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Video Case: Constraint Management at Southwest Airlines
Question 1: Analyze Southwest’s passenger boarding process using the Theory of Constraints.
Southwest Airlines is an airline company that has set industry benchmarks of having the best turnaround ratios, in an industry where lead time during different operations is very time consuming. Southwest currently boasts a rapid gate-turnaround of 25 minutes or less, and it demonstrates how attention to activities pertaining to ground operations (including cleaning of the aircraft, fuelling and flight preparation) can help the company in being so operationally efficient. Customers rave about low fares, exceptional customer service, and the biggest competitive advantage that Southwest has
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Constraints in the boarding process are related to the boarding sequence of passengers; in order for Southwest to manage its constraints, they need to improve the boarding sequence of passengers to make it as fast as possible which in turn would lead to better turnaround times (faster boarding times).
Question 2: Which boarding scenario among the different ones proposed would you recommend for implementation? Why?
The seven different alternate boarding scenarios that were designed were: * New family pre-boarding behind the “A” group of first-to-board passengers. This method would give priority to passengers that are travelling with families and give them exclusive access to the aircraft first. * Family pre-boarding before anyone else, but seating choices limited on-board to behind the wing. Similar to the first scenario, this would give families priority in the boarding sequence but would restrict them to certain sections of the aircraft. * Six boarding groups (within A-B-C groups) instead of the original three A-B-C groups. This would allow for better division of the boarding sequence since the groups have been doubled. * Assigned boarding gate line positions based on both boarding group and gate arrival time. This scenario would allow Southwest to get rid of its current single line philosophy. * Single

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