Boeing's New President Knows How To Listen

With a master's degree in aeronautical engineering from Princeton and 27 years at the world's top aircraft maker, Phil Condit has reason to think he knows more about manufacturing than the next guy. But when he visited a Toyota Motor Corp. engine factory in Japan in 1991, Condit had a sudden insight. At the point in the assembly process where workers needed to turn an engine there was a post. When the engine hit an arm on that post, the arm, set on a turntable, pushed the engine around. A simple device, yet Condit marveled. "We would probably have used a set of hydraulic actuators that turn a rotary table when triggered by a fiber-optic sensor," says Boeing Co.'s new president. "They just used a little post."

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.