Boeing’s extreme outsourcing

January 20, 2011

Today’s special report from Kyle Peterson takes an in-depth look at the development of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. Boeing went further than ever before in outsourcing much of the work on the plane, upsetting its unionized workers in the Seattle area. This graphic shows why.

So what’s the result?

A revolutionary, light-weight aircraft that is nearly three years behind its delivery schedule.

With almost 850 orders for the plane — a record for a Boeing commercial plane at this stage in development — airline customers have high hopes that the company will meet its new third-quarter delivery target.

Meanwhile, Boeing’s labor unions complain of a lack of job opportunity at the company and a loss of the “tribal knowledge” mechanics, engineers and laborers have accumulated in the Puget Sound region, which is where Boeing assembles its commercial planes.

This special report examines Boeing’s approach to outsourcing and asks if there are limits to the jobs that can be shipped to outside suppliers. For other U.S. manufacturers tempted to follow Boeing’s example, there may be lessons they can learn.

Read the special report “A wing and a prayer: outsourcing at Boeing” in multimedia PDF format here.

3 comments

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So, Hosed, please tell me what outsourcing has to do with the Free Trade Agreement, and please, also, tell me how you think an aluminum aircraft would fare when hitting a wall, “….traveling eight-miles-a-minute (for months at a time)” that IMS; better than a composite aircraft?

Posted by SPEEA_Retiree | Report as abusive

The unions in this country have mafia like tactics to skim money off businesses and the workers. They are to blame for many of the businesses closing down. They enter businesses through deception of the employees and will let a business fail rather than loosening their grip and taking less money. They limit the ability of businesses to compete and ignorantly wonder why those businesses would want to go elsewhere. That’s why their numbers have steadily decreased since the 50′s.

Posted by americanguy1 | Report as abusive

Right on American Guy!!!

Boeing’s machinists’ union exists for their own benefit, not for the benefit of the members.

Apparently it’s better the union to lose union jobs, than to relax and maybe even allow for union members to pay a little bit more of what are becoming enormous medical costs. Boeing is self-insured, so all increases in the cost of medical care that result from improved medical procedures and methods are paid for by Boeing, as an employee-benefit. So, why can’t grossly-overpaid machinist share some of those increased costs? Because the union administration would lose “power” if they were to allow that, “Yes, it’s okay to charge our members more for the skyrocketing medical cost. Boeing should pay those cost without burden on the machinists.”

Posted by SPEEA_Retiree | Report as abusive