McDonnell Douglas / Boeing

1990 – 2000

  • Director of Production & Quality Assurance, McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company
    • Took 3 aircraft out of final assembly WIP utilizing critical path analysis and advance supply chain techniques. Annual recurring savings of over $36 million.
  • Director of Materials Management, McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company
    • Cut end-to-end cycle time for Apache helicopter manufacturing by more than 50%, representing an annual recurring savings of more than $108 million.
    • Developed a Strategic Plan for Materials Management in 1992 with specific objectives related to inventory reduction, part shortage reduction, cycle time reduction, regulatory compliance, and process improvements to yield cost savings. Results from initiatives undertaken through this strategic plan included:
      • $40.2 million in inventory reductions
      • Part shortage reduction of 46%
      • Reductions in end-to-end cycle time for Apache Longbow of 53%, Apache A model by 29%, and MD 500 helicopters by 16%
      • Attainment of “Fully Compliant” status according to the US Government’s Material Management and Accounting System (MMAS)
  • Director of Integrated Manufacturing Control Systems, McDonnell Aircraft and Missile Systems, then Boeing (after Merger)
    • Improved RONA from 63% to 129%
    • Improved Inventory Turns from 5.7 to 9.4
    • Reduced Critical Path Cycle Time from 235 days to 172 days
  • Director of Information Technology, Boeing
  • Authored 250+ page hardback book entitled Manufacturing 2000 in 1994. Named one of the “Top Business Books of 1994”.
  • Taught Strategic Planning for 21st Century Manufacturing all over the US and in China in 1995 – 1996.
  • Authored 150+ page paperback book entitled Total Quality: Key Concepts and Terms in 1995.
  • Served as VP Programs for the Phoenix Chapter of the Strategic Planning Forum in 1994, and served on the business advisory board of the East Valley Samaritan Hospice in 1994.
  • Authored two articles on future manufacturing technology for the April 2000 issue of Tooling & Production Magazine: A Peek at the Year 2050, and The Chemistry of 21st Century Manufacturing.
Article: Charting a Critical PathArticle: MDHS Slashes Apache Cycle TimeArticle: Boeing Launches New EraArticle in Metalworking in the New MillenniumBook: Manufacturing 2000Book: Total QualityBill Duncan speaking at Boeing3 Aircraft



13 years later……….

January 31, 2013

Hi Bill,

Thanks for accepting my Linked In invitation! Wow…it’s been sometime since we last spoke….probably sometime in roughly 2000. I often think about you and have talked about you with various people throughout my career since leaving Boeing in 2000.

I know that you are a “Man of the World” given your broad work experience and talents, but hope that you may recall the discussion you had with me back towards the end of the IMACS project at Boeing. Your words were instrumental in convincing me to explore what opportunities lay outside the walls of Boeing! I honestly would never have left Boeing and probably would still be there today, underpaid, underutilized and frustrated with the lack of opportunity to utilize the skills I had acquired!. I recall your words to me as if it were yesterday.

Bill…don’t know if you are aware of this but you are the single most important mentor/role model that I have ever met in my business career!!  Words can’t express the gratitude that I have toward you in that you actually took the time to take an interest in me. I echo the principals and managerial concepts that you brought to IMACS every day. Some things that are so simple and basic that bring people of diverse talents together in synergy to accomplish a common goal …while seeming so basic to you and I, other major companies still don’t have any grasp of their importance. I often speak of the importance of outplacement for Subject Matter Experts…the best and brightest after successful “go-lives”.  Most companies look at you as though you are speaking a foreign language. I talk about the importance of simple rewards to the team as you are implementing to keep the fire stoked (pens, T-Shirts, jackets, etc). Unfortunately it mostly falls on deaf ears.

I have yet to find a company during my Project Management adventures over the last 13 years since leaving Boeing that understands the importance of mapping ” As-Is” and “To-Be” Business process flows. You are so right; Most if not all big corporations (like BOSE, NASA Johnson Space Systems, Lockheed Martin Aerospace, Britax, Nestle Purina Pet Care), and many other smaller companies that I have been engaged with for ERP or Document Management system implementations recognize the importance of understanding how they do business and identifying and valuing PIO’s. Executives at these large corporations they all say the same thing…”We need to get the new software implemented first, and then we will go back and look at process improvement opportunities”. Most companies have a plug-and-play philosophy and then it takes them double or triple the time to implement and massive change control to get fixes and enhancements implemented. As to your rule of: We must strive to implement with less than 10% change to the Out-of-the-Box software…strive to remain “Vanilla” for ease of software upgrades, etc……I have yet to come across any other company that has set and held the team to such aggressive goals which are necessary to achieve the savings numbers you pulled off. They simply DONT GET IT and it has resulted in double and triple the time to implement, and much higher than estimated enhancement costs.  They simply don’t understand that they are modifying the software to implement outdated and inefficient business practices, not to mention countless rework hours when their old processes don’t work in the new system.

You will get a hoot out of this example at my current employer, who has been doing the world’s largest SAP implementation over the past eight years. They are just now realizing that having discreet material/planning numbers set up in their legacy system – and now SAP – for each Customer need was probably not a smart decision….(this of course resulted in no ability to do aggregation of common materials using the Bills of Material because MRP doesn’t recognize them as the same material). I mentioned the use of material codes (e.g. a common planning number for like material) and how Boeing did it and made it work. Basic concepts like “a part is a Part” and part/material numbers should not have intelligence (significance) just haven’t sunk in yet. Recall that we are talking about ERP concepts that have been around since 80’s minimum for sure.  Here we are in 2013 and after 8 years of SAP implementation they have just decided that they need to go back and figure out how to fix their material numbering system!  Yes, some things that seem so basic that we did back some 13 – 20 years ago, others are just starting to explore. Technology moves ahead at lightning speed but executives are slow to realize the basic grass roots of what they need to do first to achieve faster time-to-market. The old saying “garbage- in / garbage-out” is still the norm, unfortunately.

Sorry to carry on ….it’s difficult to come from the school of Bill Duncan and be able to tell folks that you have been on a winning team, and can actually claim success in having implemented a successful ERP system, while the rest of the industry in most cases continues to drudge along without really having the “balls” to attack the root problems.

After leaving Boeing I traveled coast to coast as a Senior Program Manager working for PTC out of Boston for 4 years doing major Document Management System implementations (Windchill.) This is the same company that has the flagship Pro E software. That was an invaluable experience. I have moved on a bit over the past 13 years including a brief stint building and running my own restaurant for a couple of years ($1.6M annual sales)….never again but interesting experience. I like working for Nestle Purina….good quality of life with no travel and excellent pay. I was still working at Boeing I can safely say I would be making approx. $70K less per year….yes….$70K less! The change you suggested has been rewarding and I have never looked back.

I hope this letter finds you in good health. Recently, one of your books surfaced in the library at NPPC and I used it in one of my Toast Master speeches.   I used you as an exemplary role model/mentor and how one person can make such a difference in someone’s career. Your management philosophy and styles are still true some 13 years later and likely will be for decades to come.

Continued good luck to you Bill, in your endeavors, and should you ever come to St. Louis please look me up as I would love to see you again to catch up!


God Bless.


Steve Hoechstenbach