Last week’s poll: Boeing and the pitfalls of technology outsourcing

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner is in deep trouble, with all aircraft grounded and over 3600 flights cancelled as a result of battery fires. What conclusions should Boeing (and other companies which outsource technology development) draw from this?

We had another very large response to last week’s poll, with over 430 people registering their opinion on what conclusion Boeing might draw from its problems with fires in batteries procured for its 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The largest group of respondents, 37 per cent, went for perhaps the most obvious option — making safety tests on subsystems more stringent. The next largest group, 27 per cent, said that Boeing should embed quality control personnel within companies supplying safety-critical systems to ensure that components and systems don’t cause problems. A little over 18 per cent said that companies should avoid outsourcing by bringing as much technology development in-house as possible, while the smallest group, 17 per cent, said that more diligence is necessary when selecting companies to which technology development is outsourced.

Boeingchart

What’s your opinion on this subject and this poll? As all the subsystems on aircraft become more complex, are there any easy answers to this question? Must aerospace companies always expect teething problems on new aircraft, and just hope that they aren’t severe enough to bring an aeroplane down mid-flight? Is there a role for more stringent inspection regimes? Let us know below.