Since its inception in 1985, the Emirates Airlines has been growing steadily because of its focus on efficient operations and customer care (Emirates par. 1). It has invested in a large fleet to ensure its capacity to deliver reliable services remains. Besides, the airline has been working towards the improvement of customer experiences by increasing the number of services and the quality of these services. Today, it has first class passenger lounges, and it offers bespoke meals, in-flight internet, spacious seats with enough legroom, and smartphone apps for its passengers. It relies on over 40,000 staff members serving in different departments. The key services it offers are cabin, cargo and airport services. It has to maintain a tight grip on operations for these services in more than 100 locations that it covers around the world (Emirates Dnata par. 1). Therefore, the operations strategy at the company has a significant role to play in its overall success.
The resource-based view theory requires firms to establish key competitive factors that differentiate them from the competition. The importance of strategy is to develop and leverage resources to ensure that there is a new market segment created and existing, or new products become winners (Andersen and Poulfelt 67-69). The implementation of the strategy requires continuous application of skills and use of relevant technologies that form the basis of delivering products and services. A portfolio of core competencies of a firm then links to key operation decisions that would be dominated by market-based strategies. The core competencies become the determinants of success and can be tuned to ensure that they take advantage of any opportunity provided by market changes. The core competencies can be in product and process design, strategic technological investments and the case of the Emirates Airlines, a combination of the two and inclusion of excellent employee training.
Key challenges affecting quality and operations strategy
The Emirates airline has to compete with other carriers that receive different levels of support by their national governments. Although many airlines claim not to receive any direct support, they still enjoy bailouts and other similar assistance, which allow them to keep operating even when they do not have a competitive edge. Meanwhile, the support enables them to gain the necessary competitive edge and be formidable rivals to the Emirates. Another issue affecting the Emirates is the current myth that it is a state airline receiving significant support such as subsidized fuel from the UAE government (Clark 5-6). The airline has been keen to refute these claims and present its operations details for scrutiny. Most importantly, it has to keep up with its service excellence while paying market rates for services across the world.
The Emirates Airlines are not a member of any alliance, and this allows the company to be lean and agile. However, the lack of alliance affiliation affects the transferability of passengers into the Emirates airline network and is a major source of reduced efficiencies in marketing operations. Nevertheless, the airline works with some strategic partners and subsidiaries to ensure that it enjoys similar capacities as its rivals that are affiliated to alliances. A problem with such partnerships is that they present loopholes for decision making, which can cause unnecessary delays and mistakes in handling of customers, providing crucial services and dealing with employee-related issues.
Current measures taken by the Emirates Airlines
The Emirates Airlines runs a comprehensive employee training program for existing and new employees. It continually makes investments into the program to ensure that employees receive industry best practices and work with the most advanced challenges in operations and customer care to keep them abreast with work demand and expectations of premium-paying customers (Spraggon and Bodolica 47).
The airline has three main service sections. The first class and business class sections cater for high-paying customers who can afford many amenities offered by the company. They are the high-margin passengers that deliver the biggest ratio of revenue to the enterprise. The operation strategy and quality policy at the company ensure that these classes of customers receive the highest attention because of their value to the company. At the same time, there is increased focus on marketing for the passengers choosing the economy class so that they can upgrade to the other two categories and become more valuable to the company. The company pursues a discrete policy of not discriminating any of its passengers openly. Instead, it offers differentiated services with different pricings to execute its strategy.
The company has collaborated with HP to obtain robust software solutions for its inventory management tasks. It also has an investment in customer-relationship management systems to keep its employees at all levels abreast with changes in customer service demands. It is also able to use the same systems to capture and evaluate data from different areas of its business and make informed decisions at various levels of operations. For example, data from customer numbers in various markets allows the company to choose wisely the type of aircraft for a particular route and to increase or decrease its investment in the particular route.
A partnership with Dnata, a large global provider of in-flight catering services has ensured that the Emirates retains focus on its core operations and at the same time be able to tap into world-class services. It can guarantee its customers the best in-flight meals to fit their needs. The airline can measure the quality of its services using some key performance indicators. They include the return on investments made. Notably, the airline has won some globally recognized awards for quality and luxury, and it can attribute these winnings to the investment it has made in its fleet and staffs (Emirates Dnata 8-9).
The company is doing well in its marketing strategies, which focus mainly on sporting activities around the world. It can do better by expanding its outreach into other programs and involving its employees more into these programs to give them a sense of purpose. The humanity aspect of the programs should translate into better people management within its central business departments. As a service company, people management is an essential skill for its employees. Their involvement in corporate activities that target communities and customers in outreach programs will work well for the airline and should be taken as an extension of its training program. The initiative can also offer a way of enhancing career development opportunities within the company and this will lead to improved staff retaining outcomes and increased abilities of the company to sustain its high-quality standard in operations (Andersen and Poulfelt 65).
As the airline expands, it should adopt a new policy that is an improvement of its present one. In addition to taking care of its customers, it must also extend the same care to its clients and partners in the supply chain. Being an ethical company will be a good way to improve its reputation, and it will serve as a yardstick for measuring the gains made by its quality management policy (Sambidge par. 2-4). Consumers around the world continue to be critical of the services and products they use. As an airline, the Emirates makes a substantial contribution of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Therefore, the company should continue expanding its current programs to lower its emissions by getting fuel-efficient jets. It should also keep offsetting the emissions by engaging in environmental conservation programs around the world. This is in recognition of the important role that philosophies of operation play in actual management responsibilities in a company’s operations.
Lastly, the company needs to audit its operations at a minute scale to ensure that decisions at micro levels are as efficient as expected by management. As a big company, there is risk of management decisions being poorly implements in lower levels of the company, and auditing performance of management at these levels will reveal any inconsistencies and help the company develop its core competencies.
The Emirates Airlines already enjoys a favorable competitive position because of its dedication to efficient operations and highest quality in products and customer service. Besides, the airline needs to make improvements in its operations philosophy and improve its surveillance of decision-making at all levels of the organization. This should be done while there is increased investment in current operations that are delivering favorable results in terms of improving its competitiveness.
Andersen, Michael Moesgaard and Flemming Poulfelt. Beyond Strategy: The Impact of Next Generation Companies. New York, NY: Routledge, 2014. Print.
Clark, Tim. “Airlines and Subsidy: Our Position.” Emirates.com, 2012. Web.
Emirates. “About Emirates.” Emirates.com, 2015. Web.
Emirates Dnata. “Keeping a Steady Compass: The Emirates Group Annual Report.” 2015. Print.
Sambidge, Andy. “Emirates Tops Airline Service Quality Survey.” Arabian Business, 2010. Web.
Spraggon, Martin and Virginia Bodolica. Managing Organizations in the United Arab Emirates: Dynamic Characteristics and Key Economic Developments. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. Print.