Strategy Analysis for Southwest Airlines

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Executive Summary

Southwest Airlines is one of the most formidable airline companies. Centered on simplicity, fun as well as profitability, the airline company is distinguished due to effective strategies that include low cost and high customer satisfaction. The company operates on this particular foundation because it is driven to be a game-changer amidst other airline companies that function on milking the customer by any means necessary. Additionally, Southwest's success is the result of consistency, which is an important element for any business let alone an airline company. "It emphasizes a strong desire to serve customers and provide employees with guidance. The goal is getting customers from Point A to Point B" ("Case Study"). However, even though customer satisfaction and smooth operations has been the overarching dynamics of the airline company, Southwest has not been without issue. The company often finds itself in proverbial hot water with the FAA due to maintenance issues with a major issue occurring in 2008. Southwest has also faced considerable issues with cost pressures in terms of fuel costs. These challenges have revealed that Southwest Airlines is essentially another airline that managed to have impressive marketing and a strategy that clicked in the minds of consumers. Despite the challenges, Southwest dominates among consumers who are more or less seeking affordability and simplicity. Southwest Airlines will undoubtedly continue to be a key player in the airline industry because of its recognition that consumers want a simple and fun flying experience, and that employees want the potential to soar to leadership roles with an opportunity for some organizational control in an industry that is not only intensive competitive but also wrought with significant vulnerability and unpredictability.

Brief

Southwest operates predominantly on the culture of simplicity. In an examination of both the study and Corridore (2004), specific assessments can be made regarding the future of the airline giant and the specific forces that affect the airline industry as a whole. First, Southwest's strength lies in its advantageous appeal to consumers such as ticketless travel and providing them with a point A to point B travel. Second, Southwest suffers from the simple approach - in that this has caused them to have a kind of reduced monitoring of what is occurring as far as fuel costs and general maintenance of their aircraft. Moreover, other airline companies have copied the Southwest approach or have capitalized on the weaknesses that the airline has. Per the Internal Factor Evaluation, Southwest's strengths and weaknesses outweigh their opportunities and threats. Although, not by a specific margin, Southwest's dominance is their strength as is the case for most companies. The company will need to continue utilizing the simple approach, even though it has oftentimes made them vulnerable to other airline companies.

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Recommendations

It is recommended that Southwest Airlines continue to employ and execute the business model that they have operated on since its emergence: friendliness, warmth and individual pride. Despite the turmoil of the airline industry that haunts all airlines, Southwest Airlines' promise is that it will continue to uphold the core behaviors and values associated with its business. There are a few items however that Southwest can consider to make itself more viable among many other airlines that are frequently changing their models to capitalize on the consumer. These items are as follows:

Offer first-class travel – while some consumers are unwilling to pay for first-class travel, it is reasonable to assume that if Southwest offered the option that they could do it at a cheaper rate than their competitors, thereby capitalizing on the expensive aspects of the particular cabin that other airlines have.

Offer meals – Southwest, at present, offers snacks and complimentary beverages. Other airlines provide consumers with the option to purchase food for a fee. If Southwest did this, then they could potentially dominate the industry.

Better maintenance – while the major problems occurred in 2008 as far as inspection, Southwest’s potential future predicaments can be curtailed if they properly inspect their aircrafts more than the normal average.

Better marketing – if not already a customer of Southwest, very few individuals actually know about them. This suggests that Southwest could devise a better marketing plan with the utilization of social media platforms and mobile marketing since most, if not all travelers use digital mediums.

Works Cited

"Case Study." Comprehensive Cases for Analysis - Southwest Airlines. n.d.

Corridore, Jim. "Industry Surveys Airlines." Report. Standard & Poor's, 20 May 2004.