Riding Out The Storm

Regardless of what its customers do, the way Boeing handles the 787 crisis will most certainly affect customer relations and future orders. Boeing has a lot on its side. The innovativeness of the current product line, expertise in supply chain management, and the strength of its sales teams in managing customer relationships will all help to resolve the problems with the Dreamliner program. But Boeing had these things going for it before the crisis began. The question is, what will Boeing do differently in the future.

In a 2008 memo to employees, CEO McNerney said, "The simple reality is that it's time to get it done—and done right." McNerney has made it very clear that he expects more from everyone involved in the 787 Dreamliner program, from the top down. He has reached deeply into the company's executive roster,

Chapter 6 | Business Markets and Business Buyer Behavior 213

plucking a team from Boeing's defense unit to straighten out the Dreamliner process. He is pushing executives to act more aggressively. This includes sticking their noses into suppliers' operations, even stationing Boeing employees on the factory floors of every major supplier.

McNerney himself is more directly involved with the 787 program. He gets daily briefings on the plane's progress. He frequently makes his presence known on factory floors and even visits with assembly line workers. "We've got 240 programs in the company, and there's one that's got more of my attention right now than any one, and that's the 787," Mr. McNerney said. "I hope we are [eventually] defined by the 787. Just not right this instant."

Mr. McNerney took over as CEO well after the Dreamliner program was under way, so the current problems are not being attributed to him. But customers and others throughout the industry are watching him closely to see how he handles the situation. Says Charlie Smith, chief investment officer with Fort Pitt Capital Group, "No matter what other successes Jim McNerney has at Boeing, he will be judged on how he handles the 787. He's either going to win big or lose big," he said. And McNerney's outcome will be directly shared by the Boeing Corporation, including the teams that must deal day in and day out with anxious and frustrated customers.

Questions for Discussion

1. Discuss the nature of the market structure and demand for the Dreamliner. What are the implications of this for Boeing and its customers?

2. What examples of the major types of buying situations do you see in the case? Discuss the implications of each in terms of marketing strategy.

3. List the specific features of the Dreamliner. What customer benefits result from each?

4. Discuss the customer buying process for a Boeing airplane. In what major ways does this process differ from the buying process a passenger might go through in choosing an airline?

5. What marketing recommendations would you make to McNerney as he continues to try to resolve the problems with the 787 Dreamliner program?

Sources: Josh Dean, "Fast 50 2008: Boeing," Fast Company, February,

2008, p. 106; Laurence Zuckerman, "Selling Airplanes with a Smile," New

York Times, February 17, 2002, p. 3.2; J. Lynn Lunsford, "Boeing CEO

Fights Headwind," Wall Street Journal, April 25, 2008, p. B1; Michael V.

Copeland, "Boeing's Big Dream," Fortune, April 24, 2008, accessed online at www.money.cnn.com; Marilyn Adams, "Boeing Bounces Back

Against Odds," USA Today, January 11, 2007, p. 1B.

Chapter 7

Part 1 Defining Marketing and B» Mo»

Pert 2 Understanding the lie-

Part 3 Designing a Customer-Driven St-:

Part 4 extending Marketing {Chapters

Customer-Driven Marketing

Crushing Your Goals and Achieving Success

Crushing Your Goals and Achieving Success

Meeting Realistic Goals Can Be Easy if You Have the Right Understanding of the Process. The Reason So Many People Fail at Meeting Their Goals is Because They Have a Confused Understanding of Realistic Goal Setting and Self-Motivation Methodology.

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    What marketing recommendations would you make to mcnerney as he?
    8 years ago
  • pia trevisano
    What examples of the major types of buying situations do you see in the case?
    8 years ago

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