South West Airlines has been successful airline company for the past two decades, it has survived at the times when other competitors are struggling to operate due to various issues such as the fluctuating demand for their services due to luxury or oil price increase. In the business perspective, in the airline industry, it is important for any airline company to strengthen and maintain its competitive advantage that will make it unique from its competitors. With regards to the Southwest Airlines business model, their main focus has been on the utilization of information technology to win and keep loyal customers or operate more efficiently in the reservations, maintenance, or operations departments.
The case study presented by O'Reilly, Pfeffer, & Stanford University, (2006), shows that, in the past 39 consecutive years, Southwest Airlines has been enjoying the profitability of becoming g the largest domestic air carrier in the United States based on the originality of passengers boarded. Research shows that SouthWestairlines.com is the most visited airline website in the world. Progressively, Southwest Airlines has been differentiating itself from the rest of its competitors who are considered to be the low fare carriers, by introducing a reliable product and executive services to the customers. As presented by the Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of this airline, Bob Young, states, Taking excellent care of our customers is just as important as filling our planes with fuel.
In the case of Southwest Airlines, taking a new technology in an old industry is a way of opportunity. This facility the introduction of the new services, as well as the of the new products for the air travel can make it more attractive to the customers and hence promote the sales together with their bottom line.
According to the research by Hill, Jones, and Schilling, (2014) information technology has boosted the Southwest Airlines, reliability and performance for Business-Critical Applications. It adopts the tools such as Pivotal GemFire to operate the fundamental applications like Exchange, SQL, SAP as well as the Southwests online portal, that boots its business by 80%. With the use of Pivotal, the Southwest is able to roll out popular social media channels whereby they can view millions of the visits monthly. As supported by Linda Rutherford, Vice President of Communications and Strategic Outreach of Southwest Airlines, the new environmental technology gives a firm social media technique. Consequently, Pivotal uplifted Southwest to a elevated level of IT superiority. Apart from the Pivotals market leading technologies, there is also Pivotals shared vision and commitment with Southwest (Hill, Jones, & Schilling, 2014).
Information technology has enhanced flexibility in Southwest Airlines while ensuring that the customer satisfaction. With the new technology, customers are able to cancel a reservation for their flights even 30 minutes prior to the departure of the flight, and the price for the flight derived from the cancellation is later made available for the forth coming flight. With such policies, the customers at Southwest Airline customers feel satisfied with such an experience, and on the long-run, the airline creates a great level of brand loyalty (O'Reilly, Pfeffer, & Stanford University, 2006).
Conclusively, despite Southwest Airlines having an excellent track record in the airline industry, they are focusing on promoting the flexibility of the business model that encourages the precipitous change. As the technology evolves and adopted, the airline will have more ways of promoting customers satisfaction and have the competitive advantage over their competitors.
Hill, C. W., Jones, G. R., & Schilling, M. A. (2014). Strategic management: theory: an integrated approach. Cengage Learning.
O'Reilly, C. A., Pfeffer, J., & Stanford University. (2006). Southwest Airlines (A). Stanford, Calif: Stanford Graduate School of Business.
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