Monday, January 31, 2011

Business Process Madness, Part II

By: Frank Buytendijk, chief marketing officer

I recently traveled with my family to Germany. We decided to fly. Due to the status I have on one of the airlines, I am allowed to make use of the business class line at security, also when flying economy. Although no one else was in line, the guy checking my ticket sent me back to the long line for economy class. My wife and children did not have that status. This while 4 security people, let me repeat this: four people, in the business class security line were just standing there, doing nothing, watching the overly crowded economy line. "the rules, sir". The rules, where would we be without the rules.

It reminded me about what I heard about Southwest Airlines. One of the most important success factors is "turnaround time", who fast planes can leave again after landing. Southwest realizes this and put NO strict rules, procedures and processes in place for the ground staff in place, other than the guidance how important turnaround time is. The company lets the ground staff deal with the situation at hand, as the staff sees fit. You can guess the result: excellent turnaround times at the gate.

Back to the airport where I was at. What would be the result if the security people would open up the business class line if there is availability:
- less queues, higher flow, higher customer satisfaction
- lower cost of security, because of better resource load balancing at the line
- more time for shopping at the airport, improving sales and profitability
- no negative impact on security, the procedure stays the same
- better job satisfaction for security people, because they are empowered to make a difference.

Where would we all be without these senseless rule? In a better place. Less rules, better performance. Performance is about people making the right decisions.

Be good,