Southwest Airlines Essay, Research Paper
In lecture, professor Bobrowski discussed the three components necessary to achieve quality and performance excellence, one of these being continuous improvement. In Nuts!, it is shown how Southwest Airlines gains their competitive advantage by following a policy of continuous improvement.
The Airline industry is a very competitive environment to be a part of. In order to gain a competitive advantage, it is necessary to demonstrate certain qualities or attributes that set your company apart from the rest. Southwest Airlines achieves this by constantly staying one step ahead of the competition with improvements and innovations that make flying Southwest a more enjoyable and appeasing experience. An example of one such improvement is the offering of executive class flights and pleasure class flights. Southwest Airlines figured out that they were serving two types of customers, the business traveler who cared about frequent flights during business hours, and the leisure traveler who is primarily concerned with getting a low price ticket (Freiberg, 1996, p.31). This realization led to peak and off-peak pricing, which increased Southwest?s passenger traffic significantly, while at the same time satisfied these two groups of customers by recognizing their individual needs.
Turn-around time is a huge part of Southwest Airline?s success. They keep the time extremely short to maximize the number of flights they get per plane. Southwest noticed that when they had to drain the lavatories, the equipment they used blocked other equipment. This affected their turn-around time. Southwest immediately contacted Boeing and asked them to change the design so that the service panel for the lavatories wouldn?t be in the way (Freiberg, 1996, 80). This improvement enabled Southwest Airlines to serve more customers, and keep flights on time by minimizing turn-around time.
Constantly improving the efficiency of an organization is a major step towards gaining competitive advantage. Southwest Airlines used this method to be the fastest and cheapest airline around, and the continuance of improving upon their organization will ensure future success.