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Boeing's vice-president business strategy, determined to improve supply chain after delay's.

Boeing seems to change it's approach to global supply chain management, according to the
companies vice president for business strategy, Mike Blair.

The production of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner aircraft has been suffering from supply chain problems,
and Mike Blair said he believed that the experiences of the past few years would lead to shift in
strategy.Further, Blair said that some of its main suppliers had fallen short of expectations.

The project, which has been delayed by six months due to supplier shortages, used companies
from across the world to help Boeing build their most ambitious aircraft. Blair also mentioned that
some of these suppliers will not be working with Boeing again. "Some of them proved incapable of
doing it," he said. "They just couldn't do what we thought they could do."

As a procurement consultant from, and former procurement manager
in aerospace I am of course happy to hear that a main aircraft manufacturer like Boeing is to
improve their supply chain. However, I think the problem Boeing and Airbus procurement and
supply chain are confronted with, is too complicated to speak merely about supply chain problems.

I mean.....we are talking here about new high tech aircrafts manufactured by several high tech
component builders around the world. takes a lot of effort to keep track on all those different
high tech processes at all those high tech component manufacturers you work with. Not to mention
the various production planning's afterwards....

This extremely difficult situation in high tech companies, therefore requires not only a more
professional supply chain, but also a more sophisticated supplier selection, and a Procurement
vendor manager who manages these relations, processes and production planning with all the
component manufacturers. Often problems occur in large companies, there where communication
is cut in many different lines, so one department or component manufacturer does not know the
progress of the other.

This particular lack of communication often leads to delay's in engineering or compatibility of
different components, which again leads too further delay's in production, to make the circle round. 

It is there where the Procurement vendor manager puts these lines together, communicates the
progress, and screens the key factors which are slowing down the project, so you can act directly
when problems occur. He or she will also push engineers by bringing the right information together,
at the right time. For example; your English supplier has a technical problem and is not able to solve
it quickly, unless your vendor manager brings the engineers of this supplier in contact with your own smartest engineers, or those from other suppliers you work with. Suddenly the problem is solved in
two weeks, while it could have taken two more months if you don't act as the pushing factor and
foresee problems in the very start phase.

In other words: Use the worlds knowledge to speed up your process and do not expect everything
solves itself at your suppliers. Please remember that nobody is perfect in this world, and you work
in a high tech environment where challenge after challenge and improvement after improvement
should be achieved ! Therefore, never rely only on others to achieve the ultimate !

Want to know more about global procurement, vendor management and product development in
a high tech environment ? Contact Erwin Overdijk, Managing Director, at

Erwin Overdijk, Managing Director, Procurementadvies / Procurementnetwork