How Boeing Got Going

The 787 forced the firm to rethink its manufacturing process

It was the jet that Boeing didn't build that averted what could have become one of the worst crash landings in the company's 91-year history--and cleared Boeing to conquer the skies again. In October 2002, executives of the aircraft manufacturer met with a group of global airline representatives at a conference center on the Seattle waterfront. The executives were trying desperately to figure out what to build next to hold off a soaring Airbus. One Boeing boss drew a graph on a whiteboard, the axes being cruising range and passenger numbers. Then he asked the airline representatives to locate their ideal...

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