Reuters: Boeing faces challenges in raising 787 production

Boeing (BA) is struggling to cope with an increase in the production of 787 jets to 10 a month and is facing a major backlog of unfinished work, Reuters reports.

Some employees are skeptical that the company will be able to keep up the pace, with one problem being not enough skilled workers at Boeing's South Carolina plant.

The ramp up in output is important for the firm to be able to start breaking even on the Dreamliner.

Boeing said that the "787 program remains on track to meet its delivery commitments in 2014."

Separately, Boeing has said that Air India is not satisfied with the performance of its Dreamliners following a series of glitches over recent months. Another complaint is that the 787 isn't reportedly as fuel efficient as Boeing has claimed.

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Comments (12)
  • IndustryThinker
    , contributor
    Comments (38) | Send Message
    Boeing's troubles can be summed up in one word: Dreamliner.


    As you can see from the Air India article, airlines are not happy with it. But one thing worries me particularly...


    Since the big Dreamliner grounding of 2013, Boeing introduced some features which it said would stop those lithium battery fires. Well, they didn't stop. There was another one on a Japan Airlines Dreamliner parked at Narita airport in January 2014.


    How can Boeing or the airlines possibly think it's OK to have fires spontaneously erupt on an aircraft? Yes, I know that Boeing doesn't like to call them fires because of the lack of oxygen, but these things burned. I'm going to call them fires because there's no common word for something that burns into a charred mess with little oxygen present.


    Boeing had a year to work out what the problem was. I'm thinking it is the inherent volatile nature of lithium. That spells bad news for the Dreamliner.
    11 Feb 2014, 04:55 AM Reply Like
  • alkmaar
    , contributor
    Comments (31) | Send Message
    You know close to nothing about Boeing.
    11 Feb 2014, 05:03 PM Reply Like
  • combie
    , contributor
    Comments (102) | Send Message
    Manage by MBA, that is the Boeing business model.
    The supply chain is broken and internally, Boeing has many problems from bad management to leaders allowing the system to put un-qualified parts on planes to protect the schedule and stock price.
    They are moving more senior people to Charleston as everything coming out of that plant has rework and the airlines are now saying don't give me one of those.
    The Boeing leadership has focused on the stock price instead of building quality into the plane, it is starting to catch up with them.
    Boeing cannot even manage the supply chain for simple stuff like compliance to requirements. Boeing decided years ago to hire "locals" instead of moving Boeing people to these manufacturing sites for oversight. These "locals" do not have the experience or power to stop suppliers from build and shipping bad parts. Most countries, the culture will not allow them to stand up to the leaders in those facilities.
    Boeing has lost configuration control and does not manage the supply base anymore.
    They cannot even manage the raw material suppliers and support material suppliers who change products and manufacturing sites whenever they want even though the specifications say they cannot change or move without Boeing approval.
    It is a mess and will only get worse.
    11 Feb 2014, 06:46 AM Reply Like
  • tarheelboy
    , contributor
    Comments (364) | Send Message
    Boeing is fine, just gives you contrarians sometime to write about.
    11 Feb 2014, 08:53 AM Reply Like
  • PeteCal
    , contributor
    Comments (90) | Send Message
    Ditto. The Dreamliner is one of the most complex things ever built by a private company.


    It is impossible to ring out everything without thousands of hours of use under thousands of conditions. If any company can, Boeing can.
    I was an "engineer in training" when they rolled out the 747.
    It had its problems. But there wasn't 10 or 20 "newsfeeds" "spreading the word"
    11 Feb 2014, 09:37 AM Reply Like
  • IndustryThinker
    , contributor
    Comments (38) | Send Message
    Unless it was a fundamental design flaw.


    The architecture of the 787 Dreamliner, which removed pneumatics and hydraulics, and replaced it with electrical systems, was a design flaw.


    The reason is because this design MUST have massive batteries of some kind. Then batteries become a huge weight, so the design mandated lithium batteries to reduce that weight. There's the problem.


    There are still incidents involving lithium going on, such as the Dreamliner at Narita last month (Jan 2014). We're looking at the probability of another lithium incident in-flight.


    Then you'll get world headlines, even if nobody is killed. The lithium architecture affects the newer 787-9 just as much as the existing 787-8.
    11 Feb 2014, 06:39 PM Reply Like
  • msteck
    , contributor
    Comments (53) | Send Message
    Wow, you must be a x-pert on airplanes. I bet the A350 will launch without a single hitch.
    11 Feb 2014, 07:29 PM Reply Like
  • msteck
    , contributor
    Comments (53) | Send Message
    This, is why they wanted to keep 777 production in WA so badly despite the Unions borderline self-destructive demands. Who would'a thought moving production to a Podunk right-to-work paradise in the bible belt (aka America's 3rd world) would result in poor manufacture quality.
    11 Feb 2014, 07:32 PM Reply Like
  • JohnBinTN
    , contributor
    Comments (4448) | Send Message
    I don't think "Podunk", redneck USA is responsible for problems with their lithium batteries.


    P.S. Nice (not really) to meet you, bigot.
    11 Feb 2014, 08:08 PM Reply Like
  • msteck
    , contributor
    Comments (53) | Send Message
    Did you even read the linked forbes article? Stating facts is not being bigoted, the bible belt is the poorest, least educated, and least productive part of the US. That is indisputable.
    11 Feb 2014, 10:58 PM Reply Like
  • JohnBinTN
    , contributor
    Comments (4448) | Send Message
    Let me throw that right back at you - did YOU read the article?


    "The South Carolina workers have the skills to produce the plane correctly "but there are not enough of them to match the rate increase," the senior employee said."


    Nowhere in the article was the bible mentioned, nor the income rates of the local populace, nor their intelligence, nor their productiveness.


    The only thing indisputable is that you're a bigoted you-know-what.
    11 Feb 2014, 11:09 PM Reply Like
  • joegillam
    , contributor
    Comments (1188) | Send Message
    Yes, all is well until one of these "problems" cause a crash or a death. That will trim $25.00 off the share price. And, I am long BE, maybe too long!


    Joe In Georgia
    11 Feb 2014, 10:25 AM Reply Like
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