1. Is there anything that you find particularly impressive about Southwest Airlines?
There are several things about Southwest Airlines that I find impressive. To begin with from the company’s beginning they have always taken advantage of profit opportunities in the airline industry. By thinking outside the box they saw profit opportunities by flying direct. They have also been able to not charge fees that other airlines do and are still able to remain profitable. Typically, most airlines would want to fly into airports with the highest traffic. When considering airports to fly in and out of Southwest does not usually look for that. They have an impressive management culture and the ...view middle of the document...
Southwest has been able to resist threats from many different directions. The management team is always ready to fight back with a positive attitude. They have a great employee development program. They focus on the culture of the company and make it known what they are looking for and what they expect. They plan ahead and make sure each step is well thought out. Their cost approach is hard for rivals to meet or beat. They have been able to remain a low-cost airline and they treat their customers and employees well. This has played a big role in the company remaining successful for many years. People are looking for low prices every day, especially in today’s economy. Whether it is shopping for a new car, buying groceries, or flying for business, or to see family everyone wants the best price. However, while low prices may be the customer’s main concern, good customer service is also important. I think customer service is what keeps a customer coming back. I believe 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, which helps keep maintenance costs down. They were also the first company to allow people to purchase tickets online. This allowed for less costs in printing tickets and also lower overall labor costs. They also choose to fly in and out of medium size airports or local airports so therefore they do not have to pay the fees that other high traffic airports charge. There are no meals served and no first class. Fuel costs are one of the largest expenses with airlines. They have been able to negotiate fuel prices, which is a huge advantage for the company and it will ensure long term profitability. What you see is what you get with Southwest. They focus on the essentials such as low prices, good customer service, and getting their customers to their destination.
4. What are the key elements of Southwest’s culture? Is Southwest a strong culture company? Why or why not? What problems do you forsee that Gary Kelly has in sustaining the culture now that Herb Kelleher, the company’s spiritual leader, has departed?
There are a few elements that factor into Southwest’s culture. One of them is its focus on its employees as major assets and going the extra mile to let them know they are appreciated. Their slogan is “employees come first and then customers.” I think this says a lot about the company. It seems like it is the other way around with so many businesses. Employees are a major asset to a company and Southwest is not afraid to acknowledge that. Their focus is on their people and their culture. Their low cost fair advantage is another element of their culture. ...