Boeing’s extreme outsourcing
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.