Effects of Quality Management
June 4, 2012
Effects of Quality Management
Even before globalization businesses struggled to remain competitive, but now that the world is opening up competition has reached all new heights. Companies now struggle with the question of how to maintain market share now that price is only one characteristic among many that consumers consider. The answer to that question is by providing value through quality. The airline industry, an already highly competitive industry, continually grapples with finding a balance between quality and costs. Leaders in this quest are Southwest Airlines and Ryanair, both of which have enjoyed optimal market ...view middle of the document...
23-24). The same top-down commitment to quality is seen in all of Southwest’s corporate culture attributes, which include: full-scale equality that calls for everybody to pitch-in when needed, including top management; commitment to customer wellbeing; exemplary work ethic; dedication to social issues; maintaining a joyful environment; and being creative and innovative in effort to maintain low costs (Box & Byus, 2009).
The tactics used by Southwest to continually achieve high standings range from loyal employees to fuel hedging programs. The advantages of each tactic ultimately allows Southwest to maintain their competitive advantage. Tactics used include: loyal employees, short turnaround times, single class seating, standard aircraft, and fuel hedging (Box & Byus, 2009).
Loyal employees. Working at Southwest Airlines is a highly sought-after honor and very few are selected as being ‘qualified’ for the job. In 1995, Southwest hired a mere 4% of its 124,000 applicants and those applicants were chosen based on attitude, not skills (Box & Byus, 2009). Having like-minded staff helps foster a family atmosphere with like-minded objectives, which not only encourages strong kinship bonds, but can also help reduce conflict (Box & Byus, 2009). Additionally, the fun environment of Southwest Airlines helps the airline retain talented employees, which reduces the costs associated with turnover.
Turnaround times. Southwest “recognized early on that airlines only generate revenue and profits when they are flying” (Box & Byus, 2009, p. 26). Every minute spent on the ground costs money; therefore, the airline strives to turnaround flights in an average of 20 minutes, which requires communication, coordination, and all-hands-on-deck meaning flight attendants and pilots helping to load luggage and pick up trash (Box & Byus, 2009). An interesting statistic is “that if Southwest in 1995 had the same turnaround times as others in the industry, they would have needed an additional 25 airplanes in the fleet” (Box & Byus, 2009, p. 26).
Single-class seating. The single-class seating tactic meant seats were assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Passengers who arrived at the airport early were allocated to earlier boarding groups, which allowed them to have first choice of the unassigned seats (Box & Byus, 2009). This tactic helped the airline maintain on-time departures and therefore on-time arrivals. However, this tactic was not well-received by consumers and has been slightly altered. Passengers are now able to pay a small fee to be in the first boarding group, which allows them more seat choices. This alteration not only services the customers’ needs, but it’s anticipated to produce additional revenue of $100 million (Box & Byus, 2009).
Standard aircraft. Using standardized aircrafts have multiple advantages. It reduces staffing obstacles. Scheduling is less complex since every pilot is familiar with every plane in the fleet. It...