Boeing long ago knew it needed to do several things:
- Leapfrog Airbus Technology and Product
- Build like crazy All Things Boeing
The two punch approach was designed to bring Boeing out of its relegated slump Airbus had put it in. A long time had passed since Airbus first produced its “joy stick” manipulated fly by wire aircraft. Boeing had long been entrenched with its custom of building individual types without having family ties.
The 737, 747, and 757 where all adopted orphans until someone somewhere in the halls of corporate made a presentation in earnest. The two fold plan unfolded on the projection screen wall.
Presentation notes goes as follows from imaginary briefings of Boeing board meetings 2003.
Boeing is chasing Airbus and not leading the industry. Airbus had a good idea that worked well. The A-300 with its quirky “Joy stick” for left handed pilots” and many other new aged innovations. Boeing is still making wires, pulleys and hydraulic assisted actuators to fly its dysfunctional family of aircraft. We could lose a lot of weight in a fly-by-wire scheme with electric motors and systems controlled by computers jumping over Airbus before it knew what hit it.
So the story goes forward in this fable. The board chimed in unison, “that’s not the way we always do it!”
“I’m not done”, went the presenter. Please serve the cocktails you will all need it before I’m done”.
“Who is that guy?” the CEO chimed in with many more abrupt huhrumphs coming around the table.
Now the presenter had the board’s attention. Okay, how many of you have a family (errr families in some cases)? Hands went up as if in fifth grade art class.
This can only work if you catch the vision and then the mission takes place. This is a vision pitch for Boeing and don’t look at that Airbus brochure because we are going in a new direction!
We don’t have a family, we have a club where all its members come from different places. The vision is to build a family of aircraft where each member can work with its siblings and parents when mowing the lawn. However, there is an undermining caveat caused by Airbus, Boeing must build it more advanced than Airbus can afford to do once the cat is out of the bag. Airbus just came up with “we can build it bigger than Boeing can” program, and poof it’s an A380 as the world marveled. Three hundred and seventeen ordered frames later somebody got fired at Airbus. Even if they were a family member.
1. Back to the laser pointer, look at the vision once again. Every member of the Boeing family can operate every member of the Boeing family. That is to say a 737 pilot after two weeks in a flight simulator, viola, Boeing has a new 777 pilot or at least a 1st officer.
2. Take your eyes off the Airbus brochure because we are talking Boeing today! Make an airplane beyond what Airbus can respond. This one is a big mouth-full of investors needed involved with this big idea and it starts with the leadership. This is critical to the “over the rainbow” strategy.
If we build an all new type of airplane, Airbus will surely follow five years late after we take five years later than expected during development. The trap is set and Airbus will step into a half measure response using “bigger” as its main attribute. We think (Intel thinks) extra wide body works well for Airbus ego after the A380 false flag. After that Boeing takes over the aviation market.
3. Boeing does yokes the best and Airbus plays games with its Joy Stick. Even though a yoke is ancient history B-17 stuff with cables, pulleys and hydraulics. The yoke becomes a computer center for its avionics suite. Even though it is not needed since a pilot could use a helmet to fly an aircraft. The yoke symbolizes how far Boeing can fly. A joy stick is under stated and a yoke between a pilot’s legs says it all. It’s Boeing. We are asking all our pilots to give up video games and fly airplanes. That is why we won’t be issuing berets to our pilots because “joy sticks” are so Euro. Questions? I thought not!
4. “Ahora nunca”, or the time is now or never as our brothers south have coined. Let’s build copious numbers of 787’s in a family of aircraft spanning the 737-797 range of aircraft. Let Airbus go wide and go long and we will intercept its sunk costs with a plethora of airplane types. Are we spending money? YES!!!. Are we making money, we hope? But what are we doing?
We are stealing the market back to Boeing where money is to be made. Airbus has bigger problems going forward in future time than Boeing will have. The Boeing technology leap can’t be copied by Airbus as they are unwilling to go all-in. Boeing is going all-in! Boeing is committed to its family of aircraft and it someday will have first flights on three new models within a year’s time. Someday a key Airbus customer will rethink its mega order committed in a sweeping reversal of fortune. Someday Boeing will sell over 1,200 787’s and during a down year and then will add a consistent number of this aircraft to its order book during the same year.
5. This pitch is to build the center piece aircraft going farther than Airbus will go while they lay-up its sales pitch with NEO proposals on older frames. Build all Boeing types around the center piece while all members at the table can feed from its innovations. Finally, win back Airbus customers as they realize Boeing value over Airbus value. Someday being a Boeing family member is the best situation coming from a prediction that a major customer from the mid-east may cancel Airbus orders and invest into Boeing orders because better is always best.
The "Over-The Rainbow" strategy is simplified by going father than Airbus is able or willing to go. It forces them to compete on the cheap with half measured innovations and its size matters theme of five more inches which in some circle is inadequate to do the job which leads to extra wide bodies. Who pays for all this stuff. In the end Airbus will pay dearly to compete.