CASE STUDY: International Association of Machinists and Boeing Joint Quality Through Training Programs
Author(s)Long, Kevin; Barrett, Betty
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The International Association of Machinists (IAM) and Boeing Company Quality Through Training Program (QTTP) is playing a vital role within the Boeing Company to cope with a complicated situation: reducing the workforce, implementing lean manufacturing, and the upcoming training of a new workforce as thousands of workers prepare for retirement in the coming years. QTTP Joint Training Programs were not created with these specific uses in mind, but because the programs are already established, they provide a foundation on which to build these new roles. Internal union and management groups are now relying on the credibility and connections of the QTTP leadership to facilitate organizational problem-solving. This case study describes how the joint program has responded to new organizational needs heightened by sudden changes in the aerospace industry. The events of September 11, 2001 were devastating for the aerospace industry. One year after the tragic events, (you say below that airlines postponed or cancelled orders) business air travel had declined approximately 30% while air travel overall was off approximately 11%. The airline industry was projected to lose more than $5 billion in 2002, on top of losing $7.7 billion in 2001. United Airlines filed for bankruptcy, while most other airlines continue to post stunning losses. In response to the drop in air travel demand, the airlines reduced the number of flights – requiring less aircraft. As a result, airlines postponed or cancelled orders for new planes. Boeing’s commercial business was hit hard and the company has announced the layoff of 30,000 workers. Despite this rather bleak picture, the QTTP leaders and representatives continue to skillfully promote joint, innovative activities that are mutually beneficial to those they represent. The activities described in this case are examples of the initiatives that QTTP is promoting. Of note is the consideration and respect that form the basis upon which decisions are made within the group.
Boeing, lean manufacturing, quality through training program, QTTP, aerospace
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