Boeing brings its customers on board
1. What problems do you think might be associated with bringing customers together in the way that Boeing did?
Although there are obvious advantages in talking to customers in the formal way which Boeing did, there are also some problems which Boeing must have addressed.
• The sheer organisation of bringing many customers together would have been time consuming and may even have slowed down the design project. • Selecting which customers to include would have been an issue for Boeing. Presumably they chose the more important customers (so the technique was being used partly as a sales promotion), but also they might have wanted to have included potential customers who, although not large, had a reputation for expertise. • Managing customer expectations must have been a problem. Because you ask a customer what they want, does not mean that you can give it them. • These customers also are commercial rivals. They compete amongst themselves. They may not have been entirely open when talking to Boeing. After all the benefits of any suggestions they make are automatically also conferred on their rivals.
2. Why do you think that Boeing’s customers wanted the flexibility to configure passenger space?
Different aircraft routes have different requirements. For example, routes to popular holiday destinations are unlikely to require much first class cabin accommodation and probably not too much business class accommodation. Most holiday makers fly economy class. On the other hand, popular business routes will require more space devoted to first and business class. Being able to adjust cabin proportions relatively easily allows the airlines to shift planes from one type of route to another more easily.