On the blog Spend Matters, founder Jason Busch and his spouse Lisa Reisman penned a posting that commented on the recent announcement by United Airlines that they are positioning their aircraft fleet for the next 25 years with an RFP to place an order for up to 150 new aircraft, worth up to $10 billion in contract value.  For additional details, you can read the Wall Street Journal’s write-up.

Jason and Lisa are of the opinion that this sourcing event could go down as one of the most astute sourcing moves of the year.  They cite a number of reasons, the most important of which is taking the contrarian view, seizing opportunity when market forces are the most opportune. United can effectively time the commodity market, gain a negotiation advantage pitting Airbus against Boeing, and position the firm for capacity and fuel efficiency needs when economic recovery occurs in airline travel.

I tend to agree.  Organizations should be proactively planning for when economic recovery occurs, especially how value-chain resources need to be positioned for potentially different business models and/or customer needs in the post recession period.

I would add one other personal comment.  Having been a United frequent flyer for many years, I absolutely look forward to not having to fly in those ever aging United 757’s that have seen their best days. I suspect there are readers out there who like I, dread having to fly coast-to-coast in a cramped airplane with a hundred of your closest friends.

Memo to United’s aircraft acquisition team- can you please insure, for the sake of all frequent flyers, that the new planes that you ultimately select are less cramped and more comfortable than the legacy 757 fleet?? More overhead baggage space would also be appreciated.

And, oh yes, congrats on a savvy sourcing decision.

 Bob Ferrari