Duct Taping the Dreamliner
Ok, so Boeing isn’t using duct tape in their efforts to cobble together the first Dreamliner plane. But, this blog report I’ve linked to says they were using:
“… over-the-counter parts and prevented assembly teams from being able to document the location of these temporary fasteners on the first 787.”
Why wouldn’t you want to follow the Lean concept of “building it right the first time?” Boeing proclaims to be a “Lean” company, although that has been fiercely debated here and on other blogs. It seems like management might have been pushing people to hit a deadline for rolling out the first plane (a ceremonial event, right?).
Remember what Deming said about mandating quotas and targets. Does this rob people of their joy in work? Does it rob them of their right to feel good about doing quality work?
As a result of supply chain problems, the proper fasteners weren’t available. To this simpleton, it seems like you might 1) delay the plane build and 2) fix the supply chain. But no, there’s too much money at stake to admit a delay or a problem (of course, how much money is involved with the liability of “forgetting” to replace a temporary part with a real one?).
“Flightblogger has learned that many of the temporary fasteners, which were painted red and installed in place of flightworthy parts, were purchased from run-of-the-mill chain hardware stores, including Home Depot and Ace Hardware.”
Look at all of the extra non-value added work this has created as a result:
“As a result, Boeing must now comb through the aircraft to locate, document and replace all of the temporary fasteners to prevent a single non-flightworthy fastener from flying.”
They’re going to be inspecting in quality, eh? Do you trust that they will find every single fastener with 100% certainty?
Quality is also impacted even if all of the temporary fasteners are replaced:
“The second is the challenge in physically replacing the parts. “Composite only like fasteners installed once,” according to one source working directly with the aircraft.
When it came time to install flightworthy fasteners, the removal of the temporary fasteners damaged some of the composite parts of the aircraft causing time-consuming repair.”
So which executives are getting their bonuses because the first plane was, technically speaking, rolled out on time??
Am I being too cynical? Somebody who knows more about airplane manufacturing, please chime in. I’m just a frequent passenger and stuff like this sure worries me. How should we view this from a Lean perspective? Click “comments” to participate.