In mounting its outsourcing effort, Boeing "might have gone a couple thousand engineers too far," says Richard Aboulafia, vice-president at the Teal Group, an aviation consulting firm in Fairfax, Va.
And the executives, chastened by the missteps, appear to be readying suppliers for the likelihood they will lose some work, perhaps in production as well as in engineering design. Engineering Vice-President Mike Denton has suggested that the company is hammering out details about the changes with suppliers, whose contracts would likely have to be recast if changes are extensive. "Our engineers and production workers are basically correcting the problems that should have never come to us in the first place--problems that are the result of the partners really not being done," Denton said in a company podcast in the fall, as reported by the Web site Air Transport Intelligence. "We will probably do more of the design and even some of the major production for the next new airplanes ourselves as opposed to having it all out with the partners."