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Updated February 10th, 2024 at 14:21 IST

Boeing adopts conciliatory approach towards suppliers amid 737 MAX crisis

In a major shift in tone, Boeing executives extended an olive branch to the company's extensive network of over 1,100 suppliers in the Pacific Northwest region.

Business Desk
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Boeing woes continues: Boeing, grappling with the aftermath of the latest 737 MAX crisis, has adopted a conciliatory stance towards its strained supply chain, signalling a departure from its previous hard-line approach in dealing with suppliers.

In a major shift in tone, Boeing executives extended an olive branch to the company's extensive network of over 1,100 suppliers in the Pacific Northwest region. Ihssane Mounir, Boeing's vice president of supply chain and fabrication, stressed on collaboration and solidarity during his speech at an aerospace conference outside Seattle. "We build the airplane together. There's no you and us. It's just us," Mounir stated.

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The remarks mark a departure from Boeing's past initiatives, such as the "Partnering for Success" programme in the 2010s, which aimed to drive supply-chain efficiency and cost reduction. Suppliers, who have long voiced concerns about Boeing's stringent cost-cutting measures, cautiously welcomed the shift in tone but remain vigilant.

While some suppliers expressed cautious optimism, others remained sceptical, stressing on the need for tangible actions to accompany Boeing's rhetoric.

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The aerospace giant faces mounting pressure from regulators and lawmakers following a recent 737 MAX 9 accident near Portland, Oregon, prompting the Federal Aviation Administration to impose production caps on Boeing's bestselling aircraft.

Boeing's decision to prioritise collaboration and quality assurance over cost-cutting and production speed underscores the challenges facing the aerospace industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Meanwhile, the supply chain continues to grapple with workforce shortages and materials shortages, exacerbating the strain on suppliers.

In response to these challenges, Boeing has encouraged suppliers to maintain planned production rate hikes while offering support to vulnerable companies. Mounir said preserving manufacturing standards and quality control, urging suppliers to participate in a forum aimed at sharing best practices.

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(With Reuters inputs)
 

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Published February 10th, 2024 at 14:21 IST

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