Operations Management: Southwest Airlines Essay


Discuss about the Operations Management for Southwest Airlines.


Capacity is the optimal rate of return of a system and in some countries such as Southwest; it is measured in terms of the Available Seat-miles (ASM) per month. Therefore, utilization which is gauged as a ratio between average outputs to maximum capacity can be determined as the ratio average seat-mile rate to maximum seat-miles.

There are several factors which affect Southwest Airlines (SWA). There should be a close coordination of the team on the plane and that on the ground operations (Sven Gross; Alexander Schro?der, 2007). This ground operations ought to be composed of several individuals such as baggage transfer driver, a lavatory truck driver, and a bin agent who play crucial roles during the departures. The ground workgroups comprise of a baggage transfer driver who is responsible for fixing aircraft bags for plane passengers to pick up. Besides, on the ground there exists a lavatory truck driver responsible for handling lavatory repository drainage. Besides, there is a bin agent whose main responsibility is managing freight and luggage inside the aircraft. In the case of an unanticipated incident, operations might be slowed and as such the fuel truck should contain enough fuel. Besides, adverse weather condition can hamper the entire process. For instance, extreme weather conditions such as snow and mist may reduce vicinity area of the pilot and thus hindering the entire aeronautical program.

Company executives in SWA know when they have obtained their objectives, especially when both external and internal metrics are reached. Periodically, SWA gathers relevant information and sets their goals against those metrics and communicates the results to their key stakeholders. For instance, the Department of Transportation (DOT) provides information which is communicated to the employees via various means such as posters, meetings, and newsletters. Moreover, this department, (DOT) trails on the passenger complains, airplane departures among other issues such as luggage mishandling and files them for the responsible team to address. The company then provides a response to the measurers taken to handle the issues and conveys feedback to their stakeholders such as customers and employees. Depending on the level attained in addressing all issues surrounding the operations of SWA the executives realize whether the business is progressing or stagnating.

Just as supported by Kevin Freiberg and Jackie Freiberg, (2007) issues such as flexibility which were addressed by the inceptors such as Rolling King and Herb Kelleher are still relevant today since they help in managing variables such customer satisfaction. The ideas which were suggested by these individuals are still viable even at the present. For example, they provided that offering freight services at reasonable charges and at good times may help in augmenting customer loyalty hence business continuity. Such strategies can help the management in SWA to cultivate on other critical success factors such as ensuring customer satisfaction and competitiveness in the industry.


Kevin Freiberg; Jackie Freiberg. (2007). Nuts! : Southwest Airlines' crazy recipe for business and personal success. New York: Broadway Books.

Sven Gross; Alexander Schro?der. (2007). Handbook of low-cost airlines: strategies, business processes, and market environment. Berlin : Erich Schmidt Verlag.v

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