Waste in the 787 Development Process
Interesting article in today’s WSJ about the ongoing problems in bringing the new 787 “Dreamliner” to market. Sounds like a nightmare of a process.
Look at the waste highlighted in the article. On the Lean theme of “doing things right the first time”:
“The first Dreamliner to show up at Boeing’s factory was missing tens of thousands of parts, Boeing said.”
Ok, you’ll say, I don’t understand the complexities of modern global supply chains. Maybe I don’t, but look at the rework involved:
“When mechanics later opened boxes and crates accompanying the fuselage sections, they found them filled with thousands of brackets, clips, wires and other items that already should have been installed. In some cases, officials say, components came with no paperwork at all, or assembly instructions written in Italian, requiring translation.
Boeing officials thought they could work through this unexpected twist in a couple of weeks. Instead, they had to put the plane up on jacks and remove its engines and tail to get to tight spots.”
Is there any concept of “stopping the line” in the development process here? Better to scramble and go out of process with a lot of rework than to take the time to do it right?
Rejecting the idea that Boeing might be better off increasing production more slowly, Mr. Carson says, “I couldn’t stand the pain of telling a customer it’s going to be worse for them, just to make my life easier.”
It seems like they aren’t subscribing to the idea of “going slow to go fast.” Boeing set up this global supply chain and chose the suppliers. Now, they seem to be dumping on the suppliers, saying how they wouldn’t use some of them again. And there might be good reasons for that, but how many were set up to fail through poor selection or poor planning?
I don’t know all of the answers here, of course, but it’s a real eye opener to see that much waste in their efforts to bring a new product to market. How would Toyota do this differently?