Southwest Airlines: A Continuous Improvement Journey

Since its inception on a cocktail napkin back in 1967, Southwest Airlines has stayed true to its low-fare brand, and, as a result, has continued to grow. Today, Southwest is currently the largest airline operating in the U.S. in terms of passengers served. What lessons have been learned along the journey?

Southwest forged an innovative strategy "to become the world's most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline." Their strategy execution has been referenced as a model of clarity in what they do and what they do not do. The airline holds their people up as the "single greatest strength and most enduring long term competitive advantage." Many companies talk about employee engagement; Southwest walks ("flies") the talk. Southwest associates are riveted on pleasing customers and live their commitment to make things better every day.

Join Ruben Del Toro for a discussion on how Southwest continues to transform its business by integrating Continuous Improvement, Data Science, and Innovation.

In this session, the following key points will be covered:

  • Background and Structure of Enterprise CI
  • Engagement Model
  • Maturity Roadmap
  • Integrating CI, Data Science, and Innovation
  • Program Results
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Rubin Del Toro
Ruben Del Toro

Ruben Del Toro leads the Enterprise Continuous Improvement Program within the Corporate Strategy & Innovation Team at Southwest Airlines. He is passionate about creating Operational Excellence transformations through successful applications of Lean and Six Sigma methods in a relatable way. Prior to joining Southwest, Ruben led the Enterprise Continuous Improvement Program at AirTran Airways for over five years. Prior to this, Ruben led Material Planning and Inventory Controls, Quality, Quality Control Field Operations, and Fleet Reliability.

Ruben is a Certified Master Black Belt, with over 15 years of experience leading Continuous Improvement teams. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), and a certified Aircraft Mechanic with both Airframe and Power-plant ratings. Ruben has an MBA in Technology Management and a B.S. in Management of Technical Operations.

Continuous ImprovementData ScienceProcess Improvement

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