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2013

     Sequestration—the series of mandatory cuts across nearly the entire federal budget—are set to take effect tomorrow. The $85 billion spending cuts will take $1.2 trillion off the budget from fiscal year 2013 through 2021 to reduce the nation’s deficit. With those cuts looming, however, I’ve been thinking about their possible impact on supply chains.

 

     For instance, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta told the House Subcommittee on Aviation his agency cannot avoid furloughing its employees under its $600 million in automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect, according to an article in Aviation Today. Huerta said the cuts will likely result in delays and cancellations at the nation’s busiest airports.

 

     Flights to major cities like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco could experience delays of up to 90 minutes during peak hours because there will be fewer controllers on staff, Huerta says. FAA also expects that, as airlines estimate the potential impacts of these furloughs, they will change their schedules and cancel flights, he says.

 

     Air traffic isn’t all that will be effected. Operations at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach may slow as well because having fewer U.S. customs officers on-hand would delay the flow of international cargo through the sea ports, port officials said in an article that ran in the Los Angeles Times. Indeed, officials of the two ports, which handle 40 percent of cargo that enters the U.S., warn that sequestration would deal a blow to the Southern California economy overall as goods headed to market are delayed.

 

     How significant the possible disruption would be remains to be seen as it’s unclear how automatic budget cuts would be implemented by the U.S. Coast Guard, which provides security and inspects cargo vessels at the ports, the article explains. Nevertheless, port officials say they worry that cargo delays would add a few days of total travel time if federal agencies are forced to furlough workers.

 

     “We’re very, very concerned,” said Art Wong, a spokesman for the Port of Long Beach, in the LA Times Article.

 

      During the House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee hearing this week, U.S. Coast Guard Deputy Commandant for Operations, Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger said that the loss of operating hours for the Coast Guard’s fleets of cutter and aircraft will be likely 25 percent, and will create a ripple effect on operations, reports an article on MarineLink. That’s because cuts in the discretionary budget and drop in operating hours could force the Coast Guard to furlough civilian employees and contractors, which could mean fewer marine safety inspections for vessels that call at the Ports of Oakland or Stockton, or delay the issuance or renewal of mariner licenses or security credentials for seafarers and dock workers at California ports. It would also mean there are fewer Coast Guard vessels and aircraft available to conduct patrols to prevent narcotic smuggling or human trafficking.

 

     Perhaps more significantly, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) notes that deep cuts in defense expenditures will impair national security, cripple a vital part of the manufacturing sector, and have far-reaching negative effects on a broad spectrum of the U.S. economy. Indeed, the cuts in defense procurement will have a massive ripple effect throughout the manufacturing economy, affecting large defense contractors, tens of thousands of small and medium-sized manufacturers in the defense supply chains, and more than one million workers throughout the U.S., according to NAM.

 

     “We have been very concerned about sequestration,” says Dorothy Coleman, vice president of tax and domestic economic policy for NAM, in an article running onThomasNet. “This has already begun to have a negative impact on the whole defense supply chain. A lot of small manufacturers are part of the defense supply chain. They aren’t sure how these cuts will play out for their business.”

 

     That level of uncertainty could create additional problems throughout supply chains. Unsure of whether they will lose major accounts or see orders shrink, manufacturers may be unable to make their own capital investment and hiring plans. That itself would create additional ripples felt on through the supply chain.

 

     What effects do you think sequestration may have on your supply chain?

    In recent years, supply chains have become longer and more complex. At the same time, the severity and frequency of supply chain disruptions seems to be increasing.

 

     According to research from Deloitte, global executives report that not only are supply chain disruptions growing in frequency, they also are having a larger negative impact. For instance, nearly half of the executives the firm surveyed (48 percent) said the frequency of risk events that had negative outcomes has increased over the last three years. What’s more, more than half (53 percent) of the executives said supply chain disruptions have become more costly over the last three years.

 

     I’m interested in building resilience into supply chains, so an article that ran on Forbes particularly caught my eye. Thanks to SupplyChainBrain, by the way, for pointing me to the article. Steve Culp, who leads Accenture’s Risk Management practice globally, wrote that, in close cooperation with Accenture, the World Economic Forum has launched a new report called “Building Resilience in Supply Chains.” It indicates that significant supply chain disruptions reduce the share price of affected companies by as much as seven percent on average. These disruptions can stem from natural disasters and extreme weather conditions; systemic vulnerabilities, such as oil dependence and information fragmentation; as well as political unrest, cyber crime, and the rising cost of insurance and trade finance, Culp writes.

 

     There are worldwide steps that industry groups and government can take together to make supply chains more resilient, such as institutionalizing a risk assessment process within a broad-based neutral international body, or expanding the use of data-sharing platforms for risk identification and response, Culp explains. To help government, industries, and consumers cooperate, the report calls for a common risk vocabulary, improved data sharing along and between supply chains, and more flexible response strategies.

 

     Furthermore, private sector companies can support broad measures such as those discussed at Davos, but they should also take steps to make their own supply chains more resilient and risk-resistant. Two important private sector priorities are the use of exercises to stress-test assumptions and plans, and the development of business continuity or trade resumption plans, protocols, and lines of authority to address major concerns, Culp writes in the article.

 

     One of the challenges, however, is that supply chains created before this new normal need to be revamped to address today’s level of volatility. Culp believes that elements of what Accenture calls “dynamic operations” can help with that task. For example, supply chain structures should be adaptable and agile so they can quickly adjust and respond to market and economic conditions. Additionally, supply chain managers need to strike a balance between efficiency and effectiveness. Finally, to maintain effectiveness, supply chain managers can arrange to share strategic stocks, or to enter into joint supply agreements, Culp explains.

 

     Another crucial aspect is the ability to respond quickly and appropriately when a disruption of some sort does occur. To do that, a company must first receive a timely alert that indicates not only that the event has taken place, but more importantly, that the event will have an impact on business. Secondly, quick response requires the ability to model the event—and the simulation must be backed by analytics that allow accurately modeling the event and possible resolutions in real time. Finally, companies need to be able to compare different possible resolution options to determine which resolution best fits company objectives.

 

     There is a significant advantage to all this. Companies that undertake such measures to increase supply chain resilience will be in a much better position to bounce back from potential disruption. They also may be able to gain considerable competitive advantage post-event.

 

     What is your company doing? Is it working to build supply chain resilience?

 

 

 

    I’ve been thinking lately about 3D printing and its possible impact on the supply chain. This type of “printing” is really a form of manufacturing since it creates objects by adding material, layer by layer, until a product is finished.

 

     So, for example, a 3D printer can melt plastic and then spray the melted plastic out of a movable nozzle in a controlled fashion. The nozzle moves back and forth—just like a print cartridge—depositing one ultra-thin layer of plastic at a time on a platform. Each pass, the machine can lower the platform a fraction of a millimeter, and spray more melted plastic to give the product depth and height until the product is finished.

 

     Automotive and aerospace companies have used these industrial-grade 3D printers to fashion prototype parts for their vehicles for years. More recently, the medical field has begun to use the machines to make medical devices and, startlingly, prosthetic devices.

 

     Yes, that’s right. An article on NYDailyNews explains that researchers say they have engineered artificial human ears that look and act like the real thing thanks to 3D printing, giving hope to patients missing all or part of their ears. The new ears, practically identical to human ones, could provide the solution long sought by reconstructive surgeons to treat thousands of children born with the congenital deformity microtia, along with those who suffered ear loss due to cancer or an accident.

 

     That’s amazing. But then so is the technology’s possible impact on manufacturing and the supply chain. In an article I saw on Eye for Transport, Mark Patterson, vice president--Innovation and Product Incubation—EMEA, DHL Supply Chain, explained that  supply chains have typically focused on making goods, storing them, and then shipping product out from the point of manufacture. Now 3D printing allows companies to shave weeks off of manufacturing times and reduce the carbon footprint associated with production and distribution. What’s more, the article continues, it produces little waste, which helps reduce both environmental concerns and disposal costs.

 

     At the moment, since 3D printing can only be used to print small numbers of simple objects made of one or two materials, it perhaps seems most suited for customization. Patterson explains that the classic example is phone cases. That’s because people love customizing their phones, and a custom-made case can be printed in about an hour. This is considerably more appealing to consumers than choosing between a limited range of objects, which then need to be shipped
from China over the course of six weeks.

 

    To me, anyway, the biggest area of impact could well be the service parts business. With 3D printers, service parts engineers could download designs for spare parts and print them from the back of a vehicle within a very short timeframe. That way, companies wouldn’t be forced to predict demand for spare parts, order them, and then stock those parts in warehouses. And because technicians could “print” the parts in their trucks, it would eliminate wasteful trips back to a parts depot.

 

     I was also interested to see a recent post by Andrew Bell, in which he noted that local manufacturing could become an issue as well. That’s because, as Bell explains, more things will be made closer to their final destination. This will definitely effect the logistics industry, and will change the way businesses schedule their operations, he wrote.

 

     There are, however, other challenges. In the Eye for Transport article, Patterson notes that there are implications for the digital supply chain as well, since the intellectual property resides in the file from which the object is printed rather than the product itself. This means that in the future, companies will need to really examine this data chain to ensure that the information it contains is securely transported and managed, he wrote.

 

     So in the end, there’s quite a bit to think about. What are your thoughts regarding the limitations of 3D technology or its potential impact on supply chain operations?

    Cyber attacks on companies including The New York Times and Apple have garnered quite a bit of attention. What’s really making news, however, is the release of a new report that tracks many of the attacks to—apparently—a Chinese military unit.

 

     A Chicago Tribune article today explains that a clandestine Chinese military unit has conducted sophisticated cyber espionage operations against dozens of American and Canadian companies, according to a private report that provides new details about China’s involvement in cyber theft of economic and trade secrets.

 

     The report by computer security firm Mandiant Corp., attributes attacks against 141 companies to a specific 12-story office building in the financial center of Shanghai. According to the report, the building is home to the 2nd Bureau of the People’s Liberation Army’s General Staff Department’s 3rd Department, which is known as Unit 61398. Mandiant says it traced computer penetrations to Unit 61398 by telltale digital signatures left in malware, the use of Shanghai phone numbers, and social networking information posted by some of the hackers.

 

    The report said Unit 61398 has stolen “technology blueprints, proprietary manufacturing processes, test results, business plans, pricing documents, partnership agreements, and emails and contact lists,” the Tribune article notes.

 

     An article running in The New York Times explains that the report tracks individual members of the most sophisticated of the Chinese hacking groups—known to many of its victims in the U.S. as “Comment Crew” or “Shanghai Group”—and makes a case there is no other plausible explanation for why so many attacks come out of one comparatively small area.

 

     “Either they are coming from inside Unit 61398,” said Kevin Mandia, the founder and chief executive of Mandiant, in an interview with The Times last week, “or the people who run the most-controlled, most-monitored Internet networks in the world are clueless about thousands of people generating attacks from this one neighborhood.”

 

     While Comment Crew has drained terabytes of data from companies such as Coca-Cola, increasingly its focus has been on companies involved in the critical infrastructure of the U.S.— its electrical power grid, gas lines, and waterworks. What most worries American investigators is that the latest set of attacks believed coming from Unit 61398 focus not just on stealing information, but on obtaining the ability to manipulate American critical infrastructure.

 

     The most troubling attack to date, security experts say, was a successful invasion of the Canadian arm of Telvent—a company that designs software to give oil and gas pipeline companies and power grid operators remote access to valves, switches, and security systems, the NYT article explains. Telvent keeps detailed blueprints on more than half of all the oil and gas pipelines in North and South America, and has access to their systems. In September, Telvent Canada told customers that attackers had broken into its systems and taken project files. That access was immediately cut, so that the intruders could not take command of the systems, the article continued.

 

     One would think that with such attacks and threats on the rise, companies might be working to better protect themselves. But that might not be the case. Cyber security experts at Deloitte now warn that when it comes to cyber attacks it isn’t a question of “If” but “When.” For instance, according to the firm’s survey of technology, media, and telecommunications industry, 68 percent of the companies said they understood their cyber risks, and 62 percent of them have a program in place to address the risks. Surprisingly though, 59 percent of the companies reported they experienced a security incident within the past year.

 

     James Alexander, lead partner for TMT security at Deloitte, says cyber attacks are now so sophisticated and commonplace that it’s impossible to be fully protected. Companies need to act as if a breach is inevitable and have a documented response plan in place so they can react when it does happen, he says.

 

     Companies must also embed a culture of cyber security in their staff, Alexander says. He also says spreading a secure culture should extend to the businesses that companies work with and companies need to collaborate to ensure strength across organizational boundaries.

 

     Is your company prepared for a cyber attack? Better yet, is your supply chain secure?

     In his State of the Union address earlier this week, President Obama spoke about a resurgence in U.S. manufacturing, as well as plans to make the U.S. a magnet for manufacturing. He wasn’t the only one speaking about the future of U.S. manufacturing this week, however. The CEO of Dow Chemical and GE’s CEO and chairman both also had the topic on their minds.

 

     In his address, President Obama explained that after shedding jobs for more than 10 years, U.S. manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three years. He cited Caterpillar and Ford as examples of companies bringing jobs back to the U.S., and also noted that after locating plants in other countries, Intel is opening its most advanced plant in the U.S.

 

     Obama also said there are other things that can accelerate the trend. Last year, the country created its first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering 3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way almost everything is made, the president said. He also announced the launch of three more manufacturing hubs, where businesses will partner with the Departments of Defense and Energy to create global centers of high-tech jobs.

 

     The next day, Obama visited a Linamar Corporation plant south of Asheville, North Carolina. The facility, which makes heavy engine components for cars and trucks, opened in 2011 on the site of a former Volvo plant. Obama noted that Linamar, a Canadian firm attracted by local authorities, plans to retrain laid-off workers with new skills, has hired 160 employees, and expects to hire 40 more by year end.

 

     “What’s happening here is happening all around the country,” Obama said, an article in The New York Times reports. “Just as it’s becoming more and more expensive to do business in places like China, America is getting more competitive.”

 

     In a similar vein, an IndustryWeek article reports that Andrew Liveris, CEO of Dow Chemical, told the @Manufacturing Works forum—sponsored by NC State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues—American manufacturing is rebounding but this upswing is “fragile and its outcome is still quite uncertain.” The manufacturing sector is reaching an inflection point where this renaissance can “usher in a new era of American prosperity,” he said.

 

    Liveris emphasized he was not describing manufacturing of the past, but rather instead, advanced manufacturing that lives at the “intersection of all the sciences” and provides “highly qualified, highly skilled, highly paid jobs” involved in creating groundbreaking products and meeting some of the world’s greatest challenges.

 

     However, to compete effectively, Liveris says the U.S. needs to make a collective effort to support manufacturing. Like Obama, he urges the development of innovation hubs and manufacturing centers throughout the U.S. that would support breakthrough technologies and greatly increase exports.

 

     Finally, it should be noted that returning manufacturing to the U.S. doesn’t always make sense because the goal is to locate manufacturing close to consumers. GE has made some high profile moves to return some manufacturing work to the U.S. in recent years. The Economist magazine’s U.S. manufacturing editor Greg Ip interviewed Jeff Immelt, CEO and chairman of GE, at a conference on U.S. manufacturing sponsored by The Atlantic magazine. In the interview, which Supply Chain Digest ran part of, Immelt said the company is working to put manufacturing close to the innovators and close to its markets.

 

     Every company will need to evaluate whether that means manufacturing should move to the U.S., Immelt said in the interview. But in GE’s case, manufacturing was brought back to the U.S. because the company realized it could earn higher margins by manufacturing in the U.S.—and that’s been true, he said.

 

     The reality is GE will create jobs in the U.S., China, and lots of different places because it’s a global company, Immelt said. Even so, he does think there is a competitive structure today that works for the U.S., and it’s based on proximity to market, high-skilled workforce, cost of materials, and the ability to innovate quickly.


     Globalization has led to increasingly complex supply chains. Additionally, while practices such as lean manufacturing, outsourcing, and supplier consolidation improve efficiency and reduce operating costs, they also introduce an added measure of supply chain risk as well as reduce the margin for error. The result, according to a new survey, is that global executives are increasingly concerned about the growing risks to their supply chains and costly negative impacts such as margin erosion and inability to keep up with demand.

  

    According to the results of a new survey from Deloitte, global executives report that not only are supply chain disruptions growing in frequency, they are also having a larger negative impact. For instance, nearly half of the executives (48 percent) said the frequency of risk events that had negative outcomes—such as sudden demand change or margin erosion—has increased over the last three years. What’s more, more than half (53 percent) of the executives said that supply chain disruptions have become more costly over the last three years.

 

     Margin erosion is considered the most costly outcome of supply chain disruptions, with 53 percent of the respondents citing it as one of their top two concerns. Forty percent of respondents cited “sudden demand change” as one of their two most costly problems, which Kelly Marchese, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, says is a reflection of on-going challenges involved with growing customer expectations, short product cycles, and emerging competitive challenges.

 

     Executives surveyed recognize the strategic importance of supply chain risk, with 71 percent stating that supply chain risk is an important factor in their strategic decision-making. The good news is that 64 percent of the respondents claim to have a risk management program specific to the supply chain in place. However, surprisingly to me anyway, 45 percent of the surveyed executives say their supply chain risk management programs are only somewhat effective or not effective at all.

 

     Furthermore, although surveyed executives report using a wide range of tools to manage risk, only 36 percent use predictive modeling and less than one-third (29 percent) of the respondents use risk sensing data, worst case scenario modeling, or business simulation—all of which may be used to drive increasingly proactive supply chain risk management.

 

     Many companies have some form of a supply chain risk management program but, unfortunately, they don’t always get the results they need from these programs, says Marchese. To be effective, companies should take a holistic and integrated approach to managing supply chain risk and go beyond traditional approaches. To achieve true resilience, companies need the ability to recover efficiently and decrease the impact of those events, Marchese says.

 

     To achieve resilience, Deloitte recommends the approach should deliver:

     Visibility: To monitor supply chain events and patterns as they happen, and therefore enable companies to proactively—and even preemptively—address problems.

     Flexibility: To adapt to problems efficiently, without significantly increasing operational costs and make timely adjustments to limit the impact of disruptions.

     Collaboration: Build trust-based relationships that allow companies to work closely with supply chain partners to identify risk and avoid disruptions.

     Control: Have policies, monitoring capabilities, and control mechanisms that help confirm that procedures and processes are actually followed.

 

     But the findings about the use of tools to manage risk—or rather, the lack of use of such tools—stand out for me. To further improve risk management, companies need tools that generate early warning through alerts that an event may be imminent; enable users to simulate an event; identify the impact of that event; and finally allow users to simulate then evaluate several resolution alternatives.

 

     Do you agree that supply chain disruptions are growing and that they have longer and more far-reaching impact? Secondly, do you believe your supply chain risk management program is effective?

     A coalition of U.S. pharmaceutical and healthcare organizations recently announced it will make greater efforts to secure the medicine supply chain.

 

     The National Conference of Pharmaceutical Organizations (NCPO), comprised of U.S. pharma, biotech, and generic bodies as well as pharmacy and other health care groups, held its 100th meeting last week. The coalition resolved that the member organizations will work together to help further secure the pharmaceutical supply chain.

 

     “Supply chain issues go to the very safety of the medicines that all Americans rely on for the health of their families,” said John Castellani, president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and chair of the NCPO meeting. “It’s our responsibility to do everything we can so patients and their families know the medicines they take are safe.”

 

     Adding to that, Thomas Menighan, CEO and executive vice president, American Pharmacists Association (APhA), said medications are powerful but they only work when their safety is assured and they are taken properly. The entire health care community must work together as a team to ensure the security of the pharmaceutical supply chain to continue the good health and safety of our nation, he continued.

 

     The NCPO discussions on pharmaceutical supply chain security centered around three core areas: product tracing, Internet sales, and disposal of unused medicines. The NCPO organizations agreed to key principles in each area.

 

     First, NCPO recommended that an electronic system to trace prescription drugs in the supply chain be uniform, apply nationally, and be based on internationally harmonized standards. Further, any new requirement for product tracing must be implemented in a scalable, cost-effective manner.

 

     The unlawful sale of medicines over the Internet is a growing concern. Consumers are at significant risk because there are no assurances that products offered for sale through illegitimate Internet websites—and auction or liquidation sites—have been properly stored or handled. Furthermore, there are no assurances the medicines are even legitimate.

 

     Just how big is the problem? Last fall, the FDA announced that it, in partnership with international regulatory and law enforcement agencies from 100 countries, took action against more than 4,100 Internet pharmacies that illegally sell potentially dangerous, unapproved drugs to consumers. The actions resulted in the shutdown of more than 18,000 illegal pharmacy websites and the seizure of about $10.5 million worth of pharmaceuticals worldwide.

 

     NCPO leaders pledged that they would continue to work together to educate policy makers and the public about the dangers of purchasing medicine over the Internet, and will seek appropriate policy solutions. So, for example, consumers who purchase prescription and overthecounter medicines via the Internet should be educated to look for sites based in the U.S., where sellers have been certified as valid by a credible authority or have not been otherwise identified as an illegitimate website.

 

     Finally, NCPO leaders pledged to work together on appropriate disposal of unused medicines. Any disposal option must not create new opportunities for diversion of unused medicines to reenter the supply chain, and it must rely on pilot studies.

 

     The findings of the coalition make sense and it’s good to see they are pledging to work together. Nonetheless, these are sizable challenges they plan to tackle. What’s more, there are no clear-cut answers or easy fixes. I will be interested to learn how NCPO plans to proceed from here.

     Recent events have me thinking about supply chains and visibility. More specifically: just what, exactly, happens when companies outsource to multiple tiers of suppliers.

 

     This line of thinking is brought on, of course, by the troubles at Boeing. Improving fuel efficiency drove many of the decisions concerning the development of its 787 Dreamliner. So, for example, the company used carbon-fiber composites for the body and wings, and reserved titanium and heavy metals for the landing gear, engines, and some small parts. New engines from Rolls-Royce and General Electric were designed to deliver more thrust while using less fuel. Lithium-ion batteries—now the focus of a great deal of attention—are used because they can hold more energy and may be quickly recharged. An electrical system also replaces traditional pneumatic systems to reduce weight and lower maintenance costs.

 

     This approach allows the plane to burn 20 percent less fuel than the midsize airplanes it replaces, which appeals to carriers. Indeed, BusinessWeek reports about eight hundred 787s are on order, worth about $175 billion in sales (based on the plane’s list price).

 

     But it isn’t just parts and assembles that are different with the 787; Boeing has changed its business model to one in which the company outsourced most of the plane. While parts came into Boeing’s assembly plants from 135 other sites and 50 suppliers, half a dozen main suppliers were put in charge of building big sections of the plane that are flown, fully completed, to Boeing’s factory in Everett, Wash.

 

     The aircraft suffered seven manufacturing delays from 2007 to 2011, postponing its launch. More recently, the Federal Aviation Administration grounded the fleet last month after the battery on a 787 that had just landed in Boston caught fire, and another produced a fault that forced an emergency landing by an All Nippon Airways flight bound for Tokyo.

 

     While the lithium-ion batteries remain under investigation, what’s interesting is the growing discussion about Boeing’s supply chain—or rather, lack of visibility into the supply chain. Company engineers blame the problems on the 787’s outsourced supply chain, saying that poor quality components come from subcontractors that operate largely out of Boeing’s view, according to a Seattle Times article. The article cites a senior Boeing engineer not directly involved with the 787, who said he believes the company’s early delegation of control on 787 outsourcing to multiple tiers of suppliers is now coming back to bite the jet
program. Boeing’s engineers union, which happens to be preparing for a possible strike, makes similar allegations.

 

     Three years before the 787 was even launched, a paper presented internally at Boeing by airplane structures engineer John Hart-Smith predicted the problems that would arise from excessive outsourcing. Traditionally, he said, Boeing’s in-house experts created detailed specifications for every part of the plane made by suppliers, and had the in-house technical capability to closely monitor whether the work came up to spec.

 

     “I warned that if they outsourced too much work, the day would eventually come when there wouldn’t be enough in-house capability to even write the specs,” says Hart-Smith in the Seattle Times article.

 

     To be fair, Boeing has taken steps to remedy the situation. First of all, the company has already taken direct control of more of the 787 process to limit how much work is outsourced, and also brought some parts of the process back in-house.

 

     The Seattle Times article also notes that on a conference call last week, Boeing chief executive Jim McNerney said the company is “making progress” on strengthening supplier oversight. “We have done a lot to increase the visibility down through our supply chain,” he said.

 

     The issue though is that when there are problems, FAA contacts Boeing and not various suppliers. Be that as it may, virtually every new commercial aircraft experiences some teething problems, and I believe that’s what is happening here. It seems, to me anyway, Boeing has made great strides in regaining supply chain visibility.

 

     Does what’s happening with the 787 Dreamliner make anyone at your company question whether you have sufficient supply chain visibility?