Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Executive Express

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Executive Express

Article excerpt


The primary subject matter of this case concerns how focusing on excellence in customer service can drive success and profits. But success in a service business does not stem from a lot of "feel-good" exhortations about serving customers. It happens because of leadership experience and vision, understanding customer needs, hiring and training the right employees, technology investments that enhance communication and streamline non-value-added activities, and quality metrics that drive continuous improvement. Executive Express is an airport shuttle company that provides passenger ground transportation services to the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport (MSP). The case discusses how Larry Logeman became the new owner of Executive Express and turned a poorly managed, inwardly-focused company into the dominant provider of airport transportation in Central Minnesota by building a customer-focused organization. The case has a difficulty level of three or four, appropriate for junior and senior level students, and is designed to be taught in a one-hour class period, with two hours of outside preparation by students.


Imagine you are Larry Logeman, the owner and CEO of Executive Express, an airport shuttle company based in St. Cloud, Minnesota that you've owned for seven years. You have been successful at building a company that is focused on delivering service excellence to customers who need transportation to the Minneapolis/St.Paul International Airport, located 75 miles away. Meeting your customers' needs was at the core in making technology decisions, hiring and training employees, and tracking performance measures for quality improvement. Although Executive Express has been successful with this business strategy, it now faces a new threat from the City of St. Cloud's efforts to recruit an airline to reestablish air service at the St. Cloud airport. You need to decide whether to implement an aggressive competitive response to this threat by increasing the number of roundtrips per day to attract new customers who are currently driving themselves to the airport, and to contend with a potential new airline by maintaining your position as Central Minnesota's most convenient and reliable airport transportation option. What do you do?


On a bright morning in January 2012, Larry Logeman poured himself a cup of steaming coffee and sat down at this desk to scan the morning newspaper. The headline leaped off the front page: "City of St. Cloud Pushes to Restore Local Air Service." Larry was the owner and CEO of Executive Express, a St. Cloud-based airport shuttle company that provided ground transportation services to and from the Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) International Airport. The MSP airport was located about 75 miles from St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Since 2009 when Delta Airlines pulled its air shuttle service out of the St. Cloud airport, Executive Express was by far Central Minnesota's dominant provider of transportation to the MSP airport. In the two years since Delta's announcement, Larry increased the number of daily airport runs and expanded airport shuttle service to more than 40 communities. Now, according to the newspaper article, the St. Cloud City Council had approved a contract with a consulting group to actively recruit an airline to provide twice-daily air service from the St. Cloud Airport to a large airport hub in Chicago or Denver.

Larry contemplated the impact on his shuttle business if air service from St. Cloud to a major airport were reestablished. In the seven years as owner of Executive Express, Larry strived to offer his customers the best in convenient and reliable airport shuttle transportation services. He invested heavily in vehicles, employees, and technology. Now he wondered if a new air service would trump his hard-earned success at offering top customer service.

Before the push for new air service was announced, Larry had already planned to increase the number of daily roundtrips to MSP from the current 10 trips to 14 trips. …

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