You have been appointed by Murasaki Aircraft Corporation (MAC), a relatively new aircraft manufacturer in Japan, as the Project Director. MAC’s shareholders include parent company Murasaki Heavy Industries (MHI) 64%, Toyota Motor Corporation (10%) and Mitsubishi Corporation (10%) and Sumitomo Corporation and Mitsui & Co with minor shares. MAC is only producing Regional Jets and has no ambition to compete with Boeing and Airbus, especially since MAC is manufacturing Boeing’s 787’s wings. However, the CEO, Lisanne wishes to grow the company to the next level by entering into the medium size passenger jet market directly competing with the Big Two. She wishes to use Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner lightweight construction technology to reduce the weight of the aircraft and the partnering strategy (international consortium approach) that Boeing and Airbus employed for the 787 and A380 aircraft respectively to spread the manufacturing risks – although the partnering proved to be problematic for both companies. In order to develop the concept, Lisanne has asked you to collect as much information on the 787 and A380 projects as possible and determine what they did well and in which areas they should have paid more attention, and perhaps performed better, in order to avoid the problems that plagued their projects. Lisanne needs the information to determine how feasible her concept is from a project perspective and to ultimately build a business case to persuade the shareholders, if the issues identified by you can be resolved.
Read through the case study material carefully.
In effect, the CEO, Lisanne, is seeking from you:
Firstly, you will need to critically examine what the two companies have done, or may have done, at each phase of the project management cycle (initiation, planning, execution – including monitoring and control but ignoring closing) and how that led to the final outcome. The outcome could be either positive results or negative results. As detailed information on the projects is ‘Commercial in Confidence’, it is highly unlikely that any company-originated documents would be available in the public domain. You will need to rely on company media releases, news reports, and professional case studies for information. In some instances you will need examine the outcome (e.g., inability to connect electric cablings between A380 aircraft modules) of the relevant project activities (e.g., engineering design) and make some assumptions as to what the companies might have done or not done in terms of following proper project management methodologies (e.g., quality plan …etc). Focus on the international context whenever you need to. This is particularly important for the second part of this task. You are working for a Japanese company, with a female CEO and your supply partners are from across the globe. What strategies are you going to recommend to your CEO to ensure MAC does not repeat Boeing’s and AirBus’ mistakes because of cultural differences and other issues that are unique to international projects?
The video on the AirBus A380 and 787 will provide a fair amount of information about the issues that both projects faced and should assist you with this task.
Your report should be presented in an essay format. It needs to look and sound professional and to be suitable for presentation in a Business Development debate.
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