One of Boeing’s many challenges in the wake of the twin 737 Max disasters is how the company should reshape its internal systems to ensure the errors that led to the crashes – whether of omission or commission – are not repeated.
An independent panel has recommended a raft of changes, which the airframer’s board has now agreed to adopt.
Engineers will no longer be siloed in Boeing’s three divisions – instead they will see their roles reinforced, and will now report into a head of engineering, who will then report to the company’s chief executive.
In addition, a newly-created “Product and Services Safety” division will review all aspects of aircraft safety. Crucially, this will provide employees with a means of raising safety concerns, particularly around “undue pressure”.
While nothing can guarantee that a Boeing airliner will never crash again, these proposals go some way to addressing the systemic failings apparently present at the manufacturer.
Creating these new structures and processes is all well and good, but Boeing’s internal watchdogs must have teeth: there is little point setting up a new body if it has no power to intervene in the product development process.
Additionally, while any corporation is clearly there to make money, the pursuit of profit must not be allowed to trump safety concerns.
At Boeing, new bodies are being created and procedures are being set up to the sound of the stable door slamming shut and the sound of hooves galloping into the distance.
However, if those changes prevent another tragedy, some good will have been achieved.
Source: Flight International