Lessons Learned from Southwest Airlines Meltdown

If you’re using outdated technology, it’s time to look at a modern solution to keep your business running. Reach out to our experts.

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    The Southwest Airlines meltdown has left passengers, crew members, and pilots scattered throughout the country with no option but to rebook last minutes flights to their destinations on other airlines. As of December 28, 2022 Southwest had cancelled 15,700 flights in 7 days, amounting to about 88% of all cancelled flights nation-wide. While there are a few key factors that came into play in this meltdown – winter storms, employee absences, a complex route network for flights that isn’t based on a hub and spoke model – there is one significant reason that Southwest lost control of the situation – outdated technology.  

    According to CNN, Southwest union leaders are citing software and manual processes to reassign flight crews as a key issue. Due to regulations, flight crews are limited in the hours they can work so without automated processes to track each crew members recent work history and flight hours, each crew member would require a manual calculation of hours prior to being rescheduled on an updated flight, and manual phone calls to inform those employees of their new assignments.  

    Any company that dispatches employees to fly planes, repair HVAC units, or install MRI machines, should consider technology to run their business as a key element to success. Without a modern, cloud-based technology solution, companies are unable to effectively locate and route their employees and they’re unable to provide the right details about the job to ensure a positive outcome.  

    Lessons Learned from the Southwest Airlines Meltdown 

    Customer Experience Matters

    If and when Southwest Airlines can regroup and get back on track, they have undoubtedly lost consumer confidence and will likely deal with rebuilding their brand and client base for years to come.  

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    This translates to any business, but lets focus on those that dispatch employees out to complete a job. When your employees arrive on the job on schedule and with the right tools and information to get the job done quickly and accurately, you automatically build trust and loyalty with your customers. Additionally, technology can help you track and route your employees more efficiently than ever, ensuring you have complete visibility into your resources and can make rerouting decisions if necessary. This also means you’re dispatching a person with the right skills and certifications to complete each unique job.  

    Employee Satisfaction Has a Direct Link to Your Systems and Processes

    Southwest employees are taking to social media in droves to lament their experiences with outdated processes and technology, including discussing the many warnings and concerns raised to management. Many of the posts are from previous employees, who cite these issues as reasons for leaving.  

    In a time where hiring is more difficult than ever, it’s important to retain employees by making it easier for them to get their jobs done. By equipping your employees with the right tools and relevant information, they’re more prepared and can be more productive.  

    Let’s consider a medical device technician who services MRI machines. When a service request becomes a work order, the full details of the request including specific location in the hospital, request details, contact information, customer history, history of work on that specific machine, and many other details become available directly on the tech’s mobile device. With geofencing technology, as soon as the technician arrives at the customer site, their time is automatically tracked to the job, giving the company important information and metrics on time to complete and provides data on exactly what is billable back to the customer.  

    Because the employee has the information needed to complete the job, they can do so efficiently and accurately without any barriers to their success.  

    Technology Plays a Pivotal Role in Agility

    With modern technology in place, businesses are able to be more agile and pivot no matter the circumstances. With data being collected from every department and every role, you’ll have a real-time view of critical data so you can take action based on real information.  

    Companies that dispatch and route employees locally, regionally, and nationally can rely on Dynamics 365 Field Service to help run their business more efficiently and effectively, providing the right information to customers, employees, and decision makers in real-time. If you’re using outdated technology, it’s time to look at a modern solution to keep your business running. Reach out to the experts at Velosio to talk about your specific needs and how technology can help you.  

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