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Submission + - PLM: Boeing's Dream, Airbus' Nightmare

lizzyben writes: Could a piece of software be a key ingredient of Boeing's success — as well as a major contributor to Airbus' troubles? This long piece from Baseline sheds light on how the two jet-makers used the same type of technology — product life-cycle management software — with radically different results.

In October 2006, Airbus chief executive Christian Streiff announced that the company's A380 superjumbo would be delayed by at least two years. "The delay and resulting changes to the program were expected to cost Boeing's fiercest competitor as much as $6 billion in lost profits. The cause, Streiff said, was due to compatibility issues with the sophisticated computer-aided design software used by engineers to architect the A380."

More from the article: "Airbus' lax enforcement of a single lingua franca for design was at the heart of the A380's later problems. While there are many ways that different CAD systems, and even different editions of the same CAD programs, can trip up a product's design, those ways become multiplied with the complexity of the end product and the increased number of suppliers creating parts or components for its manufacture.

"By contrast, Boeing management is taking no such chances. Well before Airbus' problem became public, the U.S. aerospace manufacturer had put into place a rigorous set of requirements to ensure that the same edition of Catia is used by everyone connected with the shaping of the Dreamliner."

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.