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Levels Of Planning Essay

1940 words - 8 pages

Southwest Airlines began operating in 1971 with only four planes and serving three cities. Now they have over 2100 flights per day, carry over 44 million passengers a year, and are the fifth largest airline company in America (Southwest Airlines, 2004). In their 33 years of business they have been awarded numerous awards for the best airline in the business, and are currently the highest profit showing company in the industry (Stanley, 2003). Much of Southwest Airlines' success is due to their organizational strategic planning. In this paper we will analyze the SWOTT analysis (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and trends) (Bateman and Snell, 2003) factors that influence the ...view middle of the document...

WeaknessesSome of Southwest's strategic planning weaknesses include the fact that the airline does not allow passengers to book seating assignments. The airline prides itself in being a low-cost airfare, so this is why they also do not offer any first class accommodations (WNEC, 2000). All seating is done on a first come first serve basis through boarding groups of thirty, this not only cuts down boarding times, but also allows them to keep their fares the lowest in the industry (Southwest Airlines 2004). Another weakness in Southwest's strategic planning is that the airline only serves soda and coffee with peanuts in flight. This is mainly due to the company's short distance straight through, no connections flight pattern (WNEC, 2000).OpportunitiesWhen it comes to strategic planning, different opportunities must be taken into consideration. One opportunity that Southwest saw was that the industry, as a whole, was lacking in great customer service, and they decided to fill this void. Dr. A Parasuraman said, " Southwest has a distinct customer-oriented, fun loving service culture" (2003). This culture is preserved with a passion because of their ability to use a multi-stage employee selection process. They desire to hire people who will fit and foster their corporate culture (Parasurama, 2003).In order to achieve great customer service, Southwest took a look at its employees. They understood that close cooperation between their employees and the company would lead them to a customer-focused environment (Barrett, 2004). Southwest has taken employee engagement to a new level by having a career development division and career services group within the company. They also developed the " University of People", which gives leadership classes, workshops, software training, and much more (Hollis, 2003). Frintz Petree who is the senior manager of the career development division said, "Our purpose is our employee's fulfillment", and it shows throughout the company (Hollis, 2003). Southwest has a high employee retention rate, and is one of the only airlines that has not had to layoff employees due to the September 11th incident (Hollis, 2003). By taking advantage of this opportunity and empowering their employees to do the right thing, Southwest Airlines ensures high-quality customer service and continues to drive up productivity (Hollis, 2003).ThreatsThe threat of losing the Hispanic market combined with the desire to be innovative forced Southwest Airlines to develop a strategically planned campaign. On June 30, 2004 Southwest Airlines launched "Vamonos" to introduce a new Spanish version of their website including online booking. Of the estimated 13-14 million Hispanic online consumers, about fifty percent prefer to navigate Web sites in Spanish (Williamson, 2004)."Our goal is to be innovative when it comes to customer convenience in Spanish. We wanted to be the first U.S. major airline web site to offer customers the choice of making their...

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