Boeing has had an up and down 2017 so far. After a well-publicized back and forth with the president, Boeing recently announced coming layoffs at one of its commercial jet factories.
Now that announcement has a date, May 2017.
Boeing has spent the past year reducing its U.S.-based workforce, mostly through buyouts and trimming the executive and engineering staffs, but this announcement signals a shift in the company’s public strategy to cut costs and improve its bottom line.
The announcement didn’t really catch the employees of the company off guard, but the swiftness of the move has some people scratching their heads.
Boeing had been comfortable for years, earning record orders — year after year.
But, sales have been down recently and demand for several different models has slowed considerably. Even the vaunted 777, which has been Boeing’s bell cow for some time, saw production slip by around 60 percent.
And Boeing’s really been caught between a rock and a hard place. The company is being pressured by Wall Street to produce numbers as it has in recent heyday years, all while losing revenue quarter after quarter as end users, including the U.S., are demanding cheaper prices.
Recent rumors of deals in the Mideast offered some hope, but it turned out to be short-lived. The cuts will go on as planned, regardless of any recent sales or announced contracts, and despite any promises by President Trump to increase American manufacturing.
What will this mean, not only for Boeing but also for American manufacturing as a whole?
No matter what the political rhetoric is, American businesses are cutting their staff.
It’s happening across multiple different industries, even where companies have recently added personnel. And what will all this mean for President Trump?
While the president campaigned on bringing back manufacturing jobs, he was never very specific on which industries he would actually be bringing back. That said, he has repeatedly been tied to the auto industry, and he’s been in headlines with Boeing in recent months.
These, however, are two industries that can’t seem to keep manufacturing jobs.
With advances in automation, robotics, and cheaper overseas labor pools, automakers, and jet manufacturers are trimming excess labor to stay competitive. They’re making more products, but they are doing it with fewer people running the assembly lines.
This trend has every appearance of continuing.
Companies are really stuck. Every time they cut their labor force they pay for it in public relations, and politicians who support them get hurt at the ballot box.
Yet, if they don’t keep costs down, they lose the support of their investors.
It’s a tough wire to walk, and not likely to get any easier.
Ronn Torossian is one of America’s foremost Public Relations executives as founder/CEO of 5WPR, a leading independent PR Agency. The firm was honored as PR Firm of the Year by The American Business Awards, and has been named to the Inc. 500 List. Torossian is author of the best-selling "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations." For more of Ronn Torossian's reports, Go Here Now.
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