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ExxonMobil SWOT Analysis / Matrix
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SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that can be used by ExxonMobil managers to do a situational analysis of the firm . It is a useful technique to evalauate the present Strengths (S), Weakness (W), Opportunities (O) & Threats (T) ExxonMobil is facing in its current business environment.
The ExxonMobil is one of the leading firms in its industry. ExxonMobil maintains its dominant position in market by critically analyzing and reviewing the SWOT analysis. SWOT analysis an immensenly interactive process and requires effective coordination among various departments within the organization such as – marketing, finance, operations, management information systems and strategic planning.
The SWOT Analysis framework facilitates an organization to identify the internal strategic factors such as -strengths and weaknesses, & external strategic factors such as - opportunities and threats. It leads to a 2X2 matrix – also called SWOT Matrix.
The Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) Analysis / Matrix enables the managers of the ExxonMobil to develop four types of strategies:
- SO (strengths-opportunities) Strategies
- WO (weaknesses-opportunities) Strategies
- ST (strengths-threats) Strategies
- WT (weaknesses-threats) Strategies
SWOT Matrix Strategies Objective
The core purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that an organization can utilize to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect ExxonMobil strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.
Step by Step Guide to ExxonMobil SWOT Analysis
Strengths of ExxonMobil – Internal Strategic Factors
As one of the leading organizations in its industry, ExxonMobil has numerous strengths that help it to thrive in the market place. These strengths not only help it to protect the market share in existing markets but also help in penetrating new markets. Based on Fern Fort University extensive research – some of the strengths of ExxonMobil are –
- Strong dealer community – It has built a culture among distributor & dealers where the dealers not only promote company’s products but also invest in training the sales team to explain to the customer how he/she can extract the maximum benefits out of the products.
- Good Returns on Capital Expenditure – ExxonMobil is relatively successful at execution of new projects and generated good returns on capital expenditure by building new revenue streams.
- Superb Performance in New Markets – ExxonMobil has built expertise at entering new markets and making success of them. The expansion has helped the organization to build new revenue stream and diversify the economic cycle risk in the markets it operates in.
- High level of customer satisfaction – the company with its dedicated customer relationship management department has able to achieve a high level of customer satisfaction among present customers and good brand equity among the potential customers.
- Successful track record of integrating complimentary firms through mergers & acquisition. It has successfully integrated number of technology companies in the past few years to streamline its operations and to build a reliable supply chain.
- Highly skilled workforce through successful training and learning programs. ExxonMobil is investing huge resources in training and development of its employees resulting in a workforce that is not only highly skilled but also motivated to achieve more.
- Strong distribution network – Over the years ExxonMobil has built a reliable distribution network that can reach majority of its potential market.
- Successful track record of developing new products – product innovation.
Weakness of ExxonMobil – Internal Strategic Factors
Weakness are the areas where ExxonMobil can improve upon. Strategy is about making choices and weakness are the areas where an organization can improve using SWOT analysis and build on its competitive advantage and strategic positioning.
- The profitability ratio and Net Contribution % of ExxonMobil are below the industry average.
- The marketing of the products left a lot to be desired. Even though the product is a success in terms of sale but its positioning and unique selling proposition is not clearly defined which can lead to the attacks in this segment from the competitors.
- Investment in Research and Development is below the fastest growing players in the industry. Even though ExxonMobil is spending above the industry average on Research and Development, it has not been able to compete with the leading players in the industry in terms of innovation. It has come across as a mature firm looking forward to bring out products based on tested features in the market.
- Organization structure is only compatible with present business model thus limiting expansion in adjacent product segments.
- The company has not being able to tackle the challenges present by the new entrants in the segment and has lost small market share in the niche categories. ExxonMobil has to build internal feedback mechanism directly from sales team on ground to counter these challenges.
- Need more investment in new technologies. Given the scale of expansion and different geographies the company is planning to expand into, ExxonMobil needs to put more money in technology to integrate the processes across the board. Right now the investment in technologies is not at par with the vision of the company.
- There are gaps in the product range sold by the company. This lack of choice can give a new competitor a foothold in the market.
Opportunities for ExxonMobil – External Strategic Factors
- Government green drive also opens an opportunity for procurement of ExxonMobil products by the state as well as federal government contractors.
- Economic uptick and increase in customer spending, after years of recession and slow growth rate in the industry, is an opportunity for ExxonMobil to capture new customers and increase its market share.
- Lower inflation rate – The low inflation rate bring more stability in the market, enable credit at lower interest rate to the customers of ExxonMobil.
- The market development will lead to dilution of competitor’s advantage and enable ExxonMobil to increase its competitiveness compare to the other competitors.
- Decreasing cost of transportation because of lower shipping prices can also bring down the cost of ExxonMobil’s products thus providing an opportunity to the company - either to boost its profitability or pass on the benefits to the customers to gain market share.
- Organization’s core competencies can be a success in similar other products field. A comparative example could be - GE healthcare research helped it in developing better Oil drilling machines.
- The new taxation policy can significantly impact the way of doing business and can open new opportunity for established players such as ExxonMobil to increase its profitability.
- New trends in the consumer behavior can open up new market for the ExxonMobil . It provides a great opportunity for the organization to build new revenue streams and diversify into new product categories too.
Threats ExxonMobil Facing - External Strategic Factors
- New environment regulations under Paris agreement (2016) could be a threat to certain existing product categories .
- New technologies developed by the competitor or market disruptor could be a serious threat to the industry in medium to long term future.
- No regular supply of innovative products – Over the years the company has developed numerous products but those are often response to the development by other players. Secondly the supply of new products is not regular thus leading to high and low swings in the sales number over period of time.
- As the company is operating in numerous countries it is exposed to currency fluctuations especially given the volatile political climate in number of markets across the world.
- Changing consumer buying behavior from online channel could be a threat to the existing physical infrastructure driven supply chain model.
- Rising raw material can pose a threat to the ExxonMobil profitability.
- Growing strengths of local distributors also presents a threat in some markets as the competition is paying higher margins to the local distributors.
- Increasing trend toward isolationism in the American economy can lead to similar reaction from other government thus negatively impacting the international sales.
Limitations of SWOT Analysis for ExxonMobil
Although the SWOT analysis is widely used as a strategic planning tool, the analysis does have its share of limitations.
- Certain capabilities or factors of an organization can be both a strength and weakness at the same time. This is one of the major limitations of SWOT analysis . For example changing environmental regulations can be both a threat to company it can also be an opportunity in a sense that it will enable the company to be on a level playing field or at advantage to competitors if it able to develop the products faster than the competitors.
- SWOT does not show how to achieve a competitive advantage, so it must not be an end in itself.
- The matrix is only a starting point for a discussion on how proposed strategies could be implemented. It provided an evaluation window but not an implementation plan based on strategic competitiveness of ExxonMobil
- SWOT is a static assessment - analysis of status quo with few prospective changes. As circumstances, capabilities, threats, and strategies change, the dynamics of a competitive environment may not be revealed in a single matrix.
- SWOT analysis may lead the firm to overemphasize a single internal or external factor in formulating strategies. There are interrelationships among the key internal and external factors that SWOT does not reveal that may be important in devising strategies.
Weighted SWOT Analysis of ExxonMobil
In light of the above mentioned limitations of the SWOT analysis / matrix, corporate managers decided to provide weightage to each internal strength and weakness of the firm. Organizations also assess the likelihood of events taking place in the coming future and how strong their impact could be on company's performance.
This method is called Weighted SWOT analysis. It is better than doing simplistic SWOT analysis because with Weighted SWOT Analysis ExxonMobil managers can focus on the most critical factors and discount the non-important one. It also solves the long list problem where organizations ends up making a long list but none of the factors deemed too critical.
Limitation of Weighted SWOT analysis of ExxonMobil
This approach also suffers from one major drawback - it focus on individual importance of factor rather than how they are collectively important and impact the business holistically.
Example of Weighted SWOT Analysis
You can email us to get an example document of Weighted SWOT analysis.
SWOT Worksheet & Template
If you like to do your own SWOT analysis or want to make your own Weighted SWOT SWOT matrix then feel free to download Fern Fort University SWOT Analysis Template.
References / Citations & Bibliography
- M. E. Porter, Competitive Strategy(New York: Free Press, 1980)
- A. D. Chandler, Strategy and Structure (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1962)
- O. E. Williamson, Markets and Hierarchies(New York: Free Press, 1975);
- L. Wrigley, Divisional Autonomy and Diversification (PhD, Harvard Business School, 1970)
- R. E. White, Generic Business Strategies, Organizational Context and Performance: An Empirical Investigation, Strategic Management Journal7 (1986)