The Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which was introduced to replace the 767, is billed as one of the company's most fuel-efficient planes and is the first major aircraft in the world to have its airframe be made up of primarily composite materials. It is clear that in designing this airplane, Boeing had efficiency in mind.

However, recent news about the Dreamliner's production suggests that not everything about this airplane is so efficient. According to a Reuters report, Boeing is struggling with production bottleneck issues that may prevent it from producing these planes at an acceptable rate.

The news source reported that the Boeing plant in North Charleston, South Carolina is unable to finish orders, and as a result must send parts to a larger plant in Everett, Washington.

Though the company seeks to build these planes at an impressive rate of ten per month, few who actually work in the factories believe this is possible.

Of the workers at the South Carolina plant, one employee said that "

[T]here are not enough of them to match the rate increase. They can't keep up."

This is a classic example of a production bottleneck. As this blog has mentioned in the past, bottlenecks occur when one section of a supply chain is slowed down to the point where it actively hinders the ability of the entire operation to maintain consistent productivity.

There are many potential reasons why this can occur. Sometimes, the section in question is not large enough to accommodate demand. Other times, companies attempt to fulfill orders without enough raw materials or manpower with which to process them.

In Boeing's case, it appears that the latter is the case, especially the lack of workers. However, Reuters reported that the company has since hired "hundreds" of contract workers to get its South Carolina plant back up to speed. In addition, teams in the Washington plant will inspect the work to make sure that it is up to standards.

"While we try to minimize it, traveled work is something we deal with in all production programs," Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel told the news source. "The 787 program remains on track to meet its delivery commitments in 2014 and we are producing 787s at a rate of 10 per month as planned."

The fact that Boeing is relying on traveled work suggests that it could benefit from the use of ERP software for supply chain management. With custom solutions designed for IFS Applications, companies can easily identify bottlenecks and closely monitor the efforts necessary to mitigate them

Manufacturing bottlenecks are more than just an annoyance. They threaten a company's ability to maintain the bottom line. For Boeing, the success of the Dreamliner has never been more crucial. Thanks to federal spending cuts and a general reduction of overseas military activities, the company has seen its defense business weaken. The company hopes that speedy production of the Dreamliner will help it make a profit.

With this much at stake, it would be wise to work with IFS Business Partners like Nayo Technologies to solve the problem.

By | 2017-07-31T10:08:53+00:00 February 20th, 2014|ERP News|