The leaders of the
Boeing space transportation businesses met with their top 150
suppliers to discuss the results of the Boeing Mission Assurance Review (BMAR)
and its findings in terms of supplier expectations.

The BMAR, which was chaired by Dr. Sheila Widnall, former Secretary of the
Air Force and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, was chartered
by Boeing to review the company’s expendable launch vehicle programs and make
recommendations to improve mission success.

The review board recommended that Boeing increase its focus on launch
vehicle quality in every phase, from design through manufacturing to
operations, in the belief that a strong quality-first focus will lead to
increased reliability at reduced cost.
Other recommendations were made in
areas such as systems engineering, engineering accountability, supplier
management, flight instrumentation and post-flight analysis.

Boeing Space and Communications Group is implementing the BMAR findings
across its businesses, according to Peter Ross, director of Supplier
Management for Boeing Space and Communications Group.
Expendable Launch
Systems and Reusable Space Systems are the first business segments to
specifically address the concerns raised by the BMAR committee.

Some of the critical BMAR recommendations are:

  • Quality must be the company’s highest priority

  • As part of system engineering, increase emphasis on horizontal
    integration across vehicle subsystems and organizational elements

  • Modify internal procedures to require "closure" (understanding and
    intent) between design engineering and manufacturing

  • Ensure that a formal procedure exists to evaluate the need for
    re-qualification of flight-critical elements after design changes

  • Require suppliers of flight-critical hardware to implement the same
    management and configuration control disciplines that Boeing uses as
    vehicle integrator

  • Increase emphasis on failure risk management and independent reviews

  • Clarify responsibility and accountability within program organizations
    including certification of component and system responsible engineers

From the BMAR recommendations, Boeing established a mandatory
certification program for all suppliers of flight-critical launch vehicle
hardware.
Certification requires training and quality improvements, which
will be reviewed as part of the process.
Suppliers are required to complete
the certification process by December 31, 2000.

“To become BMAR certified, we are asking our suppliers to help us address
the concerns raised by the BMAR committee,” Ross said.
“The intent is not to
make it more difficult to work with Boeing, but to manage our supply chain
consistently.”