Monday, June 12, 2017

Southwest's Strategy

            The case, “Southwest Airlines:  In a Different World” was a great read.  In this article, we read about how Southwest Airlines rose to its position that it is at today.  Southwest started as a company in the ‘60s, but was face with many legal battles over the logistics of flying to Texas.  Once all of that was sorted through, they became an unstoppable force in the airline world.  Southwest Airlines is known for their short, direct flights, it’s flexibility, and its ease.  In fact, my professor for one of my summer classes was telling us how he is constantly flying to and from Boston and will only choose to fly Southwest because of how cheap, short, and direct the flights are.  Even against threats, Southwest has prevailed and will probably continue to do so in the years to come.
            The problem Southwest Airlines was facing in the case study was whether to acquire the slots and gates from the recently bankrupt ATA Airlines from the LaGuardia terminal in New York City.  It was interesting to read about this, because I worked for a hummus manufacturing company that experienced a recall.  This recall happened during the Blue Bell Ice Cream recall so customers and employees were freaking out.  Luckily, with my old company’s recall, no one had gotten sick or passed away as people had while eating Blue Bell Ice Cream.  When our competitors saw that we had a weak position by having a voluntary recall, they seized their opportunity.  I imagine the same thing happened with Blue Bell.  Brands like Kraft and Cedar’s subtly and not so subtly advertised the fact that their product was and always has been safe.  Though our company did not suffer the consequences of the recall too much, this definitely hurt us a little bit.  When reading about how Southwest was facing a conundrum of whether to acquire these slots and gates, I instantly thought about my old company.  If it were left to me, I would definitely seize the opportunity of new business no matter what the consequence may be.  It is selfish and unfair to not move forward because of the unknown such as possible delays and at the end of the day, it is just business.  Southwest has a proven track record, so the question to acquire new growth should not even be explored.
            Southwest has maintained a tactical strategy that has helped them grow over the years.  They seem to really focus on their people and the culture of the company.  While I do not agree with the possibility of not expanding, I understand why some of the employees do not want to go for it.  Southwest Airlines really care about their customers and how the customer feels, which is why I think they have done so well.  While I think the unknowns are worth exploring, I think some of the executives think there are too many of them.  There is always the costs of landing the planes, possible flight delays, and the unpredictability of the LaGuardia Airport.  I think if at all possible, Southwest Airlines should do a trial run with this new growth during the unpredictable seasons and see where that takes them.


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