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 DUBAI, United Arab Emerates, Nov. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Although airlines tell Boeing that its customer service is tops in the industry, the company continues to improve its service, a Boeing executive said today at the World Commercial Aviation Conference in Dubai.
 Fred Mitchell, vice president of the Customer Services Division of Boeing Commercial Airplane Group, said, "We've always been good at listening to customers and we know customer service is one of the reasons Boeing has been so successful in the past. But we've improved the quality of our listening skills." Mitchell spoke at the conference sponsored by the Financial Times of London in conjunction with the Dubai Air Show.
 "More and more customers are telling us they need faster responses, less inventory and lower costs," Mitchell said, describing a number of improvements designed to meet those needs.
 In spares support, the company is pledged to help customers minimize their own inventories by stocking more parts around the world, he said. Boeing now has more than 500,000 part numbers representing 35 million parts at spares distribution centers around the world.
 In response to economic problems within the industry, Boeing chose not to increase prices on spare parts for in-production aircraft, but to maintain them at 1992 levels, Mitchell continued. "Customers can order parts at today's prices until next May and arrange for delivery up to 24 months later."
 A new 700,000 square foot spares distribution center in Seattle was completed last year within minutes of Seattle-Tacoma airport, and a factory dedicated to producing emergency parts was built in 1991. Improvements in processing routine deliveries and prepackaging spare parts for heavy maintenance checks are also underway, Mitchell continued.
 Another important service that is being fine-tuned is the training that Boeing provides for pilots, mechanics and maintenance people. The length of time required for training is continually being reduced and its effectiveness is increasing due to the use of computer technology.
 A new training center to accommodate the needs of the newest member of Boeing's family, the 777, will be completed next spring.
 Computer technology has also enhanced the way Boeing communicates with its customers through manuals for flight training and maintenance and other service-related publications.
 Maintenance manuals are being replaced by compact disks. "It's an incredible accomplishment," Mitchell said. "We can replace 14 thick volumes on less than half of one little disk. Airlines report a 40-percent productivity gain in access time required for major maintenance checks."
 In the area of field support, Boeing has more than 200 Customer Services representatives supporting more than 400 airlines in 124 locations in 62 countries around the world. "In China alone we will double our field services bases by year-end," he said.
 Boeing has a lifelong commitment to its customers, Mitchell continued. "We'll support every Boeing airplane as long as it flies. That's a growing commitment. Witness the number of 707s and 727s still flying today.
 "And in the history book's newest chapter, the first models of the 777 family are beginning to take shape. Nowhere will you find a better example of how we listen to our customers," Mitchell said. "From the moment it was conceived, the 777 has been a product of our customers' needs. The launch customers have literally lived with us, working daily with us on design-build teams. And they're still living with us, participating in tests and demonstrations as we continue the complicated process of birthing an airplane.
 "We broke new ground with the 777 by giving maintenance concerns a top priority. For the first time, the design-build team featured a chief mechanic. The chief mechanic was not a popular fellow, believe me, often braving the ire of the design engineers to stand up for the needs of the mechanics -- the people responsible for fixing problems while the airplanes park at the gates between scheduled turnarounds."
 "Our reputation and the reputation of our customers isn't based on the next jetliner we build. It's based on the 7,170 Boeing airplanes in service today that are operating around the world.
 Boeing's success is linked to the success of our customers," Mitchell concluded. "We will continue to strengthen this important tie."
 -0- 11/10/93
 /CONTACT: Nancy Wright of Boeing Commercial Airplane Group, 206-544-9058/

CO: Boeing Commercial Airplane Group ST: Washington IN: AIR SU:

IC -- SE002 -- 2727 11/10/93 11:50 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 10, 1993

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