U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., has asked Boeing chairman and CEO Jim McNerney to establish a procurement office in Wichita as a way for local suppliers and the company to develop and maintain strong relationships.
Pompeo sent McNerney a letter Feb. 2, following Boeing’s decision to close its Wichita facility, which employs 2,160 people, by the end of 2013.
So far, Boeing has not responded, a spokeswoman for Pompeo said today.
“Your team made clear that it remains committed to Kansas suppliers to continue to provide world-class components and world-class pricing and delivery,” Pompeo wrote in the letter. “I am certainly pleased by that commitment.”
But the absence of a local contact makes it difficult for smaller suppliers to develop and maintain those relationships, he said.
“Given Boeing’s stated intention, I respectfully request that Boeing establish a robust procurement office in Wichita to liaise with its enormous set of sub-suppliers throughout South Central Kansas,” Pompeo wrote.
The idea was first suggested by a current Boeing supplier. “And I think it’s a good one,” he wrote.
Boeing has said it plans to increase spending in Kansas from $3.2 billion to $4.8 billion by 2014 or 2015. The increase is largely from increases in Boeing 737 production, but the numbers reflect Boeing’s ongoing importance to Kansas and Kansas to Boeing, he said.
A procurement office would require only a small investment in Kansas and provide a direct and accessible link, Pompeo wrote.
“Setting up a procurement office seems to be a logical and mutually beneficial idea,” he wrote.”Furthermore, such an office would be an important signal that Boeing’s commitment to Kansas is not over.”