In the wake of recent incidents, today’s LA Times headline, “Regulators to Review Boeing 787 Dreamliner Design and Assembly” is disturbing news for a company that has only delivered 49 units of a total 848 orders. The price of a Dreamliner starts at US$206.8 million.
This 2007 King5 TV report emphasizes that 70 percent of the components of a Dreamliner are manufactured and assembled by foreign subcontractors who ship their parts/assemblies to the Boeing Factory in Everett, WA for final assembly. This global outsourcing business model has resulted in years of delay in roll out. How will it affect risk management and liability?
Manufacturing and suppliers
After stiff competition, Boeing announced on December 16, 2003, that the 787 would be assembled in its factory in Everett, Washington. Instead of building the complete aircraft from the ground up in the traditional manner, final assembly would employ just 800 to 1,200 people to join completed subassemblies and to integrate systems. Boeing assigned its global subcontractors to do more assembly themselves and deliver completed subassemblies to Boeing for final assembly. This approach was intended to result in a leaner and simpler assembly line and lower inventory, with pre-installed systems reducing final assembly time by three-quarters to three days
Subcontracted assemblies included wing manufacture (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan, central wing box) horizontal stabilizers (Alenia Aeronautica, Italy; Korea Aerospace Industries, South Korea); fuselage sections (Global Aeronautica, Italy; Boeing, North Charleston, USA; Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Japan; Spirit AeroSystems, Wichita, USA; Korean Air, South Korea); passenger doors (Latécoère, France); cargo doors, access doors, and crew escape door (Saab AB, Sweden); software development (HCL Enterprise India); floor beams (TAL Manufacturing Solutions Limited, India); wiring (Labinal, France); wing-tips, flap support fairings, wheel well bulkhead, and longerons (Korean Air, South Korea); landing gear (Messier-Dowty, UK/France); and power distribution and management systems, air conditioning packs (Hamilton Sundstrand, Connecticut, USA). Boeing is considering bringing construction of the 787-9 tail in house; the tail of the 787-8 is currently made by Alenia