SOUTH CAROLINA FACILITY AGAIN UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
Well, well, well … looks like Boeing’s best efforts to spin its Dreamliner production issues have failed.
Reuters is exclusively reporting on more problems – which it refers to as “output hiccups” – related to production of the Chicago-based aircraft manufacturer’s next-generation passenger jet, the 787 Dreamliner.
Specifically, the wire service has noted “unusual shifts” in the company’s supply chain related to “unfinished jobs building up as 787s move along the assembly line and partly an effort by Boeing to speed up the factories.”
Where’s the hangup? If you guessed Boeing’s North Charleston, S.C. facility – which has experienced all sorts of problems since it was opened in 2011 – you’d be correct.
“At least 16 Italian-made fuselage sections for the 787 have stacked up in a Boeing hangar in Wichita, Kansas, rather than being shipped directly to the factory,” Reuters reported.
That would seem to confirm the wire service’s sources, who say Boeing’s 787 production issues have “gotten worse.”
“The production process did not previously involve storage of midbody section pieces in Wichita,” the Reuters’ report added.
Boeing claims the fuselages will only stay in Kansas “for a couple of weeks,” and that the “rerouting” is due to be phased out soon.
Our sources aren’t buying it …
“Everyone I know at the Boeing (S.C.) plant says the ‘turn around’ in quality and morale was B.S., and this article seems to confirms it,” one source told us.
FITS was the first news outlet in the country to report on production issues at Boeing’s North Charleston facility – which was built thanks to $1 billion in taxpayer-funded incentives doled out by Gov. Nikki Haley and state lawmakers. Two months later, reporter Phil LeBeau – who covers automotive and aerospace issues for CNBC – confirmed much of our reporting. More recently, The Seattle Times and The Wall Street Journal have referenced South Carolina’s production problems.
South Carolina lost out on the chance to build a pair of new Boeing jets – including the 737 MAX and the 777X – due to labor issues and questions about the quality of the workforce in the Palmetto State. The North Charleston facility will build Boeing’s new extended Dreamliner – the 787-10 – although that’s because the mid-fuselages for the jet don’t fit on the “Dreamlifter” transport planes used by Boeing to ship the massive sections to its main manufacturing facility in Everett, Washington.