04 April 2011

Boeing Sends A Chilling Message To Suppliers

In an headline article in today's Seattle Times Business Section a Boeing Exec is profiled. She comes from a storied family. Nicole Piasecki comes from one of the pioneers of Helicopters.

Today she sits in quite a powerful position at Boeing where she is a senior member of the team evaluating what to do next with the 737. Boeing has long since given up trying to convince everyone that the 737 just needs another tweak. I doubt we will ever see a Boeing 737-1000. But the new aircraft will likely be 797, the large diameter of the next gen engines has precluded anything along those lines. At the moment Boeing is trying a whole range of things out on the public. The most radical is that a little twin aisle fat albert replacement aka 787 lite is the one they are trying out on us.

Please read the article. There is a chilling statement/threat in the article despite the nice smiling face of the lady who was the subject of the article.

'Piasecki said Boeing will strive for a more exclusive relationship with future partners, suggesting that those who also do work for rivals like Airbus may lose favor.

"Some of our very close suppliers are spending a lot of time developing stuff for other competitors. They are spending resources on others, not on us," she said. "We'd prefer that they work with us, and ... share and invest in technology for our advantage."'

Clearly a message for anyone. It was not just aimed at Airbus but also at the Canadians (Bombardier), The Brazilians (Embraer), The Chinese (AVIC, the Russians (Sukhoi and others) and the Japanese (Mitsubishi).

The one moment of tension in the article was over the decision to sell Boeing Witchita. A series of questions she sidestepped neatly. The article goes "... she briskly moved on, saying she won't "second-guess decisions that have already been made."

Given her high position inside the Boeing hierachy the question of the next site for Boeing and the unstated issue of the S Carolina facility the article carries on "...
Piasecki said Boeing is studying the possibility of a high-volume aircraft production "supersite," where supplier fabrication plants making airplane sections would cluster near a Boeing final-assembly facility.

She said if Boeing chooses that route, it may set up more than one such supersite to mitigate the risk of having such a key complex subject to disruption by a natural disaster or a labor strike." A clear shot across the bows of the Washington State government and legislature not to mention the unions.

Given that Boeing has sold much of the land around the Renton plant - the chances that Renton will be the site of the assembly of the next 737 is about the same as American balancing the budget. Boeing will go the same route it went through with the 787 and probably string it out a lot. (Lot's of free lunches for Ms Piasecki and her team). Remember that Boeing got to do this twice. Once for the Everett Assembly and then for the "2nd line" in S. Carolina.

"Hello, Boeing, yes Ms Piasecki please ... this is the state of Alabama calling...."


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