Boeing 787 Business Execution Failure

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: business execution

The grounding of the Boeing 787s due to the fire danger associated with the lithium-ion batteries continues to be a costly, brand-damaging problem. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, announced at the time of the grounding that these aircraft would not fly again until they are “1,000 percent safe.” [A bit of hyperbole in that statement, Mr. Secretary?]

Boeing wants to get the fleet back in the air as quickly as possible and keep production and deliveries moving. The solution they have offered the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): a better fire containment box and improved venting for the lithium-ion batteries so if and when a fire occurs, it can be contained to the battery unit itself.

Is Boeing nuts? The answer is better fire suppression? Wrong answer, Boeing!

The right answer is a design that eliminates the risk of fire that has been thoroughly tested, qualified and implemented in each 787 before each plane is allowed to return to the skies. You know it, the FAA knows it, the airlines with 787s know it, and so does the flying public.

At an Association for Corporate Growth Silicon Valley chapter dinner meeting this past week, I moderated a panel called “Transportation of the Future.” I was honored to have Dr. Sujeet Kumar, CTO and co-founder of Envia Systems on the panel to discuss lithium-ion battery technology. He told the audience that the 787 lithium-ion battery is built using the wrong chemistry and is an inappropriate design prone to the very problems Boeing and its customers have experienced. The good news: Technology is available today to eliminate the risk. The bad news: It’s not apparent Boeing is looking for solutions outside its current design.

Boeing: Fix the problem the right way and restore our confidence in your brand and your wonderful 787 aircraft that the airline industry needs.

Thought for the week:

“To me, business isn’t about wearing suits or pleasing stockholders. It’s about being true to yourself, your ideas and focusing on the essentials.” – Sir Richard Branson


What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!


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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

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