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Video Tip: Watching the Boeing 787 Being Built–in 3 Minutes

March 13, 2015

boeing 787Jay and I have followed the Boeing 787 project closely for the past decade. The Global Company Profile that opens Chapter 2 details the plane’s design, supply chain, technology, and construction. The 787 has become one of Boeing’s most popular models due to its lightweight carbon composite airframe and the resulting lower fuel burn. Boeing continues to lose money on each Dreamliner it builds, but expects to reach the break-even point on the 787 program this year. The program’s deferred production cost, an accounting measure of how efficient an assembly program becomes over time, rose to $25.2 billion last year, topping the $25 billion cap Boeing had forecast for the 787.

Of course, the 787′s assembly costs will continue to drop over time as workers improve the efficiencies of the line and the rate at which they can build new planes. We discuss this issue on page 768, in Module E, noting the far-reaching consequences of learning curves. Boeing has a backlog of about 850 Dreamliner orders, on sales of 1,072 planes. It builds 10 each month at two plants and plans to boost output gradually to a dozen per month in 2016 and to 14 by 2020.

Your students will enjoy this 3-minute video showing the assembly line in Charleston S.C.  The amazing thing about the building is there are no uprights supporting the roof. Six planes in various stages of completion are under the one roof. When completed, the plane is towed to the paint shop. Boeing has a runway that connects with the Charleston airport, and from here that the planes are delivered to customers.

You might show this video with Chapter 2, OM in a Global Environment (Boeing is one of the U.S.’s largest exporters), Chapter 9, Layout, or Module E.

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