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Boeing 787 Dreamliner Program in Crisis- Commentary Four

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This is a Supply Chain Matters update on our ongoing coverage of the latest crisis involving Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner program. In Commentary Three published on January 30th, it was noted that daily media coverage of the potential causes of electrical fire is now viral and finger pointing has now switched from suppliers toward Boeing itself. The more these investigations drag on, the more that Boeing’s Dreamliner creditability suffers, along with that of any suppliers targeted in these ongoing investigations. Launch customer All Nippon Airways (ANA) indicated that it replaced 10 batteries in the months before the two recent fire and in-air emergency incidents.  Further disclosed was that in a little noticed test conducted in 2010, the U.S. Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) found that the lithium cobalt chemistry selected by Boeing was the most flammable of several different types considered. Boeing had elected to not revisit the design because of weight […]


Foxconn to Support More Open Union Representation

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Today’s front page headline of the print edition of the Financial Times, Foxconn workers in landmark China vote,  (paid subscription or free metered view) is no doubt newsworthy for global supply chain audiences. FT reports that the largest contract manufacturer in the world is paving the way for the first ever competitive level union representation elections within its China factories, in essence to step back from control of an in-house union. Labor unions within China have traditionally been influenced by state and local government, the Communist party, and employers, standing more for peaceful labor harmony among workers and their employers. Many Chinese workers do not feel an affinity toward labor unions because of a lack of perceived representation. This development is characterized as the first time where a Chinese private sector employer would support competitive union elections among its workforce while allowing a broader representation from younger workers. Foxconn will […]


Auto Suppliers Continue to Embrace Diversification as Survival Strategy

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When the 2008-2009 severe economic recession impacted the automotive industry in the United States, Supply Chain Matters featured commentaries noting how various suppliers had turned to broader product innovation and industry diversification strategies to buffer severe impacts in domestic automotive related business. In many cases, these strategies insured survival as a supplier. Some automotive suppliers began to broaden their presence in other geographic markets as well as supply components to other offsetting industries such as medical devices or alternative energy. While large OEM’s may garner the attention of the government to protect a strategic industry and thousands of jobs, suppliers within other tiers of the supply base are less protected during times of severe recession. That was certainly the case in the United States. Thus it was with interest that we once again noted an article published last Friday in the Financial Times which reports that some of Europe’s car […]