The ambitious new Dreamliner was 20% more fuel-efficient (Bryson and Rusten, 319). Almost 367,000 parts, from a total of 900 suppliers scattered globally, came together to
form this Dreamliner (Boeing). Boeing selected thirty Tier 1 global strategic partners, and their engineering teams came to Seattle to do preliminary engineering design. These partners represented the most diverse global talent pool ever assembled to create a Boeing new commercial airplane. They were assigned to eight teams: fuselage, propulsion, services, interiors, systems, production, integration, and wing, empennage and landing gear. These partners were then responsible for meeting the overall detailed design requirements as expected by Boeing by further collaborating with their own suppliers forming the ‘Tier 2’ suppliers that would consequently subcontract to ‘Tier 3’ suppliers. The spatial presence of some of the Tier 1 partners responsible for delivering plane sections was as follows- the rudder and leading edges came from China, the tail cones from South Korea, flaps from Australia, mid-fuselage section and wings and wing box from Japan, mid-fuselage sections from Italy, landing gear from England and the nose section from the USA (Bryson and Rusten, 318). Boeing only produced the vertical tails in-house in the US. Quantitatively, Boeing outsourced almost 70% of the design and manufacturing and developed only about 10% in-house in the case of the 787 Dreamliner (Turner, 20). In order to transport the numerous sections of the plane, a Boeing-747 freight airplanes were utilized to enable swift movement (Turner, 20). Once all the plane’s sections were brought in, they were fitted into place and this entire process of final assembly took only 3 days while traditional planes on an average would take 20-30 days to assemble. An interesting point to note in this dynamic and geographically varied production model is the manufacturing of the 787’s wings. Boeing outsourced its most crucial bit of engineering design for the first time ever to three of it’s key manufacturing companies in Japan namely, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
and Fuji Heavy Industries along with Alenia Aeronautica, an Italian company (Bryson and Rusten, 318). Initially, the Japanese wing design team worked closely with Boeing’s design team at Boeing’s Everett facility in Washington State but later returned to Japan to concentrate on designing the wing while the Boeing design team shifted its focus to coordinating systems integration of the different plane sections flowing in from different partners (Bryson and Rusten, 307-323).
One of the main reasons the 787 was considered a breakthrough product in aviation was because it was built using new materials technology that is, the primary structure- wings, empennage and fuselage were being built using advanced composite materials. The 787 Dreamliner, was composed of 50% composites, 20% aluminum, 15% titanium, 10% steel,...