More Companies Return Technology Jobs to the U.S.

Rural Sourcing’s software development center in Jonesboro, Ark., can’t match the savings offered by big offshore outsourcing firms. Nevertheless, RSI is seeing an increase in clients that want to keep work closer to home or bring it back from overseas.

320px-UsaflagLast year, 30 percent of RSI’s business was tech work returning onshore, says CEO Monty Hamilton. The company, which specializes in software development, support and maintenance for business applications, is among a number of rural sourcing startups that provide IT services from American cities with a lower cost of living. Typically located near universities that provide a pipeline of talent, their reduced labor costs are passed on to clients.

Cost Remains King

Despite all the flag-waving and political calls for returning work to American shores, cost remains the deciding factor in locating operations for most companies. However, other factors are gaining in importance. In a survey of Fortune 1,000 companies conducted by HfS Research, respondents said they no longer expect savings of 30 or 40 percent, and in fact would be willing to source work with American firms for just 16 percent savings.

A separate HfS report found that sourcing work in Tier II cities such as Wichita, Kan., and Huntsville, Ala., can cut costs by 8 to 12 percent compared to the national average, or 15 to 20 percent compared to major cities.

RSI’s business model calls for locating its centers in Tier II and Tier III cities, and its clients tend to be midsize companies. So far it has centers in Jonesboro and Augusta, Ga., and plans to announce a third location by mid-2013. It has no H-1B employees, though Hamilton has said in the past that they’re welcome to apply. However, he’s not willing to sponsor them.

The work brought back home, he says, has largely come from companies unable to get support for the technology they use, Oracle databases and CRM applications in particular. They also find the turnover rate at the offshore vendors unacceptable.

“Offshoring made more sense in the era of big waterfall projects such as ERP, where it was going to be in place for a number of years,” he notes. “But in the age of mobile development and Agile projects, it doesn’t work out so well.”

RSI salaries are competitive in their local markets, Hamilton tells us. “Probably any one of our people could go to Atlanta from Augusta and make 15 to 20 percent more, but that’s not adjusting for the cost of living or the hassles of living in a major metropolitan area, having a long commute and all that. Our people have made quality-of-life decisions to stay where they are.”

Taking Back Control

On the other hand, companies are doing more than simply returning outsourced operations to the U.S. Indeed, outsourcing has peaked, says consulting firm Janco Associates. Companies want to bring more IT operations in-house as well as reduce costs. In particular, help desks and data center operations are being brought back under the corporate umbrella.

CEO Victor Janulaitis points to problems with offshoring to India, the Philippines, China and other locales, including work having to be redone, cultural differences, communication problems and managers having to work all hours to keep tabs on projects undertaken many time zones away.

Companies are bringing work back in-house because they want control back,” he says. “Once they’ve offshored, they have in place a whole host of efficiencies that they could have put in place themselves, but didn’t. Outsourcers operate very efficiently. If they bring those efficiencies back, they’re operating on a different differential on cost…. The largest component in IT is support and user training and the generic infrastructure — and that still has to be put in place within the organization. They can turn to cloud for the actual running of applications, but development is where the real costs are at this point.”

Focus on Innovation

However, HfS Research CEO Phil Fersht, doesn’t believe that all IT work is coming back, or necessarily returning in-house if it does. Nor does he see major corporations rushing to re-establish scores of jobs in their IT departments.

Companies with legacy infrastructure still go with the big-name IT providers like IBM and Infosys, he says. But in mobility, cloud and social media, a new generation of suppliers like  Appirio are cropping up, along with crowdsourcing and cloud sourcing solutions.

“There’s an appetite for companies to move work to the U.S. for less savings if they have the opportunity to do it,” Fersht observes. “Where we’re seeing some changes is with more strategic, high-level IT services, like GM or Ford or any of the manufacturing organizations that are dependent on a responsive supply chain or high-level technology support to help them with their business.” Going forward, he sees the availability of talent and its concentration becoming key issues.

In HfS Research’s survey of Fortune 1,000 companies, respondents rated the staff of U.S. outsourcers significantly higher on aspects such as understanding the business, communication, Innovation and the ability to take initiative. It found no difference between onshore or offshore outsourcing firms in work ethic and being process-driven. On cost, the  the ratings were reversed. And overall, respondents weren’t necessarily planning to move work back.

“The underlying message is that you get what you pay for,” Fersht says.

However, India has created such a strong brand in IT that he’s run into cases where U.S.-based outsourcers couldn’t win the accounts of companies sending work to India even though they offered lower costs. Meanwhile, India has allowed many companies to expand their IT operations, move out low-end work out and focus their talent on taking on high-end projects, he says. That demonstrates where companies want to invest in IT.

“We found U.S. staff perform better on IT. I’m sure a lot of organizations know that, but you have to ask yourself, ‘Do they really care?’ Yes, we might find our staff more innovative, but this is help desk for Oracle Financials. It really depends on where you want the innovation. Do you want to focus on alignment with the business?”

“A smart CIO will build a team of technologists who can align the latest trends in the business with the latest technologies, and they’ll outsource everything else. That’s what we’re seeing happening,” Fersht says. “The routine, low-end work will be done cheaply elsewhere. But the areas that require innovation are what people are looking to source locally.”

From the HfS Survey:

How satisfied are you with your outsourcing provider?

Satisfaction levels were lower for non-US suppliers in processes such as HR, customer service, sales and marketing:

  • Network/server management: U.S., 74 percent; non-U.S., 56 percent
  • IT help desk: U.S., 71 percent; non-U.S., 54 percent
  • Applications development: U.S., 77 percent ; non-U.S., 61 percent
  • Applications maintenance: U.S., 76 percent; non-U.S., 64 percent

How interested are you in sourcing IT operations in the U.S. vs. offshore?

Combining “interested” and “very interested,” the results were:

  • Application maintenance : U.S., 35 percent; non-U.S., 34 percent
  • Application development : U.S., 40 percent; non-U.S., 33 percent
  • IT help desk: U.S., 34 percent; non-U.S., 29 percent
  • Infrastructure management: U.S., 35 percent; non-U.S., 29 percent

Image: [Wikimedia Commons]

Comments

  1. BY CT says:

    Well, you’ve missed the RISK assessment. Vanguard has been making consistent million dollar payouts in their Insitutional division because the majority of their work force is from India. Prudential systems are in bad shape and their Ebix / AMP project is on the firtz…not too mention Ebix stock dropped about 30%. Ebix thinks it can go to India to throw bodies on the project to fix the issue, but the issues are pervasive and insidious BECAUSE of outsourcing.
    Furthermore, companies such as Vanguard pay Vendors such as Accenture the same high rates. Accenture just hires Indians on a 1099 basis to increase their profit margins since they don’t have to follow US Labor Relations laws.
    When playing a purely ‘numbers’ game, all of this looks as tough out-sourcing makes perfect sense. That is, until one factors in the risk of external factors, such as the cultural differences, agendas of employeess who may make less than a US workers, but are receiving enough money to retire in 5-7 years in their own country, the loss of subject matter expertise (priceless…assuming the CIO is intelligent), etc.
    The point is, it’s a much more complicated issue than this article presents.

    Like Vanguard, once they start making consistent, ongoing multi-million dollar payouts to their Institutional clients, they will factor in the risk. Unfortunately, these things are happending while these companies are saving money, but the end result is unknowable and incalcuable and takes so long to vet out that the damage is being done on a daily and consistent basis.

    The only resolution is to ‘gut’ the infrastructure. Let’s see how much they have saved by outsourcing when they start to confront that isseu.

  2. BY OracleConsultant says:

    CT put things in a perfect perspective.

    800 pound gorilla in the room!

    When Jack Welch outsourced IT to India he was doing so with whole different India. These amazing Indians from the 1970’s and 1980’s really did graduate from IIT, really did sit for their certification tests, and were really the best for a really good price. They also were trying to show off their talents and gain more business. The whole thing worked for a while.

    Just as embarrassingly we in America relate the word Colombia with drugs, we began to relate a person from India as someone who a thing or two about technology. They did!! We became accustomed to the fact, that when you went anywhere near the IT Dept you were going to see it staffed with many Indians. And why not, they were really good at what they did.

    So what happened?
    Just as in any other arbitrage opportunity wheelers and dealers came along and figured out a way to take advantage of the naïve perspective America had about technology talent. Eventually, less than honorable firms popped up with the sole intention to put a low cost Indian resource in the hands of any willing IT department. Today they are in located in garages, Starbucks or cars wheeling and dealing people at really low rates versus anyone who has a clue about good IT like their forefathers did. These garage recruiters have practices that would make the charlatans at Enron envious. They have vast networks that take references calls for their submitted resources, have a one person do the interview and provide an alternative resource to the client, invent CV’s for their resources that have no relation to reality.

    Indian IT Cartel
    Can it get worse? Yeap, not only do the garage recruiters have their network going well, they also have their colleagues at the biggest American firms controlling who gets interviewed. So the garage recruiter submits the CV’s of 40 persons and often it is up to their colleague at “BIG” company to decide. Everyone gets a part in the take. BIG company never gets to see the CV from the truly talented resource as that resource does not fit into the cartel’s profit motive of paying their guy 40/hr while “BIG” company is paying up to $200/hr for this resource. “BIG” company is getting taken to the cleaners, and they are do so willingly. The only required professional skill required of the cartel’s resource is that he/she is willing to accept a really low wage in US terms while being great for what they could earn back in their home country. Some of these folks are not qualified to work in McDonalds yet they play a key role in the cartel. They don’t need to have talent they just need to look like an Indian. Due to out naïve ways we Americans assume the rest. “Heck he must know IT……”

    More H1 Visas solves the problem?
    Now “BIG” company starts to complain to Congress that there is no talent in the USA. We all know by now that there are loads of really talented persons here in the USA. The problem is not that there is a dearth of capable resources. The problem lies in that IT departments haven’t figured out the scam yet. They are just intoxicated by the romantic idea that they can run their projects with low cost resources and get a promotion. A promotion that never comes due to the projects failing. There are loads of the original and amazing capable Indians from the 80’s and 90’s that charge US rates. They are not getting the jobs either. The scam is on, just as it was with Enron, and won’t end until someone shines the light of day on the charlatans pulling this one off. This one will be harder to crack as everyone is participating in it either knowingly or unknowingly.

    How does $200/hr turn into a $40/hr resource?
    Company pays the Solution provider (prime contractor) $200/hr. The prime takes 50-80 off the top. Then the requirement goes into the garage network of 2-4 participants who each take 10-20 bucks depending on their role in the cartel. The garage recruiters are not just Indians. There are American accomplices too. So the resource who’s only qualification is that he/she is willing to accept 40/hr and have a scam CV presented to the end client.

    Solution: What needs to be done?
    The CEO’s of “BIG” companies needs to immediate order a collapsing of the cartels that are selling to their firms. Then they need to take a very hard look at the full value chain inside a consulting rate. As an easy rule these CEO’s need to implement is to assure that 80% of the amount of the consulting rate goes to the actual product i.e. resource who is doing the work for them. This is the single most effective way to destroy the cartels and eliminate this corrupt practice. Far from wanting to do the right thing, they should do it so that their projects don’t start and have to be stopped, to eliminate failed projects, overruns and having to face the media for embarrassing technological snafus. Get the lion’s share of the rate into the hands of the actual person doing your consulting and out of the hands of persons sitting in garages. Create relationships with contracting firms that provide pass through services i.e. you find the resource and they do the payment processing for a nominal fee. Keep in mind that for every $50/hr paid to the group of garage recruiters it is close $100,000 per resource. How much is your firm paying into this cartel? 100K of useless non value added cost thrown away. Get your money into the hands of the executors and the projects will start going live on time and under budget. Not to mention all the good will that comes from getting your company’s IT dept in order. WHERE ARE THE BLACKBELTS ON THIS ONE!!!!!?

    Easy to spot the scammers!
    Whenever you see an IT requirement offered where the rate is 25% to 50% below prevailing rates you are looking at one of the cartel members.

    So it is no surprise that companies are bringing the work back home. But companies need to start waking up to the theft that is going on right under their noses. IT projects are so nuanced and spread over sufficient time that they provide the perfect venue for the theft to take place.

    There are plenty of capable resources in the USA that are not being seen by companies all over the USA. Hire these people and the work will end up costing less and the product will by far exceed expectations. There is NO cheap way to do IT right. Break up the cartel!

  3. BY Bob says:

    I still spend a majority of my day writing laboriously long technical specs. to send to India and then correct the code that is returned. I could have just written a much simpler spec., then written much simpler (and better) code myself. PLUS, I could get my business process questions answered quickly, without having to translate for the offshores.

    • BY Me Too says:

      I do the same thing. They never get it right. I waste more time dealing with them than it would take to just do it myself. So, instead of paying me to fix/build something, they are paying me and six Indian engineers to build something in longer time and of lower quality. The people who are making these decisions are using the wrong equation. They see 3 “resources” there for the same price as 1 “resource” here. What they should look at is cost vs value delivered. If they did that they would realize what a huge mistake all this outsourcing has been. BTW, I work for one of those giant companies claiming to bring work back into the USA. It is a lie. They may bring some functions back for some good PR, but that amount is tiny compared to the rate at which they are laying off here and hiring over there.

  4. BY Steve Naidamast says:

    The following article on the recent issues surrounding Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner compartmentalizes all of the reasons why management fads and whims for saving money in software development should be avoided like the plague. This includes paradigms like out-sourcing, in-sourcing, and Agile that offers an appearance of software engineering practices but in reality only offers what we used to call “guerrilla programming” back in the heyday of the mainframe as management simply pays lip-service to substantive development practices…

    >>>
    >>> From the start, Dreamliner jet program was rushed
    >>> (http://apnews.myway.com/article/20130125/DA41431O0.html)
    >>>

    Jan 25, 3:25 AM (ET)

    By SCOTT MAYEROWITZ

    (AP) In this July 8, 2007, file photo, visitors reach out to touch the fuselage of the first…
    Full Image

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    NEW YORK (AP) – The 787 Dreamliner was born in a moment of desperation.

    It was 2003 and Boeing – the company that defined modern air travel – had just lost its title as the world’s largest plane manufacturer to European rival Airbus. Its CEO had resigned in a defense-contract scandal. And its stock had plunged to the lowest price in a decade.

    Two years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, financially troubled airlines were reluctant to buy new planes. Boeing needed something revolutionary to win back customers.

    Salvation had a code name: Yellowstone.

    (AP) In this July 8, 2007, file photo, visitors look at and take photos of the first production…
    Full Image It was a plane that promised to be lighter and more technologically advanced than any other. Half of it would be built with new plastics instead of aluminum. The cabin would be more comfortable for passengers, and airlines could cut their fuel bills by 20 percent.

    But once production started, the gap between vision and reality quickly widened. The jet that was eventually dubbed the Dreamliner became plagued with manufacturing delays, cost overruns and sinking worker morale.

    In interviews with The Associated Press, a dozen former Boeing engineers, designers and managers recounted the pressure to meet tight deadlines. Adding to the chaos was the company’s never-before-tried plan to build a plane from parts made around the globe.

    The former Boeing workers still stand behind the jetliner – and are proud to have worked on it. But many question whether the rush contributed to a series of problems that led the Federal Aviation Administration last week to take the extraordinary step of grounding the 787. Other countries did the same.

    Even before a single bolt was tightened, the Dreamliner was different. Because executives didn’t want to risk all of the billions of dollars necessary to build a new commercial aircraft, they came up with a novel, but precarious, solution.

    (AP) In this Sunday, July 8, 2007, file photo, Governor Chris Gregoire watches a presentation…
    Full Image
    A global network of suppliers would develop, and then build, most of the parts in locations as far away as Germany, Japan and Sweden. Boeing’s own employees would manufacture just 35 percent of the plane before assembling the final aircraft at its plant outside Seattle.

    The decision haunts Boeing to this day.

    The FAA’s order to stop flying the Dreamliner came after a battery fire aboard a 787 in Boston and another battery incident during a flight in Japan. It was the first time the FAA had grounded a whole fleet of planes since 1979, when it ordered the DC-10 out of the sky following a series of fatal crashes.

    Inspectors have focused on the plane’s lithium-ion batteries and its complicated electrical system, which were developed by subcontractors in Japan, France, Arizona and North Carolina.

    Boeing declined to comment about the past but said its engineers are working around the clock to fix the recent problems.

    (AP) In this Sunday, July 8, 2007, file photo, hanger doors open to reveal the first production…
    Full Image
    “Until those investigations conclude, we can’t speculate on what the results may be,” the company said in a statement. “We are confident the 787 is safe, and we stand behind its overall integrity.”

    For decades, Boeing has been responsible for the biggest advances in aviation. The jet age started in 1958 with a Pan American flight between New York and Paris that took just eight and a half hours aboard the new Boeing 707.

    In 1970, Boeing ushered in the era of the jumbo jet with the 747. The giant plane, with its distinctive bulbous upper deck, made global air travel affordable. Suddenly a summer vacation in London wasn’t just for the rich.

    By the start of the 21st century, change was much more incremental. Consolidation had left the world with two main commercial jet manufacturers: Boeing and Airbus.

    Boeing executives initially had not considered government-backed Airbus a serious competitor. But in 2003, the unthinkable happened. Boeing delivered just 281 new jets. Airbus produced 305, becoming for the first time the world’s biggest plane manufacturer.

    American jobs – and pride – were at stake.

    And that wasn’t all. Airbus was starting to develop its own new jet: the A380, the world’s largest commercial plane, capable of carrying up to 853 passengers, or the equivalent of at least five Boeing 737s.

    “They were scaring everybody,” said Bryan Dressler, who spent 12 years as a Boeing designer. “People here in Seattle have been through the booms and busts of Boeing so many times, even the slightest smack of a downturn makes people very edgy.”

    Airbus believed that larger airplanes were needed to connect congested airports in the world’s largest cities. Boeing executives weren’t so sure.

    They believed airline passengers would pay a premium to avoid those same congested hubs with long nonstop flights between smaller cities. Now they just needed to develop a plane that would somehow make such trips economical.

    It had been 13 years since Boeing started development of a new plane, the 777. The company had recently scrapped two other major projects: a larger version of the 747 and the Sonic Cruiser, a plane that would fly close to the speed of sound.

    A development team with a knack for assigning new planes code names based on national parks had just the thing: Project Yellowstone.

    The plane – eventually rechristened the Dreamliner after a naming contest – was unlike anything else previously proposed.

    Half of its structure would be made of plastics reinforced with carbon fiber, a composite material that is both lighter and stronger than aluminum. In another first, the plane would rely on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries to start its auxiliary power unit, which provides power on the ground or if the main engines quit.

    While other planes divert hot air from the engines through internal ducts to power some functions, the 787 uses electricity. Getting rid of those ducts is one thing that makes the plane lighter.

    There were also benefits for passengers. The plane’s extra strength allowed for larger windows and a more comfortable cabin pressure. Because composites can’t corrode like aluminum, the humidity in the cabin could be as much as 16 percent, double that of a typical aircraft. That meant fewer dry throats and stuffy noses.

    Before a single aircraft was built, the plane was an instant hit, becoming the fastest-selling new jet in history. Advance orders were placed for more than 800 planes. Boeing seemed to be on its way back.

    “Employees knew this was going to be a game changer, and they were stoked that the company was taking the risk to do something big,” said Michael Cook, who spent 17 years as a computer developer at Boeing.

    But this was no longer the trailblazing, risk-taking Boeing of a generation earlier. The company had acquired rival McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Many McDonnell Douglas executives held leadership positions in the new company. The joke was that McDonnell Douglas used Boeing’s money to buy Boeing.

    The 707 and 747 were blockbuster bets that nearly ruined the company before paying off. McDonnell Douglas executives didn’t have the same appetite for gambling.

    So the only way the board of directors would sign off on the Dreamliner was to spread the risk among a global chain of suppliers. In December 2003, they agreed to take on half of the estimated $10 billion development cost.

    The plan backfired as production problems quickly surfaced.

    “I saw total chaos. Boeing bit off more than it could chew,” said Larry Caracciolo, an engineer who spent three years managing 787 supplier quality.

    First, there were problems with the molding of the new plastics. Then parts made by different suppliers didn’t fit properly. For instance, the nose-and-cockpit section was out of alignment with the rest of the plane, leaving a 0.3-inch gap.

    By giving up control of its supply chain, Boeing had lost the ability to oversee each step of production. Problems sometimes weren’t discovered until the parts came together at its Everett, Wash., plant.

    Fixes weren’t easy, and cultures among the suppliers often clashed.

    “It seemed like the Italians only worked three days a week. They were always on vacation. And the Japanese, they worked six days a week,” said Jack Al-Kahwati, a former Boeing structural weight engineer.

    Even simple conversations between Boeing employees and those from the suppliers working in-house in Everett weren’t so simple. Because of government regulations controlling the export of defense-related technology, any talks with international suppliers had to take place in designated conference rooms. Each country had its own, separate space for conversations.

    There were also deep fears, especially among veteran Boeing workers, that “we were giving up all of our trade secrets to the Japanese and that they would be our competition in 10 years,” Al-Kahwati said.

    As the project fell further behind schedule, pressure mounted. It became increasingly clear that delivery deadlines wouldn’t be met.

    Each success, no matter how small, was celebrated. The first delivery of a new part or the government certification of an engine would lead to a gathering in one of the engineering building atriums. Banners were hung and commemorative cards – like baseball cards – or coins were handed out.

    Those working on the plane brought home a constant stream of trinkets: hats, Frisbees, 787 M&Ms, travel mugs, plane-shaped chocolates, laser pointers and lapel pins. Many of the items can now be found for sale on eBay.

    “It kept you going because there was this underlying suspicion that we weren’t going to hit these targets that they were setting,” said Matt Henson, who spent five and a half years as an engineer on the project.

    The world got its first glimpse of the Dreamliner on July 8, 2007. The date was chosen not because of some production milestone but for public relations value. It was, after all, 7/8/7.

    Tom Brokaw served as the master of ceremonies at an event that drew 15,000 people. The crowd was in awe.

    It was “beyond experiencing a rock star on stage,” said Dressler, a former Boeing designer. “This thing is so sexy, between the paint job and the lines and the fact that it’s here now and you can touch it.”

    But like so much of show business, the plane was just a prop. It lacked most flight controls. Parts of the fuselage were temporarily fastened together just for the event. Some savvy observers noted that bolt heads were sticking out from the aircraft’s composite skin.

    Boeing CEO Jim McNerney told the crowd that the plane would fly within two months.

    Instead, the company soon announced the first of what would be many delays. It would be more than two years before the plane’s first test flight.

    To overcome production problems, Boeing replaced executives and bought several of the suppliers to gain greater control. Work continued at breakneck pace.

    “We were competing against time. We were competing against the deadline of delivering the first airplane,” said Roman Sherbak, who spent four years on the project.

    Then on a cold, overcast morning in December 2009, it all came together.

    A crowd gathered at Paine Field, the airport adjacent to Boeing’s factory. The Dreamliner climbed deftly into the sky for a three-hour test flight.

    But there were still plenty of glitches, including an onboard fire during a November 2010 test flight. Smoke had entered the cabin from an electronics panel in the rear of the plane. The fleet was grounded for six weeks. This month’s safety problems appear unrelated.

    Deliveries were pushed back yet again.

    Passengers wouldn’t first step aboard the plane until Oct. 26, 2011, three and a half years after Boeing first promised.

    That first, four-hour journey – from Tokyo to Hong Kong – was more of a party than a flight. Passengers posed for photos as they climbed stairs into the jet. Alcohol flowed freely. Boeing executives were on hand, showing off the plane’s new features. Everybody, it seemed, needed to use the bathroom if only to check out the bidet and giant window inside.

    More airlines started to fly the plane. Each new route was met with celebration. Travelers shifted itineraries to catch a ride on the new plane.

    Boeing had hoped by the end of 2013 to double production of the Dreamliner to 10 planes a month. There are 799 unfilled orders for the plane, which carries a $206.8 million list price, although airlines often negotiate deep discounts.

    Then, this month, all the progress came to a jarring halt.

    First, a battery ignited on a Japan Airlines 787 shortly after it landed at Boston’s Logan International Airport. Passengers had already left the plane, but it took firefighters 40 minutes to put out the blaze.

    Problems also popped up on other planes. There were fuel and oil leaks, a cracked cockpit window and a computer glitch that erroneously indicated a brake problem.

    Then a 787 flown by Japan’s All Nippon Airways made an emergency landing after pilots learned of battery problems and detected a burning smell. Both Japanese airlines grounded their Dreamliner fleets. The FAA, which just days earlier insisted that the plane was safe, did the same for U.S. planes.

    Each new aircraft comes with problems. The A380 had its own glitches, including an in-flight engine explosion that damaged fuel and hydraulic lines and the landing flaps. But the unique nature of the 787 worries regulators.

    American and Japanese investigators have yet to determine the cause of the problems, and the longer the 787 stays grounded, the more money Boeing must pay airlines in penalties.

    “It’s been a very expensive process, and it’s not going to let up anytime soon,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with the Teal Group. “At this point, the aircraft still looks very promising. I don’t think anybody is talking about canceling orders but people are nervous about the schedule.”

    As investigators try to figure out the cause of the plane’s latest problems the world finds itself in a familiar position with the Dreamliner: waiting.

    Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at smayerowitz(at)ap.org.

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