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How Boeing lost their way

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How Boeing lost their way

Old 22nd Nov 2019, 09:17
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How Boeing lost their way

“When the headquarters is located in proximity to a principal business—as ours was in Seattle—the corporate center is inevitably drawn into day-to-day business operations,” Condit explained at the time. And that statement, more than anything, captures a cardinal truth about the aerospace giant. The present 737 Max disaster can be traced back two decades—to the moment Boeing’s leadership decided to divorce itself from the firm’s own culture.
The Long-Forgotten Flight That Sent Boeing Off Course -- The Atlantic
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 09:22
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This is exactly what corporate flunkies do. I know as I'm living it right now.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 09:33
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Boeing felt they were financially underperforming compared to MDD. They felt they were seen as some old, unsexy machine building company far off to the west. So they wanted to move closer to the east coast's capital markets and closer to D.C. and moved to that -back then- fancy rude GE management style. They did not win the JSF. Stock wise it still seemed to pay off. Strategically I am not so sure for the commercial business side. They would need to invest more instead of stock buy backs. It's still a very capable company so they will recover.
Actually A and B as the top group have even moved more far ahead from the rest of the industry.

Last edited by Less Hair; 22nd Nov 2019 at 09:44.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 18:01
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Lets see how much they can shift the culture back to on of engineering following the hearings in Congress. I am will to bet once they feel no one is looking it will be back to the old ways as it costs less and profits matter.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 18:14
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Program engineers now report to the chief engineer again, not to the program leaders like in between. This is intended to make them more independent even when delaying program milestones to get things right first.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 20:34
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Originally Posted by Less Hair View Post
Program engineers now report to the chief engineer again, not to the program leaders like in between. This is intended to make them more independent even when delaying program milestones to get things right first.
In theory is should happen as you say but a company has ways of circumventing these rules.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 22:09
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This affair is so expensive even "cost cutters" must support some more traditional approach to run the business.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 22:32
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How the west was lost...

Cookie cutter MBA programs infecting corporates the world over.

Knowing the price of everything and the cost of nothing.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 22:39
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Originally Posted by Less Hair View Post
This affair is so expensive even "cost cutters" must support some more traditional approach to run the business.
As they say, if you think safety is expensive, try an accident.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 22:53
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There's an old joke (but also a truism) that used to say something along the lines of... the best airliner in the world would be designed by Lockheed, marketed by MD - and built by Boeing.

The 'old' Boeing kinda ended with the 787 manufacturing process - an aircraft that was designed by Boeing, marketed by Boeing - and built by no-one in particular...
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 23:00
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If Boeing wasn't such a huge defence contractor I would be concerned for it's very survival. Too big to fail of course and they know it. Long term, to get out of this hole they dug for themselves, they need to fire all the executives, restore the old engineering culture, and discontinue the jurassic 737 for something totally new and revolutionary. That or they will lose narrow body airplanes to Airbus for decades to come. Catastrophic for Boeing and customers that will lose leverage in pricing. What a clown show this once great company has become..
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 23:27
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The trouble with discontinuing the Jurassic 737 is that the ocean of MAXes will become valueless overnight.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 23:46
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Originally Posted by Reluctant Bus Driver View Post
If Boeing wasn't such a huge defence contractor I would be concerned for it's very survival. Too big to fail of course and they know it. Long term, to get out of this hole they dug for themselves, they need to fire all the executives, restore the old engineering culture, and discontinue the jurassic 737 for something totally new and revolutionary. That or they will lose narrow body airplanes to Airbus for decades to come. Catastrophic for Boeing and customers that will lose leverage in pricing. What a clown show this once great company has become..
With s backlog of almost 5000 737's that would be the death blow to Boeing.
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Old 23rd Nov 2019, 01:09
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Originally Posted by Loose rivets View Post
The trouble with discontinuing the Jurassic 737 is that the ocean of MAXes will become valueless overnight.
Yes, but the jury is decidedly still out on the value of the MAXes if they are not abandoned (by Boeing).
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Old 23rd Nov 2019, 07:38
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Originally Posted by Reluctant Bus Driver View Post
and discontinue the jurassic 737 for something totally new and revolutionary
Point of order: The term "Jurassic" as applied to the 737 is normally used to mean the original P&W-powered -100/-200 Series, as distinct from the "Classic" (-300/-400/-500), NG and Max.

That's the problem with a 50-year-old design - you need so many different family names.

The last Jurassic was built over 30 years ago.
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Old 23rd Nov 2019, 11:12
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Originally Posted by Reluctant Bus Driver View Post
If Boeing wasn't such a huge defence contractor I would be concerned for it's very survival. Too big to fail of course and they know it. Long term, to get out of this hole they dug for themselves, they need to fire all the executives, restore the old engineering culture, ...
That is true for most, if not all current companies that are into any form of engineering. However, I can nowhere see any signs that the trend gets reversed towards an engineering centric culture. Quite the contrary.
It is very likely that high value brand companies must totally fail in significant numbers first before any thought will be given to valuing true expert input and aligning businesses in accordance with it.
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Old 23rd Nov 2019, 15:05
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Originally Posted by Chas2019 View Post
Lets see how much they can shift the culture back to on of engineering following the hearings in Congress. I am will to bet once they feel no one is looking it will be back to the old ways as it costs less and profits matter.
So killing over 300 people, grounding the entire fleet of 737Maxs worldwide and paying airlines for all this is cheap?
The article in the Atlantic should be an MBA case study (I know, I did an airline based MBA) to show that profits and costs need to be measured over time and culture is very important. The MD people have ruined Boeing as they ruined MD with the "death cruiser" DC-10 that people in the airline business wouldn't fly on. Now they have done it again.
Boeing shareholders need to revolt and throw these MD/GE culture people out before it is too late.
We are also seeing the cost-cutting, outsourcing effects in pickle forks - parts that have been outsourced and are sub-stanadard because no-one even thought to have any kind of quality control on the parts they buy in. How many other hidden gotchas are yet to appear?
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Old 23rd Nov 2019, 15:42
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Originally Posted by AviatorDave View Post
It is very likely that high value brand companies must totally fail in significant numbers first before any thought will be given to valuing true expert input and aligning businesses in accordance with it.
This!
The attitude has spread like cancer in most industries. I am working for one of these old high value brands. I have seen slides from top management where they are bemoaning that the highest value omputer company (Apple) does not manufacture computers any more, that the most valueable telco (Facebook) does not own a single line, that the biggest accommodation business (AirBnB) does not own any hotels and the largest taxi businesses (Ueber) does not have a single taxi. Only we would make our hands dirty to make steel and plasics to cash with a substandard RoS instead of just grooming our brand and having someone else do the dirty work.
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Old 23rd Nov 2019, 16:34
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
Point of order: The term "Jurassic" as applied to the 737 is normally used to mean the original P&W-powered -100/-200 Series, as distinct from the "Classic" (-300/-400/-500), NG and Max.

That's the problem with a 50-year-old design - you need so many different family names.

The last Jurassic was built over 30 years ago.
True, but the basic airplane is still there with new motors and updated avionics. It still has the 727 nose, which makes it really loud, it still has the Herb Kelleher mandated jurassic overhead panel for fleet communality where you still have to manually select a generator for petes sake! Time to kill it and move on. Even SW is considering adding another type to it's fleet which is pretty telling..
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Old 23rd Nov 2019, 22:09
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One of the problems for Board throwing out the previous generation is that:
  1. It admits that the company were wrong. Count how many companies admit that - unless forced by courts of law.
  2. Shareholders and customers wonder if ALL the bad wood has been thrown out? Perhaps some of those left are also wrong?
The corporate instinct is to pretend that everything is fixed now and fine. Boeing no different.
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