19 December 2010

787. Oh When Will It Get Better?

There is no need to pour more fuel on the Boeing 787 woes. it has a lot of them. The frequency and the amount of rework is beginning to pile up. I think on an early post I opined that Boeing will probably have to throw away a few samples. At the moment there are 20 aircraft in some stage of final or completion. This is in addition to the 6 test articles.

The 6 test articles in my view will never see conventional revenue service. Of the other 20 there is so much to do that Boeing has halted the flow new production elements from its vast and now very complicated supply chain. In the end this is the perfect storm of bad design, poor quality and bad supply chain management. Fixing the issues are not as easy when you have an integrated complex set of services coming to an aircraft manufacturer who has only done this on a limited scale before.

Current Estimates of the rework items from the Seattle Times are just under 150,000.

I suggest you read the article to get a sense of the depth of the issues. It is pretty much across the board.

If we run some math on it - let's say that on average each rework takes a day. That would require about 9 years and 3 months of one person working full out @2000 hours a year. But the tasks are both likely to be longer to fix and the skills are in short supply in some of the critical areas. So again - humour my weird maths, lets say there are 500 guys who can work on this effort and they have about 25 hours a week to focus on this. That represents a 12 week, 3 month effort to get these poor puppies out the door. In my view therefore based on the current known issues Boeing is looking at a 6 month delay to right the issues - addressing the fixes so that new and corrected production quality items start arriving at the 787 line in Everett. Couple that with another attempt at a rolling start to production and that means we are looking for few if any deliveries in 2011.

Remember how last year we were hoping that Boeing would get a symbolic single copy delivered to ANA.

Boeing just needs to take the time and get it right. The curve just moves to the left.

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