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Southwest Airlines Case Study

Essay by   •  February 13, 2012  •  Case Study  •  975 Words (4 Pages)  •  5,426 Views

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1. Is there anything that you find particularly impressive about Southwest Airlines?

There are several things about Southwest Airlines that I find to be particularly impressive. To begin with from the companies inception they have always taken advantage of profit opportunities in the airline industry. By thinking outside the box they saw profit opportunities by flying direct instead of the typical hub-and-spoke method. Also conventional airlines would want to fly into airports with the highest traffic. Southwest does not necessarily look for that when considering airports to fly in and out of. Southwest also keeps fairs low by doing many things. Keeping employees on and happy reduces training costs. The company negotiates fuel deals to keep costs low. They only fly 737 to keep maintenance costs down. Another attribute of the company that I find impressive is the way they treat employees. Employees come first. The employees are frontline. Treat the employees well and they will treat the customers well.

2. What grade would you give Southwest management for the job it has done in crafting the company's strategy? What is it that you like or dislike about the strategy? Does Southwest have a winning strategy?

I would give them an A. Southwest has an extremely comprehensive strategy. Everything that they do works in harmony. They have a great employee development program. They emphasize the culture of the company and hire employees congruent with that culture. They partner the culture of the company with a low-cost business strategy. They are a low-cost airline that makes the customer feel like royalty. Compare a customers experience with a company like Southwest versus another low cost company like Wal-mart. Both companies are low cost providers in their field but the customer experience is very different. I believe that Southwest has a long-term, sustainable, winning strategy.

3. What are the key policies, procedures, operating practices, and core values underlying Southwest's efforts to implement and execute its low-cost/no frills strategy?

There are several characteristics of Southwest as a company that allow it to implement and execute its low-cost/no frills strategy. They only use one type of aircraft. This helps to keep maintenance costs down. Also they were the first company to use E-ticketing. This allowed for less costs in printing tickets and also lower overall labor costs. The emphasis on flying to medium sized airports and airports near metropolitan centers makes for good customer experiences and allows Southwest to stay out of high cost airports like Atlanta. Flight attendants and crews clean the Southwest planes. This makes for a quick turnaround and lower labor costs. The companies core values of "LUV and fun" make the company an enjoyable place to work which also provides the customer with a great experience. Southwest believes that happy employees make happy customers.

4. What are the key elements of Southwest's culture? Is Southwest a strong culture company?

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