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I just read that Boeing has converted the 737 line to a moving production line (I've seen an article on the 717 line- cool stuff) and that it takes 14 days to build one, with a goal of 8! obviously that is final assembly, and not component fabrication. I know that the fuselages are esentially sent whole from Boeing Wichita (seen plenty of photos of that!)Tim

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As part of a seminar on lean manufacturing I attended I was able to tour the Renton factory and see their work. Very impressive. Its really the first time in my memory that Boeing has allowed a significant grass root effort for changing the style of manufacturing. Sadly, the message taught in the seminar was that management will destroy the enthusiasm for grass roots efforts if we proceed to lay off the excess labor we expose, which is a big company concept that is absurd from a small company job shop perspective.The only reason the same absurdity isn't highly visible to the teachers of the seminar is the basic bulk of the Boeing Company. 30000 people have been laid off in the past year! Yet the concepts are allowed to be reported seperately, one article states huge gains based on lean, another states the need for huge layoffs based on economic factors.As a middle manager in a small company, I can't hide reality behind bulk. Of course, that's why I work in a small company, it ain't co-incidence! My employees are aware that when their labor is not key to the revenue picture they are vulnerable. So hearing a message that I should engage in these initiatives, but if I lay off afterwards I've doomed my future hopes for lean enhancements is a rock and a hard place.The big company viewpoint is that there is an infinite number of places you can "transfer" the employee to enjoy further contribution. Their process is still, however described as a cost saving. Again, when you consider the large cost of their product, they can legitimately claim cost is reduced by cutting lead time, reducing the need for huge quantities of working capital, but again...I'm a little guy. I don't invest huge money in material. I don't have nooks and crannies to transfer workers too. Only from a big company perspective would I be taught that I can reduce cost even though I won't be spending any less money! Cheers,Bob Bernstein

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