July 4, 2011 – TOKYO (Reuters) - Boeing <BA.N> said on Monday it is considering building a new supplier system to minimize the impact of natural disasters on its operations, after a massive earthquake in Japan hurt production of the aerospace and defense firm's long-delayed 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
March's quake and tsunami wrought havoc on supply chains in a raft of industries, causing global shortages of items ranging from semiconductors to paint used in car production.
The CEO of Boeing Commercial Aircraft, Jim Albaugh, said the company is looking hard at its supplier relationships and the possibility of dual-sourcing critical parts.
"We want to make very sure that in the future we have a production system that is not impacted by natural catastrophe that could occur anywhere in the world," Albaugh told reporters on the sidelines of an event hosted by the company in Tokyo's Haneda airport.
About 35 percent of the Dreamliner is being developed and manufactured by Japanese firms including Kawasaki Heavy Industries <7012.T>, Fuji Heavy Industries <7270.T> and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries <7011.T>.
All Nippon Airways Co <9202.T>, the launch customer for the Dreamliner, expects to take first delivery of the plane sometimes in August or September.
The lightweight, carbon-composite Dreamliner is already more than three years behind its original delivery target of May 2008 due to production and labor problems.
(Reporting by Mariko Katsumura; Editing by Joseph Radford)