Boeing: New Jet, New Way of Doing Business
The massive global collaboration effort behind Boeing's 787 reflects the changing nature of its business.Almost everything about the new Boeing 787 is differentfrom the cutting-edge materials and electronics used to build the plane, to the technology used during the design and assembly process. It is so different, in fact, that even the Boeing Co. itselfa fixture in the global economy for nearly a centuryis undergoing a radical transformation as it builds this next-generation jet. The design and production strategy employed by the $55 billion, Chicago-based aerospace giant to get the 787 built as quickly and economically as possible involves an unprecedented degree of collaboration between Boeing and its partners around the worldpartners who are participating in the actual design of the plane. All of which marks a shift in the way Boeing defines itself: The company is no longer just a manufacturer, but also a high-end systems integrator. "We are a technology company," says Scott Griffin, Boeing vice president and CIO.
The reasons Boeing is making the shift go beyond the savings it hopes to enjoy by making the planes faster and cheaper. The company is also spreading the costs of design and development throughout its partner network, and building global relationships that may, in turn, help the company sell its planes overseas.