The Best Laid Plans…

Posted: February 24, 2015

closeup_airliner_angle_400_clr_7142Last year Boeing (manufactures of large commercial jets for airlines) was implementing a plan for fiscal improvement that included heavy investments in its smaller 737 production pipeline, enabling them to build and ship 42+ 737s in a month (ultimately planning to scale to nearly 50 a month by 2017). Unfortunately, half a dozen fuselages that were manufactured for Boeing by Spirit Aerosystems were lost mid-year (along with some assemblies for 747 and 777 aircraft). The fuselages were shipping from Spirit’s Kanas manufacturing plant to Boeing via rail, but unfortunately the train derailed in a mountain pass in Montana, and all of Boeing’s shipment was lost. The rail line was closed for a period of time, which further impacted Boeing’s pipeline because there were typically 3-6 fuselanges in transit somewhere on the rail line to Boeing each day.

Cargo TrainThe inability to receive parts (due to weather, defects in parts received, shipping delays, or other production pipeline issues) can impact any type of manufacturing or assembly innovation.


Norris, G. (2014, July 5).Boeing 737 Production Disruption Likely After Train Derailment. Aviation Weekly.

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