If the CEO doesn’t know, that’s incompetence

By Tim Raetzloff | Oct 28, 2010

“The current stand down is at least the third since April 6”

Last week Boeing’s CEO told shareholders and Wall Street analysts, "The supply chain has not been stood down at this stage. The supply chain is moving."

The next day another Boeing spokesman said, "We're putting a pause in shipments, or kind of slowing down the system, so we can have some recovery."

The same spokesman said, “Knowledge of this latest, shorter pause wouldn't necessarily have risen to the CEO’s level.”

Are we to believe this? That the CEO of Boeing doesn’t know what is going on with the most important project Boeing has on its plate?

If the CEO doesn’t know, that is incompetence; if the CEO knows and Boeing is claiming he doesn’t know, it is fraud. Either way it’s time for the Boeing board to do its job and replace the CEO.

This story isn’t mine. Dominic Gates of the Seattle Times broke the story on Oct. 25. Nearly simultaneously, Matt Cawby of the Paine Airport Blog photographed and videoed Boeing reloading major 787 components back onto one of the DreamLifters.

The “official” Boeing explanation is that they wanted to get the parts out of the weather because of an impending windstorm. That explanation may well be true, but it brings up the question: Why were these components even delivered to Everett if there is no room in the factory for them?

Meanwhile “All things 787” reports that 787 (No. 29) was to begin production Oct. 4 but is now projected to begin production Nov. 17. This is a production delay of more than six weeks, not two weeks.

The current “stand down” is at least the third since April 26, totaling at least three months. Two 787s have been completed since March.

I am at a point where I believe almost nothing from Boeing. The only person who has been credible in 2010 is Scott Fancher, the head of the 787 program. He was first to announce two of the delays in the program; on each occasion Chicago declared that he was wrong or premature.

A little truth from anyone at Boeing is refreshing. Why hasn’t senior Boeing management in Chicago grasped the concept?

Maybe they’re too busy spending the tens of million of dollars they make. I have no personal way to reference the problem, but it must take a lot of time and energy to spend that much money, leaving too little time to keep up with what is going on in major company programs.

The 787 program is nearly three years behind schedule. We now know for certain that the 57-day machinist’s strike in 2008 delayed the 787 program by exactly zero days.

Boeing’s Chicago management gambled on a global design and supply chain to circumvent union engineers and union machinists in Everett. Boeing lost.

• • •

(Tim Raetzloff, who operates Abarim Business Computers at Five Corners in Edmonds, evaluates Puget Sound business activity in his regular column in the Beacon. In the interests of full disclosure he says, “Neither I nor Abarim have any interest in or conflict with any company mentioned in this column.”)

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.