Amtrak Alert!

AMTRAK LOGOAmtrak service is disrupted due to a different transportation service. Since I have relied on Amtrak for about 4 years now, I would be worried if I lived in the New York/Boston area. While Amtrak is more of a long distance passenger service for commuters, many still rely on the service on a weekly basis. Now, because of a collision between two Metro trains in the New York/Boston area, Amtrak service through out this route is limited for an unknown amount of time. Amtrak offers transportation to areas that many other public transportation does not. Therefore, this collision has created a conflict for Amtrak that is currently out of the company’s control at this time.

Through reading Business Week’s article, “Connecticut Commuter Crash With 700 Passengers Curbs Amtrak (2),” readers are able to see that the reasoning of this crash remains unknown. While the service disruption of train transportation was of course not caused by Amtrak, the demand of their customers may stray beyond the halt of the rail line. Since the investigators of this situation are still deciding the reason for this crash, many customers may be worried that this rail line is an unsafe one to travel on. While Amtrak offers alternate routes, their service alert page mentions that those customers who feel uncomfortable to use the services are available for a refund. Therefore, the lack of demand for Amtrak goes beyond the disruption of their services. Is Amtrak under a threat due to safety of their customers?

Focusing on how the collision affected Amtrak as a company required me to think about the bottleneck in project management situations, as the term was even mentioned in the article! The Metro train accident served as a bottleneck in Amtrak being able to operate between two different locations. As discussed in class, when there is a bottleneck situation, there is a backup in the process of creating a product or continuing a service. In the case of the Metro train collision, Amtrak is currently not able to operate between New York and New Haven. Therefore, not only is the business affected financially, continuous customers of Amtrak are required to reroute their trips and may find a new means of train service. While the situation was out of Amtrak’s control, this bottleneck brings Amtrak’s quantity and efficiency to a lower level. While the train company and its customers have already been greatly affected, the article also mentions that investigations similar to this train accident take several months to come to a close. Do you think Amtrak will be affected until investigation is over? Will customers be hesitant to take this route through Amtrak until investigations are over?

As mentioned earlier, more information on this collision and its affect on Amtrak can be found here.

Differentiating through the Demand of Dogs


DirectTV is catering to not only humans, but to dogs as well. My dog would be thrilled! How about yours? The only option available to my pup right now is the Puppy Bowl, which we have to record so he can watch all year long. Today, dogs have their own parks, Facebook pages, stores, so why not a TV channel as well?  DirectTV is not only catering to the dogs but also providing help for the families they belong to. The new DogTV will keep these puppies occupied while moms, dads, or children can keep up with their daily tasks without any barking or begging. DirectTV is definitely differentiating from other cable providers with this strategy.

In class, we discussed the strategy of competing through differentiation. I have learned about differentiation in the past, but it is always interesting to see examples of companies using the concept to their competitive advantage. Through their new channel, DirectTV is now implementing this concept and can be seen through the Chicago Tribune’s article, “DirectTV to broadcast channel for dogs.” Differentiating, as discussed is the advantage of being better or different in regards to a company’s product or service. No company wants to be like another so, differentiating is the concept designed to compete through uniqueness.

As mentioned in the article, DogTV is currently only available through online streaming or for select subscribers in California. Is DirectTV testing out their new channel in case it fails to provide the benefits that it hopes for? As one of the larger cable providers, this could solely be a test run for all the other companies as well. If DogTV were to fail, other companies such as WOW or AT&T Uverse will be able to see if there is a demand for this type of channel without hurting their company. But, if DogTV does in fact succeed, these similar companies may need to expand on their differentiation strategies in order to remain in the competition. While it is hard to believe that a channel for dogs could change the face of cable television, DirectTV is currently taking a big risk with this target in either helping or hurting those other companies within the market. Once or if available nationwide, will this create a demand for DirectTV as households’ main cable provider? Through reading the article and understanding the new concept, I thought about whether or not DirectTV is trying to create a higher demand for their service through creating a demand for dogs. This idea may seem silly but could also provide success. We will find out this coming fall when the company is supposedly launching the availability for this channel nationwide. Again, further information on this topic can be found here.