Boeing’s New Quality Transformation Program: Will It Fly?

Boeing’s New Quality Transformation Program: Will It Fly?

February 19, 2019

Will Boeing’s new “Quality Transformation” program fly?

Boeing is revamping quality inspection processes and plans to eliminate up to 900 quality inspector jobs over the next two years.  The plan involves mechanics doing more checks of their own work, rather than using inspectors to verify accuracy.  In addition, automated processes or tools make mechanics’ work simpler, more accurate, and faster, further reducing the number of inspections needed.  Another key to the program is using sampling rather than inspecting every job for accuracy.

In December, however, Boeing’s sampling process indicated that one job category failed to meet its 95% standard, with only 93% of the sampled tasks being done correctly. Additionally, some unionized quality inspectors are concerned that quality is being compromised and that Boeing may be pressuring inspectors to make it look like the new processes are doing the job even if they aren’t.

This post is based on the Seattle Times article, Boeing’s move toward fewer inspectors is questioned following quality control audit, by Dominic Gates, February 1, 2019; and the Herald Net article, Boeing revamps quality control: More high tech, fewer humans, also by Dominic Gates, January 22, 2019. Image source: Monty Rakusen/Getty Continue reading

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Robot Farmers

Robot Farmers

October 23, 2018

The start-up company, Iron Ox, is working to deliver robotically grown vegetables.  They have planted their first robot farm about 25 miles south of San Francisco in a warehouse.  They intend to sell their vegetables to local restaurants later this year, and to supermarkets early next year.

Their first farm is in a warehouse forcing them to use artificial lights, and thus substantial energy.  But future robot farms will be in greenhouses to reduce energy costs.  Their plan is to locate these robot farms close to metropolitan areas.


Video Spotlight: Watch robots grow food without farmers


This post is based on The Daily Times article, Meet the farmers of the future: Robots, by Michael Liedtke, September 28, 2018, and the YouTube video, Watch robots grow food without farmers, by CNBC, October 3, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / Beros919.

Discussion Questions:

1. What benefits does the use of robotics have for the farm?

Guidance: The biggest advantage is the reduction in labor.  The cost of farm labor is rising, and finding workers is getting more difficult.  Until recently, many of the workers on U.S. farms were not in the U.S. legally. Continue reading

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