Saturday, January 4, 2014

IAM Joins The Real World And Votes Yes For The 777X

The 51 to 49% vote to continue building airplanes for  Boeing, validates IAM workers love for buying  cars, having mortgages and gaining an education for its children. They woke up Saturday morning and could tell there children go ahead and pick out a prom dress and plan your senior trip.  Another IAM proposes to get married and an older IAM cashes in retirement and buys gold.  The NW Washington communities can now get back to doing what they do best, making Puget Sound greener than what can be made green by raising property taxes in 2014. "These are a few of my favorite things" shouting out from the Olympic range of mountains as Boeing caused the Union to blink, then think and by a slim 2% edge, confirm that $25 dollars an hour is better than 26 weeks of unemployment at $375 a week, is the only choice.  IAM has corporate's number and will at some point in time come back, and make the point, "we took a bullet for the team", mantra will haunt the newer Executives who will go 10 years into the future; A VP or CEO can make some serious cash before leaving in the next five years. They then will make those cheesy statements," it would be better to spend more time with the family at home and cash those bonus checks at work before a revisit comes forward in 2023 with the IAM.

Of course many things will have happened by then that will nullify the IAM. Boeing would be smart establishing an infrastructure of engineering schools and machining arts at a non union manufacturing cabal in order to blunt more Union agitation down the road. One thing Boeing could do is just fail to address labor in the long run and go fish off shore.  However, if they want to put Airbus away as a second tier manufacturer they really need to stop procrastinating with its people. In Boeing South Carolina (BSC) they run 12 hour shifts, hire raw worker unfamiliar with aviation and turn over a large workforce of burned out workers. That dog won't hunt any longer. They have to take care of its work horses. They need real leadership for its workforce, with both the labor and front office coming together in a plan. Management by memo or walking by is the way of the dinosaur when you delegate HR to hire 5,000 bodies to build 787's in South Carolina. After two years, they are worn out and can't put two 787's a month out the door correctly. The newly trained experience "walks" when exhausted after multiple 12 hour shifts. Labor force continuity begins to fails Boeing, as workers (newbies) are replacing burn outs who can do it, but not anymore.  The leadership failure in SC screams volumes and the failed strategy is exposed. BSC needed to successfully to deal with the IAM through a well executed labor plan. Do I need to say the obvious. Okay, I will. "The failure is in the leadership down to the floor." Cramming the factory with crazy shifts is a plan for failure. It has been studied and restudied, that 8-9 hours shifts are optimal for quality and production performance. Overtime or long shifts "only" work in burst of time. A twelve hour shift does not optimise the worker, but it may optimize some efficiency by having fewer shift transitions each day.

When a flubbed product comes out the door that effiency savings from fewer shift transitions are wiped out with great time and money. Thus resulting in only two aircraft a month, if lucky! A triage center is set up on the flight line. With hundreds of your best and most experienced workers scrambling around over and under airplanes that were moved outside to get them flight worthy. The talent is no longer in the building, it's out side receiving a repair project/updates as if it were somewhere in world broken down. That scenario is true and comes back on the leadership. Production management sucks in BSC. I know because I read the newspaper. Boeing needs its best leadership in this crises on the floor. It needs its best and most experienced machinist and engineers shoring up the product on the floor. The flight line needs to operate with a mop up crew with all its systems validation done out side.

Poor Workmanship must be retired in the factory. Last month they had a factory accident that caused Boeing to resuffle the whole line. It made several models out of sequence and delayed December production at a crusial time. The accident occured and significantly damaged the production aircraft.

My Questions:
  • Were the best people on the floor when this happened?;
  • Where were the leaders at the moment of the accident, were they outside ?
  • How long had the accident shift been running, how many hours?
Answers to these questions and other similar question may reveal my point that Boeing has given the IAM ammunition. The A Team is needed in BSC.