On the Cutting Edge: US Airways and Their Need for a Technological Advantage Sean Pottorff American Military University The technological environment in business is one environment that can tip the balance for a company. It could be that one big breakthrough that sends them above the competition. It could also be a blunder so huge that the company tanks and goes bankrupt. It is no surprise then, the amount of decision-making accompany has to go through before creating, innovating, or implementing a technology. This technology could be hard technology, physical in its property, such as machinery, market standards, or even a set of rules.
This technology could also be soft such as a blueprint for a new design, an idea in management for more productivity, or even an unwritten policy that is followed within a particular company. In the airline industry, hard technologies range from the layout of the physical plane to the machines used to check in customers at the counter. Other hard technologies for the domestic environment include FAA-regulated standards and for the global environment, first- and business-class seating that are tailored to international flights.
Some hard technologies that are used for both the global and the domestic environment include the computer systems used to check flight information, check passengers in, check passengers onboard an aircraft, and process stand-by passengers. Some of the soft technologies used in the global environment include plans for future guidelines or regulations that are country-dependent, much like the FAA in the United States. Other technologies that belong to both global and domestic environments are blueprints of future plane designs and policies within the company for management and efficiency.
The barriers involved in the domestic environment of the airline industry and in particular with US Airways are plentiful. The first and most important one is the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). This set of rules is a hard technology that is owned and operated by the United States government. The types of products US Airways can build are going to be limited by this administration. In addition, certain rules have an impact to, such as the amount of time a passenger can spend on the tarmac without disembarking: “The rule requires airlines to let passengers off a plane grounded on the tarmac after three hours. (Caruso, 2010). This type of barrier delays flights further and costs the airline money. Another barrier to technology in the domestic environment is cost. With jet fuel prices, increasing taxes internationally, and the need for new aircrafts, much of the “nuts and bolts” technology for everyday operation gets left in the dust, simply due to the cost of upgrading. The barriers involved in the global environment for technology, especially for US Airways are perhaps not as stringent as the FAA in their global environment. However, this means freer reign for their competitors.
The number one barrier, globally, is competition. The rules protecting patents and policies are lessened, and the pace to stay up to date or in the lead becomes demanding, and cost-inducing. Another barrier in the global environment regarding technology for the airline industry is the lack of a budget to keep up with the advancing technology in other industries. For instance, the New York Times says “[…] as other industries continued to innovate over the last decade, the airlines, struggling with losses, cut their technology budgets” (Mouawad, 2010).
US Airways can overcome these barriers to technology for each environment, global and domestic in a couple of ways. First, to overcome the FAA’s regulations, US Airways can embrace the standard (as a violation would result in a heavy fine) and make the customers beverages and snacks to make them as comfortable as possible. Of course, if in the airline’s control, limit the delays on the tarmac by ensuring flights and crews are on time as much as possible. A way US Airways can overcome the first global environment barrier in technology, of competition, is to try and be the first to innovate or even “diffuse” products or ideas.
To be a global leader, even if in a certain area of the industry, gets the name out there to encourage customers to fly with US Airways. A final way that US Airways could overcome the barrier of a depleted technology budget, as many airlines feel in the current economy, is to create one aspect of technology that is new, or adopt a ground-breaking technological product or idea that would improve ticket sales. The easiest way to accomplish this last achievement regarding new ideas or technology could be accomplished most easily by a merger, such as American Airlines.
This has now been in the news of the business world for some time now, with US Airways pursuing a merger and American still holding out: “ US Airways, the nation’s fifth-biggest airline, is trying to impress American’s creditors that a combined company would be more successful than American can become on its own” (Koenig, 2012). Of course, the most key objective here is to protect your own technology by keeping management and employees educated on the importance of not disclosing information to American, while at the same time trying to convince American that US Airways has the more advanced technology.
With the addition of American in a merger, the new technology becomes US Airways, and now US Airways has more ideas and hard technology to protect. The last thing US Airways can do to protect its technologies is to use the penetrations test. This means finding the weak points within your company and improving them. Whether it is uneducated employees, non-motivated management, or a negligent financial group, training and strengthening in these weak areas cannot be underestimated.
After all, that could be the deciding factor in whether or not the company succeeds, or goes bankrupt,
Works Cited Caruso, L. (2010, May 10). Transportation Experts. Retrieved from National Journal: http://transportation. nationaljournal. com/2010/05/is-the-threehour-tarmac-delay. php Koenig, D. (2012, October 24). US Airways posts record 3Q profit. Retrieved from The News Tribune: http://www. thenewstribune. com/2012/10/24/2343023/us-airways. html Mouawad, J. (2010, June 4). Business Day. Retrieved from The New York Times: http://www. nytimes. com/2010/06/05/business/05air. html