Skip to comments.Boeing engineers: Use delay to reconsider outsourcing on 787
Posted on 12/05/2010 8:19:03 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld
Union Boeing engineers want the plane maker to use the latest delay in its 787 Dreamliner program to reevaluate what the union called a failed outsourcing strategy.
Specifically, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace board Thursday voted unanimously to urge Boeing to use the delay to evaluate parts coming from suppliers and, where appropriate, bring back work that is better performed by Boeing employees.
"The outsourcing model has not worked," SPEEA President Tom McCarty said in a news release. "Recently, we've seen a few indications the company wants to reemphasize engineering. SPEEA members have the ability and experience to turn things around and protect the Boeing reputation."
The 787 is nearly three years behind schedule, with much of the delay due to issues with parts from suppliers. A fire in an electrical panel on the second flight-test 787 last month has spurred what Boeing called minor design changes to power distribution panels and an update of systems software that manages and protects power distribution, meaning an as-yet-unspecified additional delay
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After nearly 15,000 hours of flight time in Boeing aircraft (including a year of my life AIRBORNE in the 737), I can’t Boeing is worshiping at the altar of the bean counters. Go figure.
An aircraft designed and assembled by committee is not one on which I wish to fly.
I can’t figure it out either.
I cant [believe] Boeing is worshiping...
When I think of outsourced (off-shored, really) aircraft components, I think of how wonderful a job the Indians do with the oh so complex task of answering relatively simple questions over the phone, and I shudder. We’re “saving” ourselves to death with this offshore madness. Much as I loathe government monkeying with compensation, I would like execs of companies that offshore to be allowed no more compensation than what a similarly placed exec would make in the nation where they send the largest percentage of their work. Sauce for the goose and all....
Boeing worshipped and chased outsourcing, globalism, political correctness and this is what it gets— a horrible beating by it’s competitors!
Congratulations Boeing! Your disloyalty to America and Americans is being repaid in spades now!
If you do any work for the Fortune 500 (or 1000) you spend a lot of time being asked for the “China Price”. Don’t give it to them.
I know too many companies who have stopped using Indian software folks. They are okay at programming, but the communication problems with them - not only language - but trying to get concepts across - take up more time than it’s worth. The big picture stuff, the overall idea of how things are designed and sitting down and thinking things through, developing requirements, being able to verbalize it and put it down on paper. that’s the killer. That’s why so many places I know have dropped them and come back here to do the job.
If an American corporation wishes to sell to the world it has to make these deals.
It’s a two way street. The unions have behaved horribly.
Boeing was and still is under huge pressure to have some of it’s manufacturing in Europe and SE Asia.
They basically say “If you don’t give us a piece of the action, we will buy from Airbus”.
So Boeing does it - and contracts for foreign suppliers.
Then foreign suppliers basically prove that they can’t do it, or do substandard work.
And then foreign buyers blame Boeing for not meeting deadlines.
Crap flows downhill...
It isn’t merely the communication issue, which I agree looms large over the success (or more likely failure) of a large s/w project outsourced or co-developed with Indian developers.
There’s a cultural issue at play as well, and that’s the ability to think and ACT really quickly about the requirements and big picture stuff that you mention. I’ve seen (time and again) where Indian engineers could write very competent code... in that it is correct, but they could not spot the defect(s) in a requirements spec, nor question certain illogical elements in a requirements spec.
At cisco, we once got a RFQ from the USN for an optical network on a ship. The numbers looked “off” to me, so I sat down with my trusty HP-41CV and started going through them. What I found was that the Navy wanted us to not only exceed the bandwidth limits of FDDI as a physical media, they also wanted us to exceed the speed limit of light (either in a vacuum or in physical media). When I told this to marketing and management, they could not believe it, but when I sat down with them and showed them the computations, they had to agree.
I don’t like to make a sweeping generalization, but in my experience, there are damn few Indian engineers who would have done that basic checking of requirements before thundering off to write a proposal on how they were going to deliver the system, with all manner of mention of their CMM and level-5 software methodology and ISO-9000/9002 compliance, blah, blah, blah. If we hadn’t done that basic sort of sanity check on the Navy’s numbers, we could have pissed away a lot of valuable time and resources ginning up a response and getting ourselves into a quote from which there would be only an expensive escape. Most Indian engineers (and Asian engineers in general) with whom I’ve worked are much more reticent to stand up in a meeting and say “Hey, that won’t work!” when someone tosses out a foolish or idiotic requirement or idea.
And as few of them that will stand up and say “Hey, that won’t work!” absolutely NONE of them will go the next step when they’re up against a truly committed moron who is going to sell his pap up the ladder. The Asian engineer will almost never go up into management (much less executive offices) and say “OK, I know you’ve heard this proposal, but I have to tell you that this will not work and it will cost us a LOT of money.” No, they’ll just go along to get along, and when the crap hits the fan, they’re very polite, very sorry, but they won’t learn to stop the morons early in the process from the experience.
American industry has come to expect engineers to stand up to management and marketing and say “You’re dumber than a box of rocks.” When engineers don’t, projects fail.
Good posting that I agree with at least in part, NV Dave.
I also worked for a major defense contractor and dealt with similar situations for decades. I did not find the Engineering folks to be the ones that opposed the ideas in the RFQs and RFPs. They and the Program Mgt. people were willing to stretch the truth to extremes to get the government to give research or production monies.
It was professionals in Mfg., Tooling, Procurement, Quality, et al, that curtailed the boasting of the ego driven Engineers and enabled the firm to capture the contracts at a reasonable cost to the government (taxpayers).
I’m not knocking Engineers; just sayin’ that they don’t always consider all factors when they put their ideas or dreams on paper (guess that’s on computer now-— I’m old).
According to unions, begun by Communists many years ago,anything not including them is “failed”.