A Bloomberg report that connected Boeing 737 Max failure with outsourced engineers from HCL Technologies and Cyient has irked the Indian IT community. Indian IT firms feel they are being unfairly projected and said that the claims made in the report lacks proof.
The June 28 report said the Boeing’s Max software was developed at a time when the company was laying off experienced engineers to cut costs. To carry out the work, Boeing outsourced the development of Max software and partnered with HCL Tech and Cyient for the same.
While HCL Tech helped develop and test Max’s flight display software, Cyient handled the software for its flight test equipment. The report added that Boeing had faced challenges with the Indian engineers. “They met the requirements, per se, but you could do it better,” the report quoted Charles LoveJoy, a former flight-test instrumentation design engineer at Boeing, as saying.
Pareekh Jain, founder, Pareekh Consulting, an tech consulting firm, said unlike what the report claims, India has competence in the aerospace engineering space, which accounts for about $2 billion. "Blaming outsourcing for failure is not fair and is like blaming the entire ecosystem," he added.
Both HCL Tech and Cyient refuted the claims.
In a statement, HCL Tech said, “We have a strong and long-standing business relationship with The Boeing Company and take pride in the work we do for all our customers. However, HCL Tech does not comment on specific work we do for our customers. HCL Tech is not associated with any ongoing issues with the 737 Max.”
Cyient said, “The news articles wrongly claims of Cyient’s involvement in software development for the flight test equipment."
As Boeing clarified, Cyient stated it was not involved in the design of the MCAS or the cockpit warning light. “As a company, we place great emphasis on domain and industry knowledge and hire from the best talent pool available in the local markets. This includes 1,000 engineers we have hired in the US,” the statement said.
The company said its engineers has years of experience with leading aerospace original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and system providers and the company lays great emphasis on providing the highest quality solutions and services to our clients.
Sangeeta Gupta of IT industry body NASSCOM said in a tweet, “These claims are vicious and lack any veracity. Indian tech is the favourite whipping boy for any issue that goes wrong, otherwise it is projected as still being in a labour arbitrage model with no value add. Time for the world to see how the industry has changed.”
Manas Fuloria, Chief Entrepreneurship Organiser at Nagarro, a custom software development and business consulting company, said in a tweet, “This is a gratuitous swipe at global services and airily connecting these disasters to HCL without any proof. Neither company nor regulator has suggested that the software wasn’t performing as functionally designed.”
The US Department of Justice is investigating Boeing 737 Max’s failure that killed 346 people and so far it has not connected the issue with the software firms.