Maintenance-production teamwork, in the eyes of a Boeing ops manager

Paul V. Arnold, Noria Corporation
Tags: maintenance and reliability

Fred Morrison is Boeing’s senior manager of paint operations for the company’s sites in Seattle and Renton, Wash., with prime responsibility for 737 aircraft.


He believes “maintenance is my best friend.” He also states, “We all know how important maintenance is, but we also know how important it is to deliver airplanes.”


The balance and bond between maintenance and production is important to the success of any plant. Here are, in the words of Morrison, the components of a successful maintenance-production partnership.


“First, we have to agree that neither one works for the other,” he says. “We have a mutual goal. Now, we are a three-shift operation and so we have to have equal skill sets in all three shifts. That’s one thing I know these guys have been working toward. They have a variety of crafts that support them – electricians, millwrights, plumbers. We’re all trying to get to rate without adding a lot of heads. It’s about response time in getting problems solved. Training and skills are critical in today’s environment when we are a three-shift operation. These guys are three-shift, just like we are.


“Also, we have to share information. I can’t imagine what our relationship would be like if (maintenance team leader) Pat (Denehey) didn’t come in and join us in our morning meeting every day because we need group focus. Our schedules change so frequently that we need to be on the same page. When we need something that’s urgent as a delivery requirement, we may need to bump maintenance. Maintenance is every bit as important and we need to make time to do it. I’ve worked weekends to get him maintenance days. He’s worked weekends so I can get production time.


“That’s the basic component right there – it’s mutual goals. If you have that, you have everything.”