179. 2020 I.T. Plans? Lost Luggage Lessons (C*)

American Airlines’ Lost-Luggage, Pain-Removal Solution

On a recent American Airlines trip, I turned on my cell phone as I landed at 10 PM. I got a text from American’s AI-bot alerting me that my checked bag did not make it to my hub-connection flight. There were also links for: filing my lost bag info and desired delivery address; and tracking the bag.

I also got a voice message from a friend on his way to pick me up. I called him, then walked off the plane directly to the curb to meet him. In the past, my friend and I would have both waited another 45+ minutes for the luggage carousel to stop and then in the line at the lost baggage office.

The next morning, I awoke to more texts. First, a bio and photo of my gig-economy, delivery person. Then, another informing me that my bag had been delivered at 4:30 AM with a photo of my bag at my friend’s sheltered, back door. Nice!

Distribution-Channel Lessons/ Questions?

  1. A customer orders something from a distributor that must be shipped directly from a factory. What is the channel-IT capability to provide real-time tracking and proactive expediting if a promised delivery varies?
  2. American’s digital-experience service requires several IT components. (A) All companies have their ERP system to run everyday activity. (B) American must then also have a “digital, cloud platform” into which everyday data (bag tracking misses and my contact info) can be transferred. (C) Within the digital platform there must be some infrastructure and business process components to: alert me; receive back my information; schedule a gig driver; etc.
  3. From this platform, what other pain-removal, digital services can American offer me? (Already most airlines text/email us about – trip confirmations; flight check-in; flight delays; gate changes; etc.)
  4. Who will be your Channel Captain to make real-time, digital services happen amongst: factory, distributor and end-users? Some big brands are starting (Toyota Connected; Schneider Electric’s StruxureWare; etc.)
  5. Will the Captain get or rent the skills to create the “digital platform” for the channel? Cloud service providers are offering more reusable lego-block APIs by the day.

Does your management team have curiosity to look for and remove existing, service pain points with off-the-shelf, cloud, digital platform tools?

*Third of four blogs (A-D) on “scary strategic questions for 2020 planning.”