Air Transport World

New generation at Boeing reshapes management structure.

New generation at Boeing reshapes management structure Seattle--the shifting of gears at the headquarters of Boeing Commercial Airplane Co. has been echoing over the Puget Sound as a new generation of managers takes command of the manufacturing giant. They have reoriented the management structure, leaning out the bureaucracy and shortening lines of communication and review. This effort is a part of the overall move to reduce the price of aircraft to the buyer (ATW, 8/85). It also is intended to maintain BCAC's health and vitality.

"We have a major effort underway to lower our costs and to improve our productivity," said BCAC President Dean Thornton in a recent speech. "We are auditing systematically our entire development, production, support and marketing functions. We are eliminating functions which no longer are necessary or relevant. We plan to remove all artificial barriers between organizations which impede the simplification of the overall work process."

Boeing has been quite successful at holding down the size of its management team. During the two-year period from December 1983 to January 1986 the company's employe rolls increased 7,250, the vast majority additional production workers. In that same interval the number of management-level workers in the company declined slightly, dropping from 568 at the end of 1983 to 565 in early 1986.

The major management restructuring effort, however, did not start until last April, and the first changes as a result of that effort were not implemented until June 1985. Those changes were limited to a pilot effort in the sales and marketing staff, selected as the test organization because it "was small enough to work on," Thornton told ATW. …

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