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Look for Automatic Advantages in Adapting to Irresistible Forces

Apr 1, 2008
I was very interested to have a chance to participate in using an airline simulator. In such a huge mock-up of a real plane's cockpit, you operate the controls.

To make life more interesting, there's an instructor who throws all kinds of problems at you such as hurricanes, the loss of some of your equipment, and freezing rain.

But it wasn't those huge problems that impressed me the most. Rather I was impressed by how hard it is to pilot an airliner under normal conditions.

For instance, if you are flying against the jet stream, you are constantly being pushed off course. But if you engage the auto pilot instead of handling things by hand, it all becomes easy.

That's a good example of the advantages you can gain by putting your operations on auto pilot when it comes to adapting to irresistible forces.

The airlines sell a wasting commodity: airline seats. If a seat isn't occupied by a paying customer when the plane takes off, the potential revenue is lost forever.

To combat this wastage, American, United, and some others instituted a system of continuous monitoring a number of years ago when they began offering computer-based reservation systems to travel agents.

These reservation systems greatly eased the travel agents work, but also conferred large advantages upon their airline sponsors.

Originally, the airlines supplying the systems made it easier to book on their flights than on those of competitors. Government action subsequently changed that tactic.

However, the airlines were able to continue to maintain a large base of understanding about the seat-buying market.

They created computer programs that decided minute-by-minute how many seats to offer at different prices and to frequent flyer award users. The profit effectiveness of these decision-making programs is constantly monitored for potential improvements. Programming changes are made to reflect new market trends.

Such a setup is like having a computer not only to pick the best route for the driver, but to also drive the car.

Creating such a system of automatic, intelligent response is obviously taking identification of trends, shifts in trends, and responding to the trends to a higher level of responsiveness.

The key challenge is to constantly revisit the assumptions built into the automatic response to be sure that they are still the "intelligent" alternative.
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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