The reservation system at airlines such as WestJet and JetBlue is essential to their everyday existence and would impede their ability to conduct business efficiently and confidently. According to Laudon, the reservation system contains passenger information, airport flight times and flight destinations, it allows passengers to choose seats for flights, collects payments, and connects to airport kiosks which allows passengers to check-in for a flight, check their bag, board the flight, rebook a flight or request a refund for a cancelled flight, and allows the passenger to interface with reservation agents (2013).
Without a fully functional and capable reservation system, both airlines would not be able to conduct business. The reservation system will impact operational activities because the system will indicate which flights are scheduled, which seats are purchased, which are still available to purchase, which flights are delayed, which are cancelled, and what flights must be transferred at connecting airports, and the cost of each airline ticket.
The reservation system is essential to informing the airline if a flight is overbooked or under-booked and more tickets can be sold, and which seats are available for purchase and at what price. The reservation system will also inform staff of arrival and departure times of scheduled flights and any connecting flights. The risks to the projects to upgrade the reservation systems of both WestJet and JetBlue are inherent with any system upgrade. According to Laudon, existing file transfer time created the first of many problems with WestJet after they initially went live with the new system.
This corresponds to the hypothalamus located in the brain when stimulated it moderates a succession of nerve cells emission and chemical release prompting our bodies to either fight or run away at the face of harm (Nolen – Hoeksema, Fredrickson, Loftus, Wagenaar, 2009. ) Several types of neurotransmitters are involved in the system, collectively known as the hypothalamus pituitary – adrenocortical ...
This created problems with passengers attempting to make reservations or view existing ones, the site crashed numerous times, the call centers were overwhelmed with calls and the call centers weren’t equipped with enough man power to handle to influx (2013).
WestJet risked upsetting customers and hurting their hard earned reputation for excellent customer service because they didn’t develop alternate solutions to possible problems with implementing the new system. Laudon reports that JetBlue fared better having learned from WestJet’s debacle.
JetBlue implemented a secondary website, increased their call center man-power and switched the files over during a slow flight period (2013).
While they did experience some problems such as call wait times increasing and kiosks and ticket printers not being online immediately after the change-over, they developed alternate solutions and implemented them when the time came. When WestJet began the implementation of the new reservation system, I believe the factors that caused the problems were a combination of people, technological and organizational factors.
According to Laudon, “WestJet spokesman Robert Palmer explained that the company “encounter(ed) some problems in the live environment that simply did not appear in the test environment,” foremost among them the issues surrounding the massive file transfer” (2013).
Employees had ample training, but the failure to develop alternate solutions for possible problems was an organizational factor that negatively impacted the organization as a whole. In addition, their website continued to crash which meant that the volume of traffic coupled with the extensive file transfer was too much for their system to manage.
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WestJet failed to increase their call center availability to assist customers with any unforeseen issues that were likely to arise from the implementation of the new system creating a shortage in customer service, thus creating a people problem angering many customers who took their frustrations to the internet, which resulted in their system continuing to crash. When JetBlue went live with their reservation system, they did so with more caution based on the problems WestJet experienced.
While they had a few of their own snags, they were better prepared on an organizational level by increasing man power, therefore eliminating the people problem as a factor. To eliminate the massive delays that the file transfer caused, they opted to perform the transfer at night during a slow flight time which eliminated heavy traffic on their website, providing additional technology resources for the transfer, and by creating a secondary website which was utilized several times during the transition.
JetBlue increased their man power in the call center in anticipation of slower call times, reservation glitches and upset passengers so they were better prepared to provide additional customer service representatives during the implementation. JetBlue still experienced technological problems with kiosks not coming online, but nothing like their rival WestJet. As we’ve learned in Essentials of Management Information Systems Chapter 11, the problem solving process to system building is 1) define and understand the problem, 2) develop alternate solutions, 3) choose the best solution and 4) implement the solution.
The first thing I would have done was to gather a team together to brainstorm and understand why we needed a new reservation system and what problems were already being created by the old system. Armed with that information I would ask the team what information systems plan would suit us best, what new solutions could we come up with to alleviate the existing problems and we would then choose the best solution among those ideas. This systems analysis would help us to implement the best possible solution.
Symptoms: Preoccupation with the forecast within the execution time frame. Typically, companies begin altering their forecast management processes when addressing supply chain performance. But this is unwise without understanding the nature of your demand and the root causes of forecast errors. When forecast accuracy is overemphasized, fill rates and inventory turns don’t improve, even when ...
We would then refocus on what the original problems were with the old system, and try to think of all possible scenarios that would create problems while implementing the new solution. The goal would be to try to prevent any major issues and to test and retest the system before introducing the system utilizing a phased approach so that if a problem arises we can utilize a backup system similar to JetBlue’s secondary website, increase man power to offset high call volume if the reservation system does experience technical difficulties, and to provide the best customer service no matter the situation.
Creating an operational and analytical CRM reservation system allowing customers to be unaware of the system upgrade would be the ultimate goal. While not all upgrades are seamless, the more planning and the more prepared the team is for disaster makes for less stress and happier customers.