Sowthwest Airlines - Resources and Capabilities

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The resources and capabilities that are critical to Southwest Airlines operations include a no-frills flight service to lower costs and minimize turnaround times, a family type corporate culture that ensures employee satisfaction and a frequent flyer program that retains loyal customers while adding new ones. These resources and capabilities are difficult to imitate by competitors which gives Southwest its sustainable competitive advantage. Southwest operates a linear route structure (point-to-point) through less-crowded secondary hubs in order to avoid flight congestion and high costs that are associated with primary hubs. This strategy perfectly caters to frequent business and leisure travelers who are willing to forego the frills offered by Southwest’s competitors for cheaper tickets. Southwest uses only Boeing 737 model planes for their flights, the usage of 737’s only reduces plane maintenance time and avoids delays. Another strategy that allows Southwest to lower costs is to exclude meals on every flight and allowing passengers to select the seat they want on a first-come-first-served basis which encourages them to show up early for flights. Southwest Airlines is deeply committed to employee satisfaction by fostering a corporate culture of hard work, fun, creativity, independence and family. Southwest selects employees based on attitude and often include frequent flying customers in the employee screening process. Southwest trains and encourages its employees to have fun and be creative in their services to passengers on-board. Employees are encouraged to dress casually while on duty. Flights frequently hold contests and gates are always decorated whenever a holiday is near. The walls of Southwest’s headquarters are filled with employee photographs and the company holds annual reward ceremonies to acknowledge employees who exceed expectations

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