Southwest Airline Case Essay

Submitted By mari62483x
Words: 1105
Pages: 5

The key component that stood out most to me is how Southwest Airlines is centered around its customers and the services that are provided to them. The reputation of the company is recognized as being “the leaders of on-time performances and safety” however, they also try to make their services fun for not only their customers, but for their employees as well. The airline’s CEO at the time, Herb Kelleher, would walk around the aircraft serving “breakfast” and making jokes with the customers. He would make them laugh and tried to make their flights more enjoyable. He had a very unorthodox way of managing the airline and promoted a playful and laid back atmosphere, which in turn made their company successful and different. Kelleher wanted to administer the company in an innovative way; he understood that by standing out from his competitors is what will give Southwest Airlines a competitive advantage. From the beginning, Southwest Airlines has maintained the same operating strategies. They continue to fly into underutilized airports and that are relatively close to the metropolitans area. Therefore, someone could purchase a plane ticket through Southwest Airline at their low fare rates and still manage to save money and get to their desired destination. By promoting their short, on-time, and cheap flights, it has made the business succeed even throughout financial crisis. It seems that Herb Kelleher studied the metrics that will help grow the business by understanding what the customers want; they want a quick, short, on-time flight that can save them time and money. Southwest has a unique strategy where they can reduce cost and have such a laid back, fun, and simple style, yet still manage to run a successful airline. I believe it is because of Kelleher’s style of managing. He understood where to cut cost while still keeping the employees and customers happy. He cut expenses by keeping things simple such as offering refreshments and snacks as opposed to a full dinner as other airlines do. Kelleher chose not to center Southwest Airlines through the typical industry ecosystems and the changes (pg. 141), that had occurred with others airlines. For example, he implemented reusable plane vouchers to cut cost on printable ones and chose to use another reservation method unlike the others that use computers and technology tactics. This choice resulted in savings of 25 million dollars and less waiting time. From my observation, out of the 4 quadrants listed in the text and on figure 1 (pg. 143), it seems that while the typical airline business was focusing on high rise of technological change and multiple technology standards, Southwest Airlines stayed at the lower rating of technological change centering their concept drivers and consolidators strategies (pg. 145). They focused on developing their core product concept, attempted to differentiate from others by promoting lower cost, and proposed to build customer loyalty.
One HR practice that I see that support the company’s strategy is how Kelleher encouraged his employees to identify with other employees and promotes having fun. “Is Herb Kelleher America’s Best CEO?”. The article quoted author Michael Derchin, who continues by stating that the U.S Department of Transportation reported that Southwest was the main driving force of changes in the airline industry. It is obvious that his style of leadership is unlike a typical CEO. “I’ve always felt that there’s no reason that work has to be suffused with seriousness, that professionalism can’t be worn lightly. Fun is a stimulant to people. They enjoy their work more and work more productively”. As in many HR professionals believe, employee satisfaction is key in order to run a successful company. A happy employee will produce more effectively and will stay committed to that company, despite what other companies offer. If an employee’s environment is happy, they will feel happy, therefore will exude happiness to the customer and