boeing plant

The tool: Touch-enabled design tools, video conferencing and interactive displays

The scoop: Boeing's Center for Applied Simulation and Analytics lab in Huntsville, Alabama, is all about innovation. The walls are dotted with interactive displays, like flight simulators, video conferencing and touch-enabled design mockups. The goal is to improve communication between hundreds of global offices and tens of thousands of suppliers.

The lab -- which opened last year -- makes it easier to catch design issues early. It also speeds up the manufacturing process and feels like everyone is in the same room together.

"For aircraft, or even less complex products like TVs or phones, the high degree of technical detail is astounding: the landing gear, the engine, the manufacturing, the design, the suppliers," Greg Portell, lead retail partner at consulting firm A.T. Kearney, said. "It becomes pretty obvious how the varied skills needed for each component create the need for global collaboration."

First published October 27, 2016: 8:28 AM ET

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