Case Study 6 - Southwest Airlines

Case Study 6 - Southwest Airlines - Michelle Brooks BUS-421...

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Michelle Brooks BUS-421 April 2011 Case Study 6 - Southwest Airlines 1. Is there anything that you find particularly impressive about Southwest Airlines? One of the most impressive facets about Southwest Airlines is the foundation the airline was built on and how that foundation remains present after 40 years, “true grit.” Southwest Airlines fought to be in existence, remain in existence, and today fights to remain a lean and fearless competitor by providing a low-cost, low-price and no-frills product. Southwest Airlines’ tenacity is very distinctive and they are proud to show it through their marketing campaigns, such as, “Nobody Is Going to Shoot Southwest Airlines Out of the Sky for a Lousy $13.” Southwest Airlines has an impressive value for its employees. The low employee turnover rate and large number of applicants is a strong indicator that this value is real and not lip service. Another interesting fact in regards to employees at Southwest is that in 40 years there have only been four CEOs, with 20 of those years being one individual, Herb Kelleher. 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? In respect to Southwest’s efforts in crafting the company’s strategy, we feel that the company deserves an A for its relentless efforts to stay true to its low-cost provider strategic intent and for its ability to be able to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. As customers, we feel like the low prices are an extremely likeable aspect of the strategy. It is also important to mention that their customer service level is strong and leaves each passenger feeling a connection with the Southwest brand. However, we dislike the lack of creature comforts and the cattle- like approach to boarding. Southwest does maintain a winning strategy. One of the most important concepts that Southwest developed and grasped in their strategy was that it was not enough to be a low-cost provider; they needed to have a sustainable competitive advantage. The company addressed this by stressing that through the low-cost provider strategy, customer service, and customer satisfaction, they are able to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage, which is demonstrated in their financial and statistical data. A manager from Southwest stated “our fares can be matched; our airplanes and routes can be copied. But we pride ourselves on our customer service.” Although no strategy is without fault or mistake, Southwest has managed to significantly make its strategy into one that can thrive in both a short and long-term vision. With its focus on ways to keep cost low for customers, from paperless tickets to special programs for frequent flyers, the company has been able to effectively provide service to their customers and hold true to their mission. 3. What are the key policies, procedures, operating practices, and core values underlying Southwest’s
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This note was uploaded on 06/18/2011 for the course BUS 421 taught by Professor Thomas during the Spring '11 term at Thomas Edison State.

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Case Study 6 - Southwest Airlines - Michelle Brooks BUS-421...

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