A growing number of companies are realising that in business, comparing chalk with cheese is not only a fruitful endeavour, but an increasingly necessary one.
Dallas-based Southwest Airlines used to have a problem. Most of its aircraft were on the ground between flights for an average of 40 - expensive - minutes. Although it had benchmarked its refuelling processes against other airlines, it found it was already one of the leaders. Some sort of quantum leap for improvement was needed, so it looked outside the airline industry for the most efficient refuellers in the world - Formula One racing. Adopting the turnaround processes used during pit stops, Southwest Airlines can now refuel an aeroplane in 12 minutes.