World Class Supplier Quality

The 787 Dreamliner has about 2.3 million parts per airplane. They include everything from “fasten seatbelt” signs to jet engines and vary in size from small fasteners to large fuselage sections.

Some parts are built by Boeing, and others are purchased from supplier partners around the world. Suppliers have been part of the Boeing Production System since the company was founded in 1916. William Boeing Sr. procured finished assemblies such as engines and materials such as the “very best Irish linen” as covering for the wings of his first airplanes.

In 2012, Boeing purchased approximately 75 percent of its supplier content from U.S. companies. On the 787 program, content from non-U.S. suppliers accounts for about 30 percent of purchased parts and assemblies.

787 Tier 1 Suppliers

Potential suppliers are evaluated on a range of criteria, including commercial offerings, ability, capacity, integrity, financial health, geographic location, performance, reliability, quality of product, on-time delivery and overall customer-supplier relations. A key criterion is a proven ability to manage a subtier supply chain. Subtier suppliers are the suppliers who provide raw materials and other items to first-tier Boeing suppliers.

Ensuring Supplier Quality

A Boeing airplane is handed over to the customer only after it has met the rigorous standards of both Boeing and regulatory authorities. A highly structured system of testing and oversight ensures process consistency, accountability and compliance at all levels of the supply chain.

Boeing uses a robust, disciplined and proven process to make sure that parts and services it buys meet all specifications for quality and performance and that they reach the company’s factories on time to keep production smooth and steady.

Boeing personnel are embedded at supplier factories around the world to monitor quality, work with suppliers on process improvements, and ensure adherence to Boeing standards and schedules. Boeing also performs audits of supplier operations.

When it comes to regulatory requirements, Boeing’s external supplier network is an extension of Boeing factories. Suppliers must meet or exceed established performance measures for quality, capability and compliance. External suppliers must adhere to Boeing standards and practices, including deployment of a rigorous quality management system.

Boeing suppliers must certify that their production systems meet Boeing Quality Management System requirements, and their systems must be approved by Boeing, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and an independent third party. The FAA also has a dedicated management unit for the oversight and compliance of Boeing’s management of its suppliers.

The Boeing Global Fleet

There are 13,000 Boeing airplanes in the worldwide commercial airplane fleet. They were all built using this robust and exhaustive approach to quality and supplier management. In the next 20 years, that number of airplanes is expected to double. Airline customers and the flying public can count on the Boeing supplier management program and the company’s compliance with established industry regulatory standards to ensure that the airplanes they fly are safe and technically sound.