Southwest Airlines: Using Human Resources for Competitive Advantage

I took Southwest Airline for many times for traveling, and I really love this company so much; I think I am one of his loyal customer. In my experience of Southwest, I love they provide lower price, free 2 suitcases shipping, arriving and departing on-time,  and good quality  service.  I don’t feel surprise about their successive and strong growth rate because they totally worth it.

In this Southwest case, I am really impressed about this company’s culture. They care about their employees and place them in the most important positions in their company. Most companies claim that their customers are the most important thing to them, but they usually don’t provide good service to their customer. I think the main reason is their employees just do the routine work  for their customers, so they may not provide what the customers really want. However, Southwest employees love their job a lot because they find joy in their work place. I remember one experience when I took Southwest airline  to LA, and one of the flight attendants just sang and performed during the flight; it greatly impressed me because that was the first time I felt really happy on a  flight (actually I hate flying on airplanes a lot. ) I think the Southwest employees provide good service and efficient work because they love their company and want to help their company earn more money. In my opinion, allowing employees to serve their customers the way they want is more useful than pushing them to do it, and this will greatly improve their overall attitudes. If your employees hate your company, and they stay in your company just because they have no other choice, their attitude will be very passive. Therefore, I agree with putting employees first and customers second place because if you care more about your employees, your employees will care more about your customer.

Moreover, I think low cost is also a reason for Southwest’s competitive edge. Southwest usually provides the lowest price to their customer; actually I think they’re much cheaper than other airlines. Some factors that contribute to their competitive price include omitting full course meals sticking with only soft drinks and nuts, as well as maintaining only one style of aircraft ( given that other companies maintain multiple styles). Both of these techniques greatly lower costs, especially having only one model as it makes training pilots much easier, while reducing airplane-maintenance costs. Also, because “checking in” has become less complicated than other airlines, and customers for Southwest do not need to provide a ticket (only confirmation), it reduces the amount of staff and total work hours, saving Southwest great amounts of money on payroll. These strategies allow Southwest to have competitive rates, while making it difficult for other airlines to follow.

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