Guru Pandian1, Michael Pecht1, Enrico Zio2 and Melinda Hodkiewicz3
1 Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE), University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
2 Department of Energy, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
3 Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA 6009, Australia
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner, launched in 2011, was presented as a game changer in air travel. With the aim of producing an efficient, mid-size, wide-body plane, Boeing initiated innovations in product and process design, supply chain operation and risk management. Nevertheless, there were reliability issues from the start and the plane was grounded by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2013, due to safety problems associated with Li-ion battery fires. This paper chronicles events associated with the aircraft’s initial reliability challenges. The manufacturing, supply chain, and organizational factors that contributed to these problems are assessed based on FAA data. Recommendations and lessons learned are provided for the benefit of engineers and managers who will be engaged in future complex systems developments.