Poor manufacturing, or poor design, or both? One wonders about the 737 Max program at Boeing.

I don’t want to oversell myself, but I have worked in product development and program management. The stories about the program following the two early crashes hinted at management interference in the program. It almost sounded like pressure for shortcuts to get the planes out. They had many orders, but no plane. Then they had a plane, more orders, and needed to ramp up production. No shipments, no income. I’m sure we’ve all been there.

Why has the board of directors not fired the CEO? That’s all weird in some companies, though. I worked at one place where a ranking manager made several mistakes on programs that cost significant amounts of money—and that person was promoted. So, you never can tell.

This contains a word of warning for all of us manufacturing and production professionals. What we do can have serious repercussions down the line. It’s best to do our job well. And like in a well run Lean plant, pull the cord to stop production when we see a significant problem.

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