The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] this week began assembling 757s on a moving assembly line in its Renton, Wash. factory. Commercial Airplanes' 737 and 757 Vice President-General Manager Carolyn Corvi and 757 Manufacturing Director Larry Loftis applauded as 757 Functional Test Supervisor Larry Mullins started the 757 moving line.
The moving line method moves an airplane 24 feet a day through the final assembly stage. The 100-ton jetliners are pulled by an automatic self-guided tug, the same device being used by the 737 moving line.
Along with other lean manufacturing methods, this innovative technique improves production efficiency and quality, while shortening the time it takes to deliver airplanes to airline customers. The Lean system is being implemented in phases, beginning with the last position in the production line. Once implementation is complete, the 757 program expects to reduce flow time and inventory levels by more than 30 percent.