About Boeing…..

June 7, 2024

As you may know, in my national Business Journal columns, in webinars, on my blog, and in past email newsletters, I have stressed that

  1. Although the two are inextricably intertwined, there is a definite difference between financial expertise and operational expertise.
  2. Companies need both.
  3. Too often, companies lack operationally gifted managers.

There is no more obvious current example of this than the ongoing operational failures at Boeing. Even in the face of the 737 Max crashes in 2018 and 2019 in which 346 people died, quality issues have persisted.

Some sources have blamed the current problems on shortcomings such as lapses in quality control practices, speed over quality, failed inspection processes, inadequate oversight of outsourced vendors, loss of experienced workers, lack of adequate worker training, and “corporate culture,” but the root cause of all those issues—the deficiency that must be addressed—is a lack of operationally gifted personnel, possibly at almost every level of Boeing.

Other sources have blamed the problems on a focus on profit over product. Again, however, if among the board members and top management—including top financial management—were some who are operationally gifted, those people would immediately see—almost literally—the relationship between profit and quality or lack thereof. Poor quality has a cost.

Clearly, Boeing has not had operationally gifted managers in some key positions in the organization, starting with the C-Suite and Board of Directors. What gets measured is what gets done, and what is more critical to measure than quality?