4 Takeaways About Boeing’s Quality Problems

Boeing, under intense scrutiny since a 737 Max 9 incident on Jan. 5, where a panel blew off mid-flight, faces significant pressure to enhance product quality and restore credibility. The company's struggle to maintain production amidst longstanding quality concerns has come to the forefront. Here are some key takeaways:

1. **Quality Problems Span Years**: Former and current employees highlight a history of quality compromises to meet production demands, with practices like "inspector shopping" undermining procedures.

2. **Improvement Efforts**: Boeing has denied allowing inspector shopping, vowing to boost quality inspectors by 20% since 2019, alongside increased per-plane inspections.

3. **Competition with Airbus**: In a bid to outpace Airbus, Boeing faced challenges even before the Max crashes, with Airbus gaining ground post-crashes, intensifying Boeing's pressure to catch up.

4. **Workforce Challenges**: Boeing's workforce underwent a major overhaul during the pandemic, losing seasoned employees and vital institutional knowledge, impacting production.

5. **Heightened Scrutiny**: Following the recent incidents, Boeing faces intensified regulatory scrutiny, with the FAA increasing factory inspections and a criminal investigation initiated by the Justice Department.

6. **Boeing's Response**: Boeing has outlined various measures to enhance quality, such as additional inspections in Renton, discontinuing subpar Max bodies from suppliers, and prioritizing employee training.

In response to the escalating challenges, Boeing is implementing sweeping changes in leadership, signaling a commitment to revamp its safety culture and address longstanding quality issues persisting within the company.  

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