22 December 2008 | Jake Kanter
Boeing is to restructure the supply chain function of its commercial airplanes division to tackle production problems with its new "superjumbo" aircraft.
The aviation company will bring together processes including vendor management, propulsion systems, manufacturing and quality control in a new supply chain management and operations function. A separate airliner programs function will also be established to work on production and development projects, including the 787 Dreamliner.
Boeing said it needed to improve both its oversight of the supply chain and its delivery of airplane projects.
The firm has faced a number of supply chain issues in its delayed manufacture of the Dreamliner. In April the company announced the program to deliver the aircraft would be pushed back to the third-quarter of 2009, due to a "slower than expected completion of work" (News, 14 April).
A spokeswoman for Boeing told supplymanagement.com: "The leadership moves and restructuring are being made to strengthen management and structure in key areas, with the goal of improving program execution and supply chain oversight and performance. We believe these changes better align our resources across development and production programs." The firm added that it had no clear savings targets for the restructuring.
The company has appointed former vice president of sales, Ray Conner, to take charge of the new supply chain team. Scott Carson, Boeing Commercial Airplanes' chief executive, said Conner's depth of experience would help improve vendor performance and ensure the supply chain provided "best value" to the company and its customers.