United Airlines automation
United Airlines AUTOMATION
Purpose This paper describes the office automation and group collaboration used by United Airlines (UA).
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Objective The objective of this paper is to provide an analysis of the advantage(s) and disadvantage(s) of each software used by the United Airlines organization and the resultant impact to the organization’s personnel.
Introduction United Airlines has been utilizing the current technological advances in the form of office automation particularly on electronic data processing and communication.
The office automation currently used by United Airlines for its onboard services is email—the flight attendant service center.
This service center enables the centralization of every inquiry via telephone service center which includes almost everything, including but not limited to these conveniences: (a) documents processing, (b) consulting/reporting of any absences or leaves of absences from flight attendants at United Airlines, (c) pay records, and (d) communication with the flight attendants line of flying schedulers. The exchange of communication and information between two persons and among groups of the organization is almost instantaneously despite the distance between the communicating parties.
There is, however, some noticeable unfavorable effects of the beneficial side of the office automation at United Airlines. And it is the observation that most flight attendant domiciles are reducing the amount of supervisors and centralizing everything in this service center—making the relationship less personal to the staff of the organization.
Lately, most communications is done via the United Airlines Intranet Onboard Services site, here all domiciles have their own pages with domicile information and is now available from each employees home or any personal computer. This intranet mechanism made communication among employees even more effective and faster because they do not need to go to the office to communicate through e-mail anymore; but in their own homes, they already communicate their needs with almost anyone else in the organization.
One very advantageous capability of this intranet system is that all of the flight attendants monthly lines of flying are now downloaded via intranet saving the company money by not having to print them on paper. This also reduces the bid of the lines of flying and reduces the chances for errors on them.
The top management United Airlines must have appreciated the financial and economic advantages of the office automation system utilized in the organization so that it has planned and committed to increase the available computer terminals and printers at each domicile.
The management believes that this new initiative can save huge amounts of money for the company and reduces the processing time on a lot of procedure that used to take a few days previously; however there is a downside effect of this initiative, too, which is to open an organizational environment in which the people in the organization has less personal relationship among themselves including the management.
Conclusion The utilization of office automation and intranet system in United Airlines has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is more on the financial aspect for the company because it can save considerable amount of money from reducing the cycle time of processing documents and enabling faster exchanges of information between personnel and customers. The disadvantage, however, falls on employees because for one, it eliminates some positions, like, the supervisors; another is the depersonalization of the interaction of people—that is, people now communicate with each other through the computer screens and not through face-to-face.
1. UA (n.a.). United Airlines Ticket Reservation. http://www.united.com/ (Feb. 23, 2007).