Written by: Sean Roach
My first week at Boeing has come to a close so I will give you all a short recap. Firstly, I’ve deciphered what exactly my department (Pricing and Offerability Estimation) does: when a consumer wants to buy a plane from Boeing, they often want it customized to their preferences. This can include special luxury seats, embroidered carpets, extra bathrooms, and what have you. My group’s job is to take that request from the customer and firstly, find out if it’s feasible to the engineers. Obviously if a customer wanted to turn a 787 into a bi-plane, that would be unfeasible. Once we get engineer approval, we then gather data from them on the materials and labor costs needed to implement the change.
We use historical and current data to develop of financial model to analyze the total costs. We also analyze the weight change caused by the new features, because if making the plane heavier or lighter affects the overall price of the plane (because of fuel efficiency standards) dramatically. After taking all of that in to consideration, we tell the customer how much it will cost and they can choose to buy it or not. Sometimes the change isn’t coming from a customer though, it is coming from a Boeing engineer that has either found a defect that needs to be corrected, or a new technology that should be installed. The concept is the same either way.
This week I’ve attended lots of strategy/planning meetings about how to deal with a flood of changes that need to be analyzed on a plane that is 2.5 years late on delivery and on a budget that is completely bankrupt.
I also went to a meeting with one of our Japanese suppliers where I fed some data into financial models for management as they negotiated prices on a change order made by the Japanese. Today I performed my first cost analysis on a change order alone (an airline wants to use different food carts for in-flight meals and Boeing has to adjust the cabinets that hold the carts in place accordingly). I sent my findings to management for approval and they will forward them on to the airline customer.
I’m shocked at how quickly I’m doing real work. Everyone seems eager to pawn off their easy workloads on me so they can concentrate on harder things, though I’m promised that after I master the basics they will have me start work supporting the larger projects.
Meanwhile I’ve toured our production facility (the largest building in the world by volume), joined the Boeing corporate ultimate Frisbee team (we won our first game 15-2), and made friends with a number of other young employees. I can’t wait till I’m given more challenging work so I can really have a chance to prove myself.