UTC media day 2: PW addresses Under-Performing supply chain

Day 2 of the United Technologies Corp (UTC) Media Days is focused on Pratt & Whitney.

June 7, 2016: Pratt & Whitney officials today clarified an eye-popping statement yesterday by Greg Hayes, CEO of parent United Technologies, that 44% of the suppliers on the new Geared Turbo Fan engine were performing to goals.

Danny Di Perna, SVP Operations for Pratt & Whitney, said, “Greg knows very well that one of the challenges is the quality and costs of suppliers.

“There are 1,600 suppliers and about half are performing at Gold” PW standards, he said.

Danny Di Perna, SVP Operations of Pratt & Whitney.

This includes internal PW suppliers. “It’s not just quality, it’s delivery, it’s cost,” Di Perna said. PW’s Gold standard is above 90%. Under-performing “means they are not meeting our target costs and quality.”

Di Perna said that changes and fine-tuning “impacts the suppliers and that’s on us. We’ll never be 100%.”

But Di Perna added that “presidents of every one of our suppliers that are under-performing get a call from me.” If they don’t get it, he said, “they’ll be out. That’s the beauty” of having dual source suppliers. There is no single point of failure in the supply chain, says Di Perna. PW established two sources of suppliers so that if one failed, reliance could be shifted to the other.

Teething issues with the GTF on the Airbus A320neo have been highly publicized. Airbus has produced “gliders,” in the word of Tom Williams, Airbus COO–engineless airplanes awaiting fixes from PW.

Tom Prete, VP-engineering, Pratt & Whitney, said changes to engines are relatively minor to moderate to the rotor, which “drops start time by 2X.” Software changes for false fault indications are effective by reducing this by over 97%.

“On the hardware [to the bowing], we needed to step back and slow down. All the hardware corrections are in place. Performance of motors has been way above 99%. There have been some teething times. This is a 30-40 year program. You’re talking about a miniscule amount of time.”


4 Comments on “UTC media day 2: PW addresses Under-Performing supply chain

  1. I still do not get the time issue. How often do you actually turn an engine off and then fire it back up 3 minutes latter?

    You can’t get passenger off an airlplane that’s half empty in less than 15 minutes, let alone a cabin clean and pax back on.

    Can anyone enlighten me?

    That said, if you have two suppliers and one fails and you go to the other one, does that not now mean you have a single supplier?

    i.e. then you have to develop a 3rd supplier or fix the first one.

    Not that its wrong but its more complicated than being that simple.

    • As I understand it, the problem only occurs when the engine has been shut off for enough time to cool down, not during rapid turn-around situations. I believe the longer start up time also counts the fact that the engines are started one after the other, so twice as much as for one engine. Another article said that airlines operating the current engines are not showing any schedule delays from the time involved. On the other side of the ledger, as this article points out, initial reliability has been unusually good, and performance is fully meeting promises, which is rare with new engines.

    • Me neither. I know keeping costs down everywhere is imporzant but even a start from cold for hours that requires the extra time doesn’t strike me as anything overly significant. Nor have I ever noticed a super quick startup being of much importance on any flight I’ve been on. Needing to be careful in the way an engine is started I can understand as a concern. But even then we not talking about having to wake the engine with its choice of hot beverages, freshly baked croissants, some comfy slippers and gently cajoling words.

    • A very short turn is quite possible with 737 classic, SOP on milk runs like PW’s at small stations on days when traffic was light. (737 taxi parallel to terminal, deployed airstairs, pickemup truck pulled up to the baggage bay if any heavy cargo otherwise hand-pulled carts were used (little distance so tractor not worthwhile), no cleaning of cabin at such stops – F/A’s quickly go through and pick up any junk and left-behind stuff.) And I’ll bet Aloha’s turn times in HI were very short, Southwest’s too. But the C series is a larger market, the small stations are probably served by turboprops today (as for example Air Canada and WestJet do with Dash 8s).

      Suppliers might have been slow to invest because of the uncertainty of the C series having any future, but that doesn’t explain being behind for Airbus production. Companies do botch, noting P&W’s first engines for the 747 (lucky to get from PAE to BFI with all four engines still running), and R-R personnel who didn’t notice an out of position bore in a shaft (I’d expect assembly personnel to peek into the bore to ensure nothing in it like paperwork thus see the problem, I hope R-R did a “pack-drill” investigation of how the part got out of component manufacturing).

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