Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Boeing Deftly Playing Two Markets

Long ago I made a prediction for Boeing, stating that Boeing would reach a break-even for the 787 project in late 2017 or perhaps early 2018. In order to break-even Boeing has to reduce the per copy production cost total below the expended investment for the 787 development bringing it to market. They, Boeing, felt that 2015 is obtainable for reaching the break-even production unit during that year.  What comes into play is Boeing two markets, the Sales Market and the Stock Market. The more 787's per month that Boeing can deliver to its customers off-sets the investor angst towards paying more for a share of Boeing in the financial market. By saying it will be in 2015, that every 787 delivered during time , will give Boeing profit dollars is an extreme goal.

After taking a glance at what Boeing has wrought in the form of set backs and change, it is well established that Break-even reality if farther out than sometime 2015. I gave it the 2017 or a little later proclamation, big deal huh? So with those divergent thoughts in mind let's ponder the process. Boeing needs an actual 10 a month delivery by years end, they can't keep piling up 787 at Paine field collecting sun light. Scattering some to Portland, California and Texas for residual work. The room at Paine will become a premium if they produce 10 units out of the factory each month when not ready for completeness and delivery. They say they will produce 110 this year, but will 110 units have its customer money prepared for that many deliveries?


  • I think some will delay deliveries in blocks of several weeks until money is supplied. 
  • I think some will not be ready for acceptance due to its own infrastructure and training issues.
  • I also believe the strain of delivery preparation will overwhelm Boeing capabilities. 
At some point in time, the parking lot at all the aforementioned locations may reach grid lock as Boeing won't slow down its ten a month and then 12 a month at the factory door. Does that pace allow for room for the its door pace on the flight line, and enable it to reach the break-even point during the next 24 months? I am just saying there are too many moving pieces where Boeing needs some slack time written into its floor plan as units are brought forward. No two production 787's are the same nor do they achieve the same factory pacing speed. The slack is completed outside even though they go through those same big doors every Xth hour. Consider the millions of parts which arrive, and may not pass testing, or correcting systems during upgrades. The nebulous production issues  make each 787 a unique work of art and those units can tend to build up outside not ready for delivery.

Boeing has a strong mitigation team for those unique situations and have planned to handle each aircraft accordingly. They also work with its customers to gain assurances that its customer will ready for delivery. Boeing has grown-up as a 787 producer of the World's most advanced commercial airplane, including the A350 family of aircraft. Boeing also has matured the 787 from its problematic examples of glitching. The 787 is ready to take to the world aviation market by storm. The 787-9 will really be that dream that Boeing had hoped for during the 787-8 push out in 7-7-2007, when it could only muster a plastic shell for an aircraft. The dream delayed by three years of do-overs, mistakes and change management is a virtuoso in concert today. If Boeing made violins, the 787 would be a Stradivarius Violin. Airbus builds really big Tubas Worthy of October Feast.  Some days I'm tempted too, to take a shot at Airbus, I'm sorry for that digression.

Back to the flight line and the two markets. The markets are in a symbiotic relationship. The sales team has given Boeing a production backlog exceeding Break-even in spite of the cost of getting all the wrinkles out of the 787 family of aircraft grew. Airbus A380 has not sold enough A380's, and will lay up short on the A380 break-even until another decade clicks off on the clock. Counting on where they will eventually sell enough A380's is a risk. The A350 family through its 900 may reach Break-even for Airbus. Enough of Airbus already! The Boeing two markets will reach its apex in 2017. The break-even units will roll out the door during that year. Sales will energize in a second tier buying spree. The financials will no longer bother with any glitches or batteries as they will have long been put to rest. Airbus will change its battery by 2017 saying, "me bad".  They will brag they are the most advanced airline in the world with its NBO battery.  Boeing will be flying the 777X in tests gaining distance towards first delivery. The two markets in 2017 converge into one big realization that Boeing's 737, 747,787 and 777 are remarkable aircraft. Fantasy? No its not, its Boeing's goal for proven Boeing Technology. Its the continuous improvement slog through Boeing's stated goals. The only change from the script is that Boeing will not Break-even during 2015 but during 2017. Once this forecast die was set, it is a matter of execution for things Boeing does best. Build airplanes. However, its wishful thinking skills needs improvement.