Thursday, January 23, 2014

Is The 787 Die Set?

Boeing is making a move by bringing hundreds more workers into its Charleston factory. The local press reports, "it maybe a result of removing all impediments from the manufacturing process and catch up productivity in advance of the 787-9 factory debut". A partially true observation.

Post and Currier Link

The Post and Courier reports the following:

"Boeing Co. is adding more contractors at its North Charleston 787 assembly plant, acknowledging unspecified "challenges" as it prepares to make a new, longer version of the Dreamliner.
The aerospace giant issued a statement Wednesday after The Wall Street Journal reported that the plant could hire as many as 1,000 temporary workers in South Carolina to speed up the completion of the mid-body fuselage sections that are outfitted at the local factory.
Boeing's statement did not address any production issues and didn't elaborate about how many contractors it might hire.
"The 787 production system is ramping up to historically high rates for a wide-body program and introducing a second family member, the 787-9," the company said. "It's not unexpected that this would cause a temporary surge in work."
A view can also be taken, that its not a production solution to add up to a thousand new workers, however the die has been finally set for the 787 program, and all hands on are called on deck. Boeing has a supplier parts validation problem, glitching the the 787. Fuel valves that fail and software under preforming are part of the culprits affecting the Dreamliner. Not a failure of the factory floor!

The production die is set, so bring on the troops in Charleston, and get them into production with training on its now frozen assembly method. The days of trial and error or tweaking on the floor is done. The re-engineering phase is also frozen. It time that the supplier effort achieves a standard of non failure in its parts. The new hires in Charleston emphazises Boeing change management is complete. No more broken parts or substandard applications. Boeing will be attacking those glitches to the source, found in its suspect supply chain. They need bunches of production troops for upping production significantly in Charleston and Everret to 10 a month.

The Boeing two pronged attack is focused on production levels, and the rapid response to all in-service failures. Fuel leaks, program errors and any other mishap is the other prong for the manufacturing attack. Reliability teams are in in attack mode. The production muster will address one phase, and the strict adherence of its suppliers will address the other, reliability. Norwegian Air, Japan Airlines and Air India has had its time in the barrel of the gun and this too will come to a close soon as problems put to bed. Always improving is not a statement not for always reinventing the 787 design. 

The up scaling of workforce in Charleston is a signal shot that the 787 is ready with its teething issues and growing pains. It is the lock and load command it has been waiting for these last three years. The battery problem is an isolated problem which will continue to haunt Boeing in the shadows as a creepy problem. Boeing has that monster in a containment box. The battery issue has been sent to the lab until further notice. The 787 flies safely with or without a battery. When the 787 is on the ground, its under its upmost battery workload. Making the battery  vulnerable. In the air, flying with its battery lock box is like life vests on a cruise ship. No battery no problem, because its in its cage and can fly without it.

Production enhancement is addressed by the latest hiring announcement, as well as the implication, that its time to bring in additional workers. Because Boeing is ready and has set its set production die, therefore it needs people for when all three 787 types are in the production play, making 10 a month.