Renton – Boeing to Expand 737 Production to Soaring Heights

Posted on March 4, 2014

Despite bad employment news affecting other Boeing plants, especially the one located in Everett, the Boeing plant in Renton is getting great employment news that will last for several years to come and be a boon to local businesses, real estate endeavors, and the local economy.  “Renton is going up, not down,” said Pat Shanahan, Boeing’s senior vice president of airplane programs.  The 737 is the model most worked on in Renton and over the next few years Boeing hopes to expand from the current output of 38 planes per month to 47 planes per month. A yearly increase of approximately 108 more planes per year.  That kind of production hike is not only good for the local economy but really good for employment, even those who found themselves on the unemployment line recently.  “We’ll add a few hundred people by the end of the year,” said Bev Wyse, head of the Renton plant. “We’ll recall some of those employees that have been laid off,” she added, referring to the 800 Machinists slated to lose jobs in Everett.  “Employment in Puget Sound is going to remain robust — very strong — over the next few years, as we continue to increase rate on the 737 as well as the 787.”

Boeing Jet

Boeing recently held large meetings in which employees were encouraged to voice their opinions on operations and how things might be done better and faster.  Boeing learned a lot from their employees, allowing them to expand and produce more planes in a shorter amount of time without expanding their facilities.  Most changes were smaller in scale, but provided for massive time savings.  Nishma Shrestha, lead engineer on 737 wire-installation design, said Boeing cut 15 hours of labor out of final assembly for each 737 with one change: having suppliers bundle wiring together with tape instead of plastic zip ties.  The plastic ties had required assembly mechanics to laboriously snip off the little nubs on more than 5,400 ties around the many wire bundles that go into each plane. The task was time-consuming and frequently led to mishaps with cut wires.

Boeing is seeking to increase its profit margins even as it faces an intense battle against rival Airbus for every sale.  “It is really competitive,” said Shanahan. “We need to reduce our cost structure.”  Lets hope Boeing finds ways of cutting costs and time without cutting more jobs that effect our states economy.  The future of Boeing in Renton however seems to be secure.  “With the continuing strong demand we are seeing in the market for the 737, we expect to keep employees busy in Renton making this amazing airplane for years to come,” said Wyse.  Boeing’s highly efficient and reliable 737 family is the proven market leader. To date, 266 customers worldwide have placed more than 11,200 orders for the single-aisle airplane – including more than 6,500 orders for the Next-Generation 737 and more than 1,600 orders for the 737 MAX. Boeing currently has more than 3,400 unfilled orders across the 737 family.

Boeing is the leading employer driving Rentons economy and real estate market, as well as stocking its population counts.  The population of Renton is 95,448 people, a 90.7% population increase since 2000.  This is the largest increase among the top 10 populated cities in Washington and is mostly spurred by the presence of Boeing.  The median household income in Renton is $62,800 and the median home value is $271,600, a little more than the states average median home value of $256,300.  The City of Renton website touts its city as one of the most affordable in the area, as well as emphasizing the absence of key business taxes, helping spur business start ups, and growth.  “Affordable land costs and lease rates, as well as large blocks of developable property, all provide Renton with opportunities unseen throughout the rest of the Puget Sound region. With no local business and occupation (B&O) tax, businesses keep more earnings. The City’s streamlined permitting process and low mitigation and permit fees help speed development, lower costs, ensure predictability, and reduce risk.”

All of these changes and happenings around the Renton campus is very encouraging for the Renton economy and especially for the real estate market in the surrounding Renton areas.  Many laid off machinists who could have been struggling paying their mortgages may again find Boeing employment, thus saving their house from going on the market.  Also, and influx of highly skilled, well paid new workers will inevitably lead to a need for suitable housing and drive up single family home prices as well as the rental market.All contents copyright © 2015 Davis Property Management unless otherwise noted.

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