Daily Insight for July 10, 2012:

Daily Insight: Boeing retools in Seattle to meet Airbus challenge


Air wars over Seattle: It’s hard to believe the airline industry is struggling that much. First Airbus announces it will build an assembly plant in Mobile, Ala. to bring its fleet of aircraft closer to the end users. Now, as an excellent story in the Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal points out,  Boeing is looking for ways to accelerate its production of 737s in the Seattle area. The article, written by Dominic Gates of the Seattle Times, notes that Boeing officials are looking to hire up to 1,000 assembly workers and hundreds of engineers to pick up the pace on new 737s, including the new 737 MAX.

While so much attention has been paid to the 787 Dreamliner and other high-tech big jets, it’s encouraging to see the bread-and-butter of domestic air travel get some much-needed attention.  As someone who flies a good bit, the aging state of many U.S. domestic airline fleets could certainly use the attention. The expansion of worldwide air travel also has put airplane manufacturing front and center again – and it would appear American manufacturing will benefit from that surge.


Continuous improvement: The article also notes Boeing’s efforts to deliver more Lean manufacturing techniques to the operation. The article quotes . Eric Lindblad, vice president of 737 manufacturing operations, on their big challenge. “We have to figure out how to get Lean,” he told the paper. “Our employees are highly motivated to be the ones to build the 737 MAX. It’s a wonderful impetus for continuous improvement.”




MESA World Conference: Registration is now open for the MESA World Conference 2012. The conference, will be Sept. 13-14 at The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), Coventry, UK. "In order to remain competitive in the global economy, manufacturers need to improve productivity and drive profitability," said John Southcott, chairman, MESA International. "The World Conference provides a platform for the discussion, collaboration and insight necessary to improve operations management and succeed in this rapidly changing economy."






Room for optimism?


Every time I talk to an international manufacturer or manufacturing supplier, they tell me that they’ve never been busier. Now there’s an expectation that pace will continue.


Despite the uncertainty over Euro debt issues and political instability in several regions, the manufacturing community is poised for growth over the next two years, according to a recent report from KPMG International.


According to its 2012 Global Manufacturing Outlook: Fostering Growth through Innovation, 76% of respondents globally are optimistic about their business outlook over the next 12 to 24 months. “The US is expected to lead the growth according to 40% of respondents, followed by China, India, Brazil and Germany,” the report states.

“Manufacturers are not just preparing for growth but for ‘high-margin growth’,” said Jeff Dobbs, KPMG’s global head of Diversified Industrials and a partner in the US firm.

Innovation is a key factor in that growth pattern. “A majority of respondents (72%) believe that transformational innovation is either in full swing or will be so in 12-24 months, with US respondents leading in the view (84%) that innovation is or will be well under way,” the report stated.

“After several years of focusing on cutting costs, many manufacturers realize that they have to invest in expanding their product and service offerings in order to remain competitive,” said Dobbs.


Celebrate our Leaders Under 40: The deadline is August 1 for the 2012 Leaders Under 40 recognition by Plant Engineering. If you or someone you work with is 40 years or younger and making a significant contribution, submit the information at this link: http://www.plantengineering.com/events-and-awards/leaders-under-40.html


The honorees will be featured in the September issue of Plant Engineering.

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