“Integrated Material & Information Management is the foundation of Boeing’s strategic supply chain architecture.” —Tim Murnin, Boeing’s director of supply chain planning, systems, and Lean
Customer service improved markedly when the global aerospace and defense giant redesigned its supply chain processes and systems to streamline process flow and service activities
Aerospace and defense manufacturers make a living creating and servicing complex machines capable of amazing agility. Unfortunately, that complexity sometimes creeps into areas of the business where it’s not welcome.
At aerospace leader Boeing, complexity in supply chain operations was hampering business efficiency. Employees in the Global Services & Support division of the company’s Defense, Space & Security business were running a gantlet trying to field customer requests for proposals, facilitate product support activities, and manage suppliers. Among the culprits: disconnected processes, multiple logins for disparate information systems, and a maze of internal applications from which workers had to retrieve and verify data, often in a highly manual fashion.
In response, Boeing in 2008 initiated a five-year program called Integrated Material & Information Management (IMIM) to boost customer responsiveness, contract agility, and, ultimately, growth. The project earned Boeing a 2011 PM100 Award in the Customer Mastery category.
For help streamlining its customer service processes, Boeing tapped technology partner Oracle Corp. to implement a service-oriented IT infrastructure as well as business process management tools. Through those tools, the aerospace company was able to overhaul the work processes underlying contracts and pricing, product support, and related activities. The Global Services & Support division benefited from role-based access to various systems as well as common processes with standardized metrics.
“Integrated Material & Information Management is the foundation of Boeing’s strategic supply chain architecture,” says Tim Murnin, Boeing’s director of supply chain planning, systems, and Lean. “It will help enable our future competitiveness and, most importantly, allow us to better meet the critical supply needs of our defense and government customers for years to come.”
Through the project, the company has seen a 57% increase in labor efficiency, an improvement in on-time delivery of between 10% and 15%, and a reduction in purchase order cycle time of more than 50%.
That hard-won supply chain simplicity has allowed Boeing to refocus on the complexity that it values: the kind found in its well-engineered products.