An Assessment of Four Function of Management within Southwest Airlines
- Length: 1319 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
According to Edward de Bono "an expert is someone who has succeeded in making decisions and judgments simpler through knowing what to pay attention to and ... Creativity involves breaking out ..." Southwest Airlines has done just that, in a world of high competition and drastic changes they paid close attention to their customers needs, therefore, succeeding when many other airlines were failing. In a time of national tragedy (9-11) this airline pulled together to develop create ideas to prevent them from going through bankruptcy as many of their business rival suffered. With a motto of "Time flies when you are having fun!" (www.southwest.com), Southwest Airlines has managed through rapid change, diversity, e-business solutions to maintain a loyal customer base while moving forward.
The airline industry is fragile and especially vulnerable due to increase security demands, the cost of fuel with limited resources, highly expensive industry, very highly regulated industry, and labor intensive industry. Despite the vulnerability of this industry Southwest Airlines has managed to survive despite the odds, when larger airlines were forced to merge, have huge lay-offs of employees and some even when under. It is interesting to review just how Southwest Airlines survived the rapid changes, while presently recognizing a growth spurt.
Weather a business can survive the rapid change of technology, increasing customer. Demands, while remain creative, producing innovate solutions often determines the success of the business. In spite of these embedded difficulties, after September 11, southwest was the only major carrier that did not ground any of its fleet or furlough any of its Employees. We were able to borrow sufficient cash to maintain liquidity because:
Our costs were lower than our competitors'.
Our balance sheet was better than our competitors'.
Our debt per plane was less than our competitors'.
Our Customer Service was better than our competitors'.
(www.southwest.com)These are all important factors in the survival or Southwest Airlines business. Another factor of 9-11 that created a huge amount of change was the already struggling airline industry was increase security measures.
It is an understatement to say that the events of September 11, 2001 changed the lives of all Americans and particularly our relatively unfettered ability to travel by air. All of what we knew changed as the result of the diabolical endeavors of a relative few, and the new procedures, while still evolving, will likely be with us in perpetuity.
Multiple hour waits throughout our System threatened the foundation of our business. The People of Southwest Airlines rose to the occasion, and we seized and continue to assume a leadership role in positioning southwest to help the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and our Company improves Customer Service while enhancing security. (www.southwest.com) A great example of how Southwest improved security while maintain excellent customer service is:
1. Printed boarding cards (instead of the plastic variety) obtained at baggage check-in or the gate.
2. An electronic kiosk for passenger check-in offers another quick and convenient way to get a boarding pass at the airport.
3. Online security documents and/or boarding passes are available through southwest.com.
4. Checking the Customer's ID at the checkpoint, instead of the gate area.
5. Moving secondary screening to the Checkpoint, instead of the gate area.
6. An automated baggage tag instead of string tags improves accuracy and accountability.
Diversity at Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines came on the scene in 1967 as a low-cost service from Love Field in Dallas to points in Texas. Southwest started to take off after the deregulations of the airlines. Known as one of the most unique airlines in the industry, diversity was one of the main selling points which turned the airline generation upside down. Besides being the cheapest airline to fly, southwest was the first company to make your flying experience, a fun one. South West airlines employees take pride in being good listeners, showing patience and using "Golden Rule behavior." These are just a few of their many traits that you will find and experience when flying Southwest Airlines.
"In May 1988, southwest was the first airline to win the coveted Triple Crown for a month Best Baggage Handling, Best on time record, and fewest Customer Complaints." Southwest. (2005) As of today, Southwest Airlines has won this award more than thirty times. Some other interesting information about South West is the airline made the Boeing 737 its only type used and now has a fleet of around 250 Boeing 737 jets. Some other facts about Southwest Airlines is they were the first to introduce Fun Fares and Fun Packs. They were the first airline to introduce ticket less travel and many other unique programs. Southwest airline was also the first to introduce painted aircraft in semi-liveries advertising the places they fly. Promoting a fun work environment is one thing but the company does not just want anyone working for them. The reason is that it takes a very special person to wear flight attendant wings for this company. The training program is four weeks long and very intense. Not everyone who applies will make it. Mind you, Southwest was also the first airline to hire male flight attendants, which was not a common practice at the time. Lastly, Southwest is well known for its peanuts and songs on its flights. Strange that it maybe, this practice and the low costs of operation have made Southwest Airlines one of the most successful airlines in the history of airline travel.
While a number of airline companies throughout the world are scrambling to drive sales through partnerships, Southwest has maintained its independence primarily by transferring its well worn offline success to the Internet. Success hasn't made Southwest Airlines any less cautious about E-business. With $1.7 billion 30% of last year's sales coming from its Web site, where the costs are as much as 90% less than using a phone representative or travel agent, the budget airline has put together a profitable Internet business by any measure(Southwest, 2005).
Yet Southwest continues to tread warily toward its online future. Only in recent months has it started offering car rentals on its Web site, using preferred partners Alamo, Budget, and Hertz. Hotel reservations with partners including Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott will have to wait for the results from car rentals Simplicity and low costs are at the heart of Southwest's and the airline didn't lose sight of that as it moved online. Reservations flow through the same IT systems whether they're made online, from a call center agent, or through an independent travel agency. Passengers navigating their way through Southwest's Web site needn't log on or submit passwords to purchase tickets. With only five clicks, a passenger can book a ticket online, even an hour before departure.
The ease of buying tickets online fits the unadorned mien of the feisty, low fare carrier, a profitable business for 28 straight years. Southwest operates its own reservation system, limiting the commissions paid to other travel services. It costs Southwest $1 to book a flight online vs. about $5 through its telephone reservation centers and $10 via a travel agency, helping make the airline the most efficient among its competitors. This is thanks to Southwest mission state which said "The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit"(Southwest, 2005).This is why they are so successful when other airlines are falling.
Southwest Airlines has done just that, in a world of high competition and drastic changes they paid close attention to their customers needs, therefore, succeeding when many other airlines were failing. Southwest Airlines has managed through rapid change, diversity, e-business solutions to maintain a loyal customer base while moving forward. This is why southwest is the number one airline in North America.
Southwest. (2005). Southwest Airlines. Retrieved January 30, 2005, from: http://www.southwest.com/about_swa/airborne.html
Southwest. (2005). Southwest Airlines. Retrieved January 30, 2005, from: http://www.southwest.com/about_swa/mission.html