With 80 auditors, seven days and 300 new Boeing audit specific employees, I sense trouble in the findings and recommendations.  Boeing has looked up the words "we concur" in the Boeing business thesaurus and do not like that suggested meaning.  It’s tantamount to falling on the sward and saying "we bad", sorry.

Audit test come in a variety of forms all seeking if a condition may be true or false. The audit team already have test constructed from pre audit information that suggest a problematic and common occurrence. Failures are hoped to be found and reported in findings validated per pre audit plan. Example:... it takes double the time to place a 787 on the flight line than what it does in Everett. That means something smells in Denmark and the audit team will find that answer somewhere in the competency level of the work process. A "we concur" answer comes on the audit response, means somebody gets fired at Boeing. Who, it is depends how long the audit footnotes are.

Findings:

If it’s a twenty word finding, against Boeing no one gets fired but remedial action is taken. If it’s a one page finding with an addendum, charts, and grafts or additional examples supporting the finding somebody gets fired.  Maybe a vice president change is coming in Charleston. A sacrifice, if you will to the FAA God’s.

Recommendations:

Or better stated as reprimands from the FAA, are the necessary statements leading to the "we concur" (where in Boeing's case it had not supplied to date).  The FAA recommends: "that Boeing get its act together in Charleston and fire the keystone cops as starters". Ahum, "We Concur".


Audit Response written by the Boeing legal team:

A ceremonial falling on the sward event kept in private. "After review of FAA Findings and Recommendations, Boeing has completed items 1-12 and installed a systematic process preventing error events from never happening again. These safeguards, guarantee that all instances cited by the audit findings, summarized in its recommendation will adhere to a strict compliance of the audit recommendation, and have already installed recommendations in the production environment addressing every finding."

Say what, never mind, it just works trust me?

The FAA will respond by: 'We will follow-up with another audit on a periodic basis insuring Boeing means what is says and says what it means audit format." Otherwise, known as a compliance audit.

Audits always pass in time, I know, I'm retired.