Crash Course: How Boeing's Managerial Revolution Created The 737 MAX Disaster

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by NewsVine_Mariyam, Sep 22, 2019.

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Would you fly a 737 MAX if the FAA eventually certifies them as airworthy?

  1. Yes - The FAA wouldn't certify an aircraft that was not airworthy

    3 vote(s)
    42.9%
  2. Yes but it has nothing to do with the FAA certification

    3 vote(s)
    42.9%
  3. No - the FAA can no longer be trusted

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. No - Boeing can no longer be trusted

    1 vote(s)
    14.3%
  5. Other - if it ain't Boeing I aint going

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. NewsVine_Mariyam
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    NewsVine_Mariyam Gold Member

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    Nearly two decades before Boeing’s MCAS system crashed two of the plane-maker’s brand-new 737 MAX jets, Stan Sorscher knew his company’s increasingly toxic mode of operating would create a disaster of some kind. A long and proud “safety culture” was rapidly being replaced, he argued, with “a culture of financial bullshit, a culture of groupthink.”


    Sorscher, a physicist who’d worked at Boeing more than two decades and had led negotiations there for the engineers’ union, had become obsessed with management culture. He said he didn’t previously imagine Boeing’s brave new managerial caste creating a problem as dumb and glaringly obvious as MCAS (or the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, as a handful of software wizards had dubbed it). Mostly he worried about shriveling market share driving sales and head count into the ground, the things that keep post-industrial American labor leaders up at night. On some level, though, he saw it all coming; he even demonstrated how the costs of a grounded plane would dwarf the short-term savings achieved from the latest outsourcing binge in one of his reports that no one read back in 2002.*

    Sorscher had spent the early aughts campaigning to preserve the company’s estimable engineering legacy. He had mountains of evidence to support his position, mostly acquired via Boeing’s 1997 acquisition of McDonnell Douglas, a dysfunctional firm with a dilapidated aircraft plant in Long Beach and a CEO who liked to use what he called the “Hollywood model” for dealing with engineers: Hire them for a few months when project deadlines are nigh, fire them when you need to make numbers. In 2000, Boeing’s engineers staged a 40-day strike over the McDonnell deal’s fallout; while they won major material concessions from management, they lost the culture war. They also inherited a notoriously dysfunctional product line from the corner-cutting market gurus at McDonnell.


    And while Boeing’s engineers toiled to get McDonnell’s lemon planes into the sky, their own hopes of designing a new plane to compete with Airbus, Boeing’s only global market rival, were shriveling. Under the sway of all the naysayers who had called out the folly of the McDonnell deal, the board had adopted a hard-line “never again” posture toward ambitious new planes. Boeing’s leaders began crying “crocodile tears,” Sorscher claimed, about the development costs of 1995’s 777, even though some industry insiders estimate that it became the most profitable plane of all time. The premise behind this complaining was silly, Sorscher contended in PowerPoint presentations and a Harvard Business School-style case study on the topic. A return to the “problem-solving” culture and managerial structure of yore, he explained over and over again to anyone who would listen, was the only sensible way to generate shareholder value. But when he brought that message on the road, he rarely elicited much more than an eye roll. “I’m not buying it,” was a common response. Occasionally, though, someone in the audience was outright mean, like the Wall Street analyst who cut him off mid-sentence:


    “Look, I get it. What you’re telling me is that your business is different. That you’re special. Well, listen: Everybody thinks his business is different, because everybody is the same. Nobody. Is. Different.”


    And indeed, that would appear to be the real moral of this story: Airplane manufacturing is no different from mortgage lending or insulin distribution or make-believe blood analyzing software—another cash cow for the one percent, bound inexorably for the slaughterhouse. In the now infamous debacle of the Boeing 737 MAX, the company produced a plane outfitted with a half-assed bit of software programmed to override all pilot input and nosedive when a little vane on the side of the fuselage told it the nose was pitching up. The vane was also not terribly reliable, possibly due to assembly line lapses reported by a whistle-blower, and when the plane processed the bad data it received, it promptly dove into the sea.
    Continue reading here cause it gets worse:
    Crash Course
     
  2. pknopp
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    pknopp VIP Member

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    It's not "group think'" that is the problem. The problem is we put "shareholder value" in front of everything else. Boeing was willing to put it ahead of safety. Let's see where "shareholder value" goes when the court cases are over.
     
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  3. miketx
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    miketx Diamond Member

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    No I would not fly one because I don't know how. End of stupid thread.
     
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  4. pknopp
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    pknopp VIP Member

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    Those who can aren't happy either

    Pilots criticize Boeing for mistakes on its grounded jet
     
  5. anotherlife
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    anotherlife Gold Member

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    Boeing is not new, even the Titanic sank for this same reason. J P Morgan, Titanic's main financier, pulled every steel product that was not cheap enough for him, so they ended up with the ones too brittle to use in cold water. All the sister ships of the Titanic sank too for the same reason. Now Boeing repeats it. I don't see a problem. Traveling has always been a risky business, there are plenty of wagabunds on all your roads, including at Boeing. Doesn't that just make it so much more exciting?
     
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  6. miketx
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    miketx Diamond Member

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    Stupid hindu assholes that weren't trained right.
     
  7. pknopp
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    pknopp VIP Member

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    They weren't and that is 100% the fault of Boeing.
     
  8. Billy_Kinetta
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    Billy_Kinetta Paladin of the Lost Hour Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    I don't fly commercial. Quality control has taken a nosedive.
     
  9. harmonica
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    harmonica Gold Member

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    if it crashes, it crashes--I'm READY LORD!!!!!!!!!!
     
  10. flacaltenn
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    flacaltenn Senior Mod Staff Member Senior USMB Moderator Gold Supporting Member

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    I think you have too little appreciation for the complexity of the product, the generally spectacular safety records, and are too prone to make this another showdown with evil capitalism...

    Most of 737 Max issues stems from the MONUMENTAL reqs to certify a brand new aircraft.. The 737 Max is pretty clearly NOT a 737... But because the approval and processing for a new TYPE would be monstrous, Boeing TALKED the FAA into certifying it as a "variant" of the 737... Just that shortcut alone, taken because of the time and effort to get a NEW certification, separate training and simulation, separate maintenance procedures, is largely responsible for sloppy execution of the roll-out..

    So the FAA has this conflicting mission statement.. They are supposed to PROMOTE the commercial aviation sector and keep it competitive with the rest of the world and also be a watchdog... This is a problem for MANY agencies like the Ag Dept that spends large fractions of their effort PROMOTING the producers and products that they regulate...

    I've designed a LOT of medical equipment that had to go thru FDA approvals.. The restrictions on making ANY product changes are SO severe and time-consuming and inflexible that I saw several compromises on "it will do" fixes that were ALLOWED under the regulations for product mods.. And this is the same situation here..

    "another cash cow" for the 1 percent" is political venom.. Does not represent the massive liabilities that companies like Boeing face for faulty products.. NO ONE in the Fed govt faces as much accountibility as the company that screws the pooch... Deepwater Horizon blew right after the govt (live-in) regulator allowed them to shortcut the drilling procedures.. Some EPA yahoos go on a field trip to "fix" a 100 yr mine by themselves and end polluting 3 pristine rivers in Colorado -- and nobody gets fired, sued, demoted...

    The more of this you have --- the more you're pointed at producing the quality of products that gave Russia Chernobyl and the East Germans the world's most crappy and polluting car... The industry always has far more to lose than the govt. Unless, you can't tell them apart any more....
     
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