Top down vs. Bottom up

American Airlines has a KPI called “D0”.  It means no flight can depart late, no matter what or there are severe consequences.  

“Many things go into whether or not a flight arrives on time. American’s management argues that:

“What they can most control is whether the flight departs on time. And if it does, that’s going to be the single biggest driver of on time arrivals. So American Airlines management is singularly focused on what they refer to as “D0” — departing exactly the minute that a flight is scheduled to depart (the government considers a flight to be ‘on time’ when it arrives within 15 minutes of schedule).”  Source:

So why do pilots hate it?

“The simmering issue surfaced last week following a meeting between APA leaders and top airline executives. At the meeting, “management reaffirmed its view that departure at “D-0″ is a centralized, command decision, and pilots will not be granted decentralized latitude — despite our role as the front-line operational leaders,” according to an APA newsletter emailed to pilots shortly after the meeting concluded.” Source:

How did American rank according to their customers in 2015?

1. Virgin America
2. JetBlue
3. Delta
4. Hawaiian
5. Alaska
6. Southwest
7. SkyWest
8. United
9. ExpressJet
10. American
11. Frontier
12. Envoy Air
13. Spirit

Delta also has a D0 type KPI.  Why do they do so much better according the survey? One opinion:

“As Dylan said, DL does pad their turn times significantly more than AA does. This allows their agents to be more relaxed during boarding, which definitely comes across to the passengers. AA could benefit from following DL’s lead and doing those 70-minute turn times. The largest airline in the world needs to be setting a positive example for the rest of the industry, so please, listen.”  Source:

Delta looks at more than D0.  Their system is a combination of factors that are controllable, from the bottom up. Each of those factors are driven by specific actions.  Perhaps this can all be summarized with this:

“To me, the “little things” that Delta offers, which are pure marketing, create a halo effect around the brand as a whole. Of course, the fact that Delta can back up the little things with the big things like superior on-time performance and overall better service and food are what solidify a reputation.” Source:

Delta is driven by a bigger focus on overall customer service.  Delta started with their customers and “moved up” to front line workers.  Each stakeholder is engaged.  American did theirs top-down.  Their executives know best.

What does this have to do with OneNumber and you?  Using advanced techniques, we will help you achieve the same kinds of results that Delta enjoys.  We use both top-down and bottom-up methods and test and tune based on results.

OneNumber exists to improve systems.  The systems we build assure success by focusing on things that can be done, now.  We measure compliance with the system by using OneNumber(s).  Well crafted systems, that stakeholders buy into, result in wins.