Outsourcing nightmare at Boeing

Posted on 21. Aug, 2009 by in Featured

The outsourcing experiment at Boeing has begun to look like a nightmarish failure. Recently they were forced to halt production of the fuselage section of the 787 Dreamliner due to defects in production. This action was taken in June and kept quiet until last week. I had wondered why Qantas cancelled their order after the wing root delay. I had suspected there was more to that story than the announced delay for the attachment points.

Boeing has been quietly buying outsource companies and then fixing their problems. You can outsource labour; however you cannot outsource expertise and competence. It reminds me of an old Navy axiom:

You can delegate authority, but never responsibility.

I’d be very curious to see the costs of this apparent outsourcing fiasco, compared to the savings. Not to mention the effect on “Company Goodwill” which is a metric when accounting for the bottom line. Who made the decision and will the Board of Directors hold them accountable? If I had stock in the company I would be asking that question.

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