Boeing's Fastener Slowdown

| About: The Boeing (BA)
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Boeing doesn't seem to be going into much detail about the "parts shortages" which have delayed the rollout of its new 787 Dreamliner by six months. But Jeff Matthews talked to a Boeing supplier a couple of weeks ago, who said that the 787 presented to the world on July 8 was put together, in places, with “fasteners from Wal-Mart.”

I don't think the supplier was talking metaphorically: as long ago as May 24 I was wondering whether a fastener shortage might hit the 787's production schedule. These little things can make a huge difference, even if they're, um, expected. Matthews picks up a fanatastic quote from a Boeing executive which is positively Rumsfeldian:

As we’ve experienced in the last couple of months, we are not experiencing things we didn’t think we would experience. We’re just experiencing slower resolution of what we thought we would find.

Translation: We knew there were fastener shortages. We just didn't get realistic about how long they were likely to last.