Boeing 787 Dreamliner- Product Development Analysis

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This assignment investigated the product development process in Boeing 787 Dreamliner. I will go through The product development process adopted for the product, Reasons/features that created excitement in the first place, Major problems encountered that caused the delay in launching the product, Problems faced in operation that led to the grounding of all aircrafts of this model, Problems faced in operation that led to the grounding of all aircrafts of this model and How would I handle the development of this product. On the surface, it seems that the supplier management organization at Boeing didn’t have diddly-squat in terms of engineering capability when they sourced all that work, which caused the whole event. But if we dig it deeply, inspecting from its excitement to disappointment brought to the public, we may see that how the product development strategy and process can lead to tremendous outcomes and feedbacks to the product, as well as to the future of the company’s developing prospect. In this aspect, the lesson learnt from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner will not be an individual case, but it brings about the precious teaching effect and updated conceptualizations in further product development process.

1. The product development process adopted for the product.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is classified to be an orginal design and the product development process emphasises on “Modular Innovation”, taking advantages of new technologies to increase reliability and improve maintainability in components and sub-systems. Compared with most commercial aircraft that are simply refinements of earlier models, the Dreamliner is a departure from previous models as an example of radical innovation. This form of innovation is about taking risks with complexity, challenging assumptions and reinvestigating what customers want. But the innovation didn’t corporate in system level, thus taking greater risks for the whole product.

To develop the concept, Boeing's value-creation strategy was to to innovate this new aircraft that would generate revenues by creating value for customers in two ways: by reducing operational costs and enhancing passenger experience. To implement the innovation, the 787 ultilized extensive use of composites in the airframe and primary structure, electric systems architecture, a reliable and maintainable design, and an improved maintenance program taken together.

Dealing with the system complexity, Boeing claims that the design process reflected a new life‑cycle design philosophy, taking into greater account the cost to maintain airplane structure and systems over their lifetimes. However, here the systems were not seriously seen as “the whole system”, but more or less to be the “components or sub-systems”, because it made a decision to treat the design and production as a modular system in its development process. And the too-early modulization resulted in futher delay issue and product failure problems in the system levels. The cost-cutting way that Boeing went about outsourcing did not include steps to mitigate or eliminate the predicted costs and risks that have already materialized. And the strategy was only modeled in part on Toyota’s supply chain without Toyota’s values and practices, due to poorly designed contractual arrangments and utilization of a lot of unproven technologies With a development budget estimated between $10 – $15 billion, the arrival of the Dreamliner is the result of a significant product development process, one that involved challenging many of Boeing’s existing models, principles and assumptions. On the other hands, it brings out risks in the coordination, innovation, outsourcing, offshoring, normal communication, project management and even the labor relationship. 2. Reasons/features that created excitement in the first place.

Boeing states that it is the company's most fuel-efficient airliner and the world's first major airliner to...
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