Boeing ready? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Copyright ) 1998 The Seattle Times Company

From the Seattle Times Nov. 7th 1998

Boeing says all its suppliers might not be ready for millennium bug

by Peter Robison Bloomberg News

Boeing is not convinced all its suppliers have eliminated the so-called "millennium bug" from their computer systems, raising the risk of production holdups at the turn of the century.

The world's biggest aircraft builder called that a "worst-case" scenario in a quarterly filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Boeing said it's unconcerned about its own systems and will have most of its systems ready by the end of the year. Boeing estimated it's spending $35 million a year to fix the bug.

Early computer programmers used only two digits to designate years in their programs, meaning some software might recognize "00" as 1900 rather than 2000.

Left unrepaired, the bug is dangerous for manufacturers like Boeing that rely on computers to order parts at just the right time for production lines. General Motors has designated $500 million to fix any glitches.

"We're not worried about it," said Susan Davis, a Boeing spokeswoman. "We've identified everything we know to the suppliers and it's their responsibility to take care of it now."

Boeing, based in Seattle, has about 920 suppliers.

Some of them are the sole providers of certain parts, such as Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman for the 747 fuselage.

In the filing, Boeing said it started canvassing suppliers in the second quarter and can't yet "definitively determine" that they're ready for 2000 without any disruptions to production. It stressed that it doesn't know of any specific supplier that could pose a risk.

Boeing is resolving production bottlenecks created last year as it sought to double jet production to more than 40 a month. It was forced to shut down the 747 and 737 assembly lines for about a month because of severe parts shortages, and delays eventually cost it $3 billion in pretax charges.

Boeing maintains the millennium bug poses no risk to the safety of flight and that very few systems on commercial airplanes need date functions. A team of engineers working on the bug since 1993 has found only a few potential nuisances, such as malfunctioning clocks in the cockpit, the company says.

Also in the SEC filing, Boeing said it bought back 10.6 million shares, or 1 percent of its outstanding stock, for $364 million in September. The company said in August it would buy as much as 15 percent of its stock.

Boeing also disclosed it agreed to pay former Chief Financial Officer Boyd Givan, who took early retirement Sept. 1 , a $250,000 bonus for "outstanding service over many years" in addition to the regular shares and bonus he was due for 1998.

-- Martin Thompson (, November 07, 1998


This is the solution and the problem - all in one (or 920, actually)...

Boeing (working since 1993, spending what they claim is 35,000,000) per year officially), probably 70,000,000 by the time you count management, meetings, and coffee pot discussions, says they will become compliant. Not there yet, but don't think THEY will have a problem.

But then they (like GM, Ford, and Chrysler) looked at their suppliers (who haven't talked to their suppliers yet) and aren't sure. Neglecting gas, transportation, and power for a minute, (why not, Boeing did - what do they know?) now they (Boeing got burned real bad last year by not having parts. So at least now they are forcing suppliers to start (oops, a bit late) to survey and fix things.

Many companies probably feel the same way - they are worried about what they cannot control, but themselves (their own business) might be okay. Little by little, maybe it is getting better.

Then again, maybe people will start seeing what the readers here have seen for months - its getting better (economically), but not fast enough to get all the suppliers in all the food chains fixed in time to keep everybody busy and employed.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, November 08, 1998.

My sister-in-law works for Boeings, and has been aware of y2k remediation work going on for a long time. But about those 920 suppiers? THEY must have complient suppliers... to get materials in order to produce the parts they make for Boeings... and then, of course, the suppliers of those materials would need complient sources for their raw materials, etc., etc.,etc. veerry interesting....

-- Suzanne (, November 10, 1998.

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